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Wilson v. Arkansas


    Citation. Wilson v. Arkansas, 1975 U.S. LEXIS 3609, 423 U.S. 1017, 96 S. Ct. 451, 46 L. Ed. 2d 388 (U.S. Dec. 8, 1975)

    Brief Fact Summary. When police officers entered Petitioner’s, Wilson (Petitioner), home to conduct a search and arrest the Petitioner, the police failed to first knock and announce their presence.

    Synopsis of Rule of Law. Police officers must knock and announce their presence before executing a warrant, unless doing so would endanger them or lead to the destruction of evidence.


    Facts. Pursuant to the proper warrants, police entered the Petitioner’s home, searched it, and arrested the Petitioner and her roommate. At trial, the Petitioner made a motion to invalidate the search because the police had not knocked and announced their presence. On appeal, the Arkansas Supreme Court held that police are not required to knock and announce their presence when executing a warrant.

    Issue. Are police officers required to knock and announce their presence before executing a warrant?

    Held. Yes. The Fourth Amendment requires police officers to knock and announce their presence before executing a warrant, unless doing so would endanger them or lead to the destruction of evidence.

    Discussion. The general rule is that police officers are required to first knock and announce their presence before entering a person’s home pursuant to a warrant. An exception to this rule is made if knocking and announcing is likely to endanger the officers or lead to the destruction of evidence.


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