Washington, DC: Police may enter a residence without a warrant if they suspect that illicit substances are present and that those inside are making efforts to dispose of them, the United States Supreme Court ruled this week in an 8-1 decision.
The ruling reverses a determination by the Kentucky Supreme Court that found that the warrantless entry violated protections granted by the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
The Court determined that the smell of marijuana emanating from outside the residence, combined with law enforcement’s testimony that they heard sounds coming from inside the home that they believed to be indicative of the destruction of evidence, were exigent circumstances – thus making the legal requirement of a search warrant unnecessary.
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg dissented in the case.
For more information, please contact Keith Stroup, NORML Legal Counsel, at (202) 483-5500. The case is Kentucky v. King.