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Richards v. Wisconsin

United States Supreme Court
520 U.S. 385 (1997)


Facts

The police obtained a search warrant to search Richards’s (defendant) hotel room for drugs. When the police went to the hotel to execute the warrant, they hid their true identity, with one officer identifying himself as the maintenance man. However, when Richards cracked the door open with the chain still on, he could tell it was the police so the police resorted to kicking down the door to gain entry. Once inside, they found cash, cocaine, and Richards as he was trying to escape out a window. On account of the police failing to knock and announce their presence, Richards moved to have the evidence found in the hotel suppressed. The trial court denied the motion. The state supreme court affirmed the decision and held that when executing a search warrant in a felony drug case, the police need never knock and announce their presence because such investigations frequently involve dangerous situations and the possibility that evidence can quickly and easily be destroyed.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Stevens, J.)

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  • A “yes” or “no” answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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