Copyright 1997 - 2018  Edward S. Armstrong, Jr.

All law enforcement officers must confer with their training officers, legal advisors and prosecutors regarding the following legal issues. State law can be more restrictive (pro-defendant) than Federal law. Federal circuit courts of appeal often disagree with other Federal circuit courts on issues not yet decided by the United States Supreme Court. Also, lower courts (State and Federal) sometime disagree on what a Supreme Court decision means. The following statements are not to be taken as legal advice.

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A.   Fourth Amendment

1.   Knock, Announce, Wait, Rule - Police must knock, announce their authority and purpose and wait for admittance before executing an Arrest Warrant or Search Warrant, Wilson v. Arkansas (1995).

2.   Probable Cause Suspect Present for Arrest Warrant - Before executing an Arrest Warrant, Police must have probable cause that the suspect is present in the premises, Payton v. N.Y. (1980).

3.   News Media - Police may not take the news media into a premises being searched, Hanlon v. Berger (1999)

4.   Details - More details regarding execution of warrants, see #25, Investigative Techniques, Home Page.

B.   Officer Safety During Execution of a Warrant

1.   No Knock Warrant, Entry - Police may use a no knock warrant or entry if reasonable suspicion exists that knocking and announcing their identity and purpose would be dangerous, futile or allow destruction of evidence, U.S. v. Banks (2004).

2.   Use of Force - Police may use some degree of physical coercion or threat thereof to accomplish an arrest. The force used must be objectively reasonable, considering such issues as the severity of the crime, whether the suspect posed an immediate threat to Police or others, whether the suspect actively resisted arrest or attempted flight, Graham v. Connor (1989).

3.   Search Incident to Arrest, Suspect - Police, when making an arrest, may search the suspect and any containers the suspect carries for weapons and means of escape, U.S. v. Robinson (1973), Riley v. California (2014)(cell phone search of digital info requires Consent, Search Warrant or Exigent Circumstances)

4.   Search Incident to Arrest, Premises - Police, when making an arrest in a premises (dwelling or office), may search the areas within an unsecured suspect’s lunging distance for weapons, means of escape, and evidence, Chimel v. California (1969), Arizona v. Gant (2009).

5.   Protective Sweep #1 Premises, for Dangerous Persons Near Arrest Area – Police, during an arrest in a premises, may search for persons in closets and places immediately adjoining the arrest area without reasonable suspicion or probable cause, Maryland v. Buie (1990).

6.   Protective Sweep #2 Premises, for Dangerous Persons Away From Arrest Area – Police, during an arrest in a premises, may search for persons in areas away from the arrest area (other rooms, closets) if reasonable suspicion (RS) exists a person is there and is dangerous to Police, Maryland v. Buie (1990). If no RS exists, Police may ask for Consent to conduct a protective sweep.

7.   Safety Questions - Upon arrest, Police may ask safety questions such as “where is the gun?" without Miranda requirements and the answer is admissible at Trial, New York v. Quarles (1984).

8.   Detaining & Handcuffing Occupants - Police may detain and control the occupants of a premises being searched for contraband, Michigan v. Summers (1981), use reasonable force to accomplish the detention, Graham v. Connor (1989), and handcuff the occupants in potentially dangerous situations, Muehler v. Mena (2005). The Summers rule is limited to the immediate vicinity of the premises to be searched, Bailey v. U.S. (2013)

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