Thursday, December 01, 2005

People v. Murphy (Cal. Supreme Ct. - Nov. 28, 2005)

An interesting 4-3 decision by the California Supreme Court. With Justice Blease of the Third Appellate District sitting by designation to replace Justice Brown and make it 7. (He joins the dissent, by the way.)

A close case. Basically the issue is whether the police have to knock before they enter a house in which they suspect the occupants are selling drugs. The actual facts are more complicated, and the majority tries to somewhat limit its holding. But the import of the opinion is pretty darn broad. And the answer, FYI, is "No". Someone inside might destroy drugs. Which will, quite frankly, presumably almost always be the case.

So you better hope that the police don't think you're selling drugs. 'Cause if they do, they'll be coming in, and they won't be knocking. Politely or otherwise. "Exigent circumstances". That's the basic holding.