They chased the drug dealer, turned around a corner and did not see him. They started looking for clues as to what apartment he ran into, and smelled weed coming from an apartment. It doesn't take a genius to figure out that 2+2 = 4, and that a drug dealer ducking into an apartment full of stoners isn't a stretch. They announced themselves, heard the shuffling, and busted in.
The Police had very probable cause to believe that under the circumstances they were in, the suspect they had been pursuing in relation to a crime that had been witnessed by an undercover cop was inside the apartment building, and that it was him and his associates inside destroying any further evidence that could be held against him.(You'll be surprised at the knowledge of the law that criminals have, they know that having multiple charges dropped on them = bad.)
They busted down the door and were in fact, mistaken. This was not the apartment they were looking for, regardless of the fact that an unrelated crime(probably a misdemeanor) was taking place inside.
Now what I feel would be fair
would be to dismiss all charges to the stoners whos apartment was broken into, but on the same note the cops didn't do anything wrong with respect to the law. If you ask me, no harm-no foul for both parties is the properly fair solution. Besides which, you aren't obligated to press charges for a misdemeanor as a police officer in most states(Not sure about KY) anyway, so that is a feasible solution, or would have been, depending on how far things go. However, if the drugs in the apartment were enough in quantity to where it is apparent that there was an intent to distribute/sell, this case could be much different. Personally, I believe in busting dealers, not recreational users. Throwing the symptom in jail doesn't have any positive effect on the disease.
What's to stop cops from just claiming they thought the suspects were murdering someone to sidestep the warrant requirement completely from then on?
The fact that they have to justify what factors led to making the decision that the evidence was being destroyed as pertains to Objective Reasonableness. If the cops have a really bogus excuse, it isn't going to fly and the charges will be dropped. If the whole thing is severely mishandled in the field, then in the court room the suspects in the house that gets searched might be able to bring forth a civil suit against the city, which really pisses off city officials because those are expensive, and would get the officer into some serious hot water if the circumstances aren't reasonable.
edited 20th May '11 2:04:20 AM by Barkey
The AR-15 is responsible for 95% of all deaths each year. The rest of the deaths are from obesity and drone strikes.