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Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Knocking Down the Supreme Court's Knock Down of the Knock and Announce Rule in Vermont

Yesterday, a trial court in Vermont rejected the reasoning of the Supreme Court's recent ruling in Hudson v. Michigan, which allowed courts to admit evidence acquired in violation of the Fourth Amendment's "knock and announce." The court found that Vermont's constitution provides greater protection than the federal constitution, thus requiring suppression of evidence tainted by a "knock and announce" violation. Adopting the view of the four Hudson dissenters, the opinion, authored by a Republican appointee, found that "[i]ntroduction of evidence [obtained in violation of the knock-and-announce rule] eviscerates our most sacred rights, impinges on individual privacy, perverts our judicial process, distorts any notion of fairness and encourages official misconduct." Justices Scalia, Thomas, Roberts, Alito and Kennedy obviously didn't see things that way, but maybe other state courts, interpreting their own constitutions, will -- lest we begin to find ourselves with remediless rights that aren't worth the parchment they were written on.

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