Search and Seizure: Vermont Judge Says State Constitution Provides Protection Even if Federal Doesn't

7/14/06

Drug War Chronicle, recent top items

more...

recent blog posts "In the Trenches" activist feed

SUBSCRIBE TODAY!!!


http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/444/vermont-search-warrants.shtml

The US Supreme Court ruled last month that police officers who violated "knock and announce" search warrant rules could use the ill-gotten evidence against defendants, but that's not good enough for at least one Vermont judge. In a Monday opinion, District Court Judge Robert Bent threw out the evidence in a "knock and announce" search where police rushed the home as soon as the door opened while they were gathering out front.

not okay in Vermont

Under centuries-old common law and decades of US legal practice, most search warrants require police to knock and announce and allow the resident a reasonable time to answer the door. Police who can convince a judge special circumstances require them can apply for a "no-knock" warrant. Last month's Supreme Court ruling effectively gutted the "knock and announce" requirement -- at least in the federal courts.

Vermont should hold itself to a higher standard, said Bent in the case of Ellen Sheltra, who was arrested on marijuana charges after the cops rushed her door. "Evidence obtained in violation of the Vermont Constitution, or as the result of a violation, cannot be admitted at trial as a matter of state law," Bent wrote, citing an earlier state case as precedent. "Introduction of such evidence at trial eviscerates our most sacred rights, impinges on individual privacy, perverts our judicial process, distorts any notion of fairness and encourages official misconduct."

In their dissent in the US Supreme Court case, four justices warned that allowing police to use illegally obtained evidence would lead to police officers ignoring the law. Bent agreed. "The exclusionary remedy should remain in full force and effect," Bent wrote, "at least in our small corner of the nation."

The district court decision is not binding on other judges, but they are likely to take it into consideration in deciding similar cases. Prosecutors have not decided whether to appeal Bent's ruling to the Vermont Supreme Court, where, if it is upheld, it would become binding.

-- END --
Link to Drug War Facts
Please make a generous donation to support Drug War Chronicle in 2007!          

PERMISSION to reprint or redistribute any or all of the contents of Drug War Chronicle (formerly The Week Online with DRCNet is hereby granted. We ask that any use of these materials include proper credit and, where appropriate, a link to one or more of our web sites. If your publication customarily pays for publication, DRCNet requests checks payable to the organization. If your publication does not pay for materials, you are free to use the materials gratis. In all cases, we request notification for our records, including physical copies where material has appeared in print. Contact: StoptheDrugWar.org: the Drug Reform Coordination Network, P.O. Box 18402, Washington, DC 20036, (202) 293-8340 (voice), (202) 293-8344 (fax), e-mail [email protected]. Thank you.

Articles of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of the DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.

Issue #444 -- 7/14/06

Drug War Chronicle, recent top items

more...

recent blog posts "In the Trenches" activist feed

SUBSCRIBE TODAY!!!

Editorial: Not Playing by the Rules, Not Making Sense | Appeal/Book Offer: Race to Incarcerate, by Marc Mauer | Feature: Judge Throws Out Part of Alaska Marijuana Recriminalization Law, Up to An Ounce is Now Legal At Home | Feature: Methamphetamine as Child Abuse Laws Gain Ground, But Do They Help or Hurt? | Law Enforcement: This Week's Corrupt Cops Story | Law Enforcement: Goose Creek Agrees to Pay Up, Change Ways in Settlement of Notorious High School Drug Raid Case | Sentencing: California Governor Signs Bill Amending Proposition 36, Is Immediately Sued | Search and Seizure: Vermont Judge Says State Constitution Provides Protection Even if Federal Doesn't | Sentencing: Justice Kennedy Lashes Out at Harsh Prison Terms | Harm Reduction: San Diego Reinstates Needle Exchange Program | First Amendment: New Michigan Law Bans Methamphetamine Recipes on Internet | Middle East: US Troops, Iraqi Police Seize Marijuana Plants | Web Scan: Sentencing Project and Others Report to UN Human Rights Committee, CURE on Prisons in OAS | Weekly: This Week in History | Weekly: The Reformer's Calendar |

Mail this article to a friend
Send us feedback on this article
This issue -- main page
This issue -- single-file printer version
Drug War Chronicle -- main page
Chronicle archives
Subscribe now!
Out from the Shadows HEA Drug Provision Drug War Chronicle Perry Fund DRCNet en EspaŮol Speakeasy Blogs About Us Home
Why Legalization? NJ Racial Profiling Archive Subscribe Donate DRCNet em PortuguÍs Latest News Drug Library Search
special friends links: SSDP - Flex Your Rights - IAL - Drug War Facts

StoptheDrugWar.org: the Drug Reform Coordination Network (DRCNet)
1623 Connecticut Ave., NW, 3rd Floor, Washington DC 20009 Phone (202) 293-8340 Fax (202) 293-8344 [email protected]