Supreme Court: Cops Don’t Need a Warrant If They Smell Weed

May 17, 2011  |  

(NPR) — The U.S. Supreme Court has made it significantly easier for police to force their way into a home without a warrant. On Monday, the court, by an 8-1 vote, upheld the warrantless search of an apartment after police smelled marijuana and feared that those inside were destroying incriminating evidence.  The Constitution bars warrantless searches except in certain circumstances — for example, when police fear that evidence of a crime is being destroyed. The question in this case was whether police, by themselves creating such emergency circumstances, unconstitutionally evade the warrant requirement.  The case came from Lexington, Ky., where police pursuing a drug suspect banged on the door of an apartment where they thought they smelled marijuana. After loudly identifying themselves, police heard movement inside, and suspecting that evidence was being destroyed, kicked in the door. There they found Hollis Deshaun King, smoking marijuana. Police also found cocaine inside the apartment.

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