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Richards v. Wisconsin


Officers executed a drug search warrant at the defendant’s motel room. To gain entry, one officer hoped to fool the defendant by wearing a maintenance uniform. He knocked on the defendant’s hotel room door, which the defendant opened. When the defendant saw a uniformed officer in the hallway, he slammed the door shut. The officers immediately kicked the door open and apprehended the defendant, who was attempting to climb out the window. They found contraband in the room.


Whether the officers’ entry was in compliance with 18 U.S.C. § 3109?


Yes. Officers are not required to announce their status and intentions with every warrant execution.


The Court held that officers do not have to comply with 18 U.S.C. § 3109 requirements when they develop reason to suspect that doing so would be: (1) dangerous, (2) futile, or (3) allow for the destruction of evidence. The Supreme Court rejected the argument that all felony drug cases are inherently dangerous. However, in this case the Court found that the officers’ behavior was reasonable.


520 U.S. 385, 117 S. Ct. 1416 (1997)

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