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Kentucky v. King

United States Supreme Court
563 U.S. 452 (2011)



During a drug sting operation at a Lexington, Kentucky, apartment complex, police officers mistakenly went to the wrong apartment to arrest a suspect who had purchased crack cocaine. After smelling burnt marijuana emanating from the apartment, the officers knocked loudly on the door and announced their presence. After hearing the apartment’s occupants hurriedly moving around inside and on the belief that evidence might be destroyed, officers kicked down the apartment door and took three individuals into custody, including Hollis King (defendant). King and the others were charged with various drug-related offenses unrelated to the original operation. Prior to trial, King filed a motion to suppress the evidence seized at his apartment, arguing that the contraband was obtained in violation of the Fourth Amendment. The trial court denied King’s motion and held that the “exigent circumstances” rule to the Fourth Amendment justified the officers’ warrantless entry into the apartment. The Kentucky Supreme Court reversed, noting that the “exigent circumstances” rule did not apply because the police officers’ conduct impermissibly created the exigency which led to entry into the apartment. The U.S. Supreme Court granted certiorari to review.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Alito, J.)

Dissent (Ginsburg, J.)

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