Sunday, November 3, 2013

Kentucky v. King case brief

Kentucky v. King case brief summary
131 S.Ct. 1849 (2011)

The Supreme Court of Kentucky reversed respondent's drug conviction, holding that exigent circumstances could not justify the officers' search under the Fourth Amendment because it was reasonably foreseeable that the occupants in the apartment would destroy evidence when the police knocked on the door and announced their presence. Petitioner State of Kentucky's petition for certiorari was granted.


  • The exigent circumstances rule justified a warrantless search when the conduct of the police preceding the exigency was reasonable. 
  • The exigent circumstances rule applied when the police did not gain entry by means of an actual or threatened violation of the Fourth Amendment. 
  • One officer testified without contradiction that the officers banged on the door as loud as they could and announced either "Police, police, police" or "This is the police." 
  • There was no evidence they either violated the Fourth Amendment or threatened to do so prior to the point when they entered the apartment. 
  • There was no evidence of a "demand" of any sort, much less a demand that amounted to a threat to violate the Fourth Amendment. 
  • Any contradictory evidence not brought to the Supreme Court's attention was for the state court to address on remand. 
  • As the officer testified, noises inside the apartment then led the officers to believe that drug-related evidence was about to be destroyed, and, at that point they explained they were going to make entry. 
  • Given that the announcement was made after the exigency arose, it could not have created the exigency.


The Supreme Court of Kentucky's judgment reversing the conviction was reversed and the case was remanded for further proceedings. 8-1 Decision; 1 Dissent.

Recommended Supplements for Criminal Procedure Criminal Procedure: Examples & Explanations, Sixth Edition
Emanuel Law Outline: Criminal Procedure

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