Bench Memos

NRO’s home for judicial news and analysis.

Re: The Difference Alito Makes


I said in my posting below, on today’s Hudson v. Michigan ruling, that the Court found “no constitutional violation occurred” in the course of the police entry into the defendant’s home.  Well, I’d say no constitutional violation occurred if I were deciding the case, but that’s not what the Court said.  The opinion for the Court by Justice Scalia held that the Fourth Amendment’s “knock and announce” rule was indeed violated, but that no purpose would be served by the invocation of the exclusionary rule in a case like this, so the evidence obtained in the course of the search of Hudson’s home was held to be admissible.

A more complicated description—but we strive for accuracy around here to the best of our ability.  And the inaccuracy was my doing, not the fault of press reports on which I relied.

The case does raise some questions, though.  What is the constitutional status of the exclusionary rule?  What, other than some dubious precedents, makes the Court think that the Constitution requires police to wait for dangerous thugs to respond to a knock on the door?  And if such a requirement does indeed exist, what ought to be the remedy for its violation?

Tags: Franck


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