A King’s Castle?–Part II

As we discussed earlier, the Supreme Court’s ruling in Kentucky v. King raises some interesting questions.  Just how secure is a person in their home from warrantless entry by the police?
Question: At what point do police officers unlawfully create exigent circumstances, to the extent that they cannot rely on those exigent circumstances to enter a home without a warrant?
When they create the exigency thereby violating the 4th Amendment.  (“Where, as here, the police did not create the exigency by engaging or threatening to engage in conduct that violates the Fourth Amendment, warrantless entry to prevent the destruction of evidence is reasonable and this allowed”–Justice Alito, writing the majority opinion.)
Question: What types of noise are suspicious enough to justify the exigency?
If police have their ear to a door listening for “suspicious sounds”, seemingly anything could justify their position.  For example, if they hear the sound of a toilet flushing, the police may believe that evidence is being destroyed.  On the other hand, is the sound of a toilet flushing all that unreasonable in a home?  Certainly, there can be several perfectly innocent reasons to flush a toilet.  Secondly, what if the officers hear NO noise?  Will that be construed as a guilty person sitting quietly waiting to attack the cops?  Does perfect silence indicate criminal conduct or no criminal conduct?  What types of noises indicate crime is afoot…a blender?  A microwave?  Several dogs barking?  A TV commercial with gunfire?  The fear among many people is that officers will try to justify any type of noise as the type which requires warrantless entry.
And that is precisely why this ruling is so important.  The implications reach into the most secure place we have, our homes.
(Disclaimer: This post does not constitute legal advice nor does it create an attorney-client relationship.)

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