The law, lawyers, and the court.
April 6 2006 3:30 PM


The most important Supreme Court case you've never heard about.

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Should the U.S. Supreme Court uphold the Michigan Supreme Court's ruling, the already-battered knock-and-announce requirement would formally still be law, but there would be no effective sanction for police who violate it (monetary damages against police in such cases are unheard of). Thus, there'd be even less incentive for police to follow the rule than there already is. That means more of these particularly dangerous kinds of searches, conducted mostly by SWAT teams with no prior announcement. And that means wrong-door raids on innocents, and, inevitably, more unnecessary terrorizing of those innocents, more injury, and likely more loss of life.

Radley Balko is a senior editor for Reason magazine.