Wilson v. Arkansas Case Brief

Why is the case important?

When police officers entered Petitioner’s, Wilson (Petitioner), home to conduct a search and arrest the Petitioner, the police failed to first knock and announce their presence.

Facts of the case

“In 1992, Sharlene Wilson sold illicit narcotics to undercover agents of the Arkansas state police. Police officers then applied for and obtained warrants to search Ms. Wilson’s home and to arrest her. When the police arrived, they found the main door to Ms. Wilson’s house open. The officers opened the unlocked screen door and walked in, identified themselves as police officers, and said that they had a warrant. Ms. Wilson’s attorney filed a motion to suppress the evidence seized during the search, claiming it was invalid on the grounds that the officers had failed to “”knock and announce”” before entering.”

Question

Are police officers required to knock and announce their presence before executing a warrant?

Answer

“Yes. The Fourth Amendment requires police officers to knock and announce their presence before executing a warrant, unless doing so would endanger them or lead to the destruction of evidence.

Discussion. The general rule is that police officers are required to first knock and announce their presence before entering a person’s home pursuant to a warrant. An exception to this rule is made if knocking and announcing is likely to endanger the officers or lead to the destruction of evidence.

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    Conclusion

    No.

    • Case Brief: 1995
    • Petitioner: Wilson
    • Respondent: Arkansas
    • Decided by: Rehnquist Court

    Citation: 514 US 927 (1995)
    Argued: Mar 28, 1995
    Decided: May 22, 1995