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Police Knock and Talk Tatics

Police Knock and Talk Tatics

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Published by WICKED MERCY
IF YOU ANSWER THE DOOR, STEP OUTSIDE AND LOCK THE DOOR BEHIND YOU...
IF YOU ANSWER THE DOOR, STEP OUTSIDE AND LOCK THE DOOR BEHIND YOU...

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Published by: WICKED MERCY on Dec 09, 2008
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06/14/2009

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Police “Knock and Talk” Tactics Hit Home
By Fred A. Simpson
Police investigation procedures allow officers to knock on doors of criminalsuspects, be they the doors of hotels, motels, offices, or residences. The procedure isostensibly one of information seeking. However, if in that process the officers seecontraband in plain view that might incriminate their suspect, there is noconstitutional protection, and evidence is not suppressed. Knock and talk requiresbalancing the intrusion of protected interests under the Fourth Amendment with thepromotion of legitimate governmental interests, including those of police officersafety. In
United States v. Gould,
___ F.3d __ (5
th
Cir. 2004), the Fifth Circuitstruggled with the knock and talk issue, first with a panel review, and then an
en banc
review which reached new conclusions about the proper law of warrantless searches,particularly warrantless residential searches.Deputy sheriffs received telephone warnings that a convicted felon withpropensities for violence planned to kill two local judges. The officers went to thefelon’s home, a 14 X 60 foot trailer, in order to talk to him, but with no intentions of making an arrest. (A typical “knock and talk” activity.) Another individual answeredthe door and told the deputies that their target was down the hall asleep in hisbedroom, and he invited deputies to take a look. As deputies approached thebedroom, they saw the door was open but nobody was in the room. They lookedunder the bed and in the closets where they found three rifles. (Convicted felons haveno lawful right to bear arms.) The officers then looked around outside and found thefelon hiding in the woods and arrested him. He executed a consent to search and therifles were seized.The district court allowed suppression of the three rifles as evidence ongrounds that the person who answered the door had no authority to allow deputies tosearch the bedroom, despite Government claims to the “protective sweep” doctrine

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