Supreme Court Agrees to Hear ACLU of Michigan 'Search and Seizure' Case

Affiliate: ACLU of Michigan
June 28, 2005 12:00 am

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DETROIT — On the last day of its term, the U.S. Supreme Court announced that it will hear a case brought by the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan raising the question of whether courts should suppress evidence seized by the police when they unlawfully enter a home without first knocking and announcing their presence. The ACLU is representing the homeowner, Booker T. Hudson.

“It is undisputed that the police violated the Fourth Amendment by barging into Mr. Hudson’s home without knocking and announcing,” said David A. Moran, an Assistant Professor at Wayne State University Law School and the ACLU cooperating attorney who will argue the case before the Court. “The question is whether evidence should be suppressed in order to deter the police from violating the knock and announce requirement.”

The ACLU said that Detroit police broke into Hudson’s home without knocking and announcing, as required by law, in 2000. Once inside, the police found a small quantity of drugs and arrested Hudson for possession, which caused him to be placed on probation for 18 months. Despite the knock and announce violation, Hudson’s motion to suppress the evidence found in his home was denied because of a 1999 Michigan Supreme Court ruling that evidence found after such a violation was not subject to suppression.

However, the ACLU noted that in a 1995 U.S. Supreme Court opinion, Justice Clarence Thomas writing for the Court, stressed that the knock and announce requirement protects the dignity of residents by allowing them a reasonable time to make themselves presentable before the police enter, and also protects private property by allowing a resident an opportunity to open his or her door instead of having the doors destroyed by a police battering ram.

“As a result of the Michigan Supreme Court’s ruling, police in Michigan have virtually no incentive to comply with the knock and announce requirement,” said Kary Moss, ACLU of Michigan Executive Director. “The Michigan Supreme Court’s position on this issue encourages police to violate constitutional rights with impunity.”

This issue has been disputed in courts across the country, but the Michigan Supreme Court position has been rejected by the highest state courts in Arkansas and Maryland and by the Sixth and Eighth Circuit Courts of Appeal. The Michigan Supreme Court’s holding has been embraced by only the Seventh Circuit.

The Court agreed to hear Hudson v. Michigan yesterday as it issued its final decisions in the 2004 term. Oral arguments will be held in December or January, and a decision is expected by June 2006.

Professor Moran also served as the ACLU of Michigan cooperating attorney in the Supreme Court case decided last week guaranteeing poor criminal defendants the right to a lawyer on appeal.

To see the petition asking the Supreme Court to hear Hudson v. Michigan, go to:

To read the reply brief, go to:

For the ACLU press release on last week’s Supreme Court victory, go to:


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