The Supreme Court affirmed today that police can enter homes in emergencies without knocking or announcing their presence, the Associated Press reports. The court said four Brigham City, Utah, police officers were justified in going inside a home in 2000 looking in a window and seeing a fight between a teenager and adults. Chief Justice John Roberts, writing for the unanimous court, said that officers had a reasonable basis for going inside to stop violence.
The decision overturned a ruling by Utah’s Supreme Court that said a trial judge correctly to throw out charges stemming from the police search. The judge had ruled that police had violated the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition against unreasonable searches by failing to knock before entering the house. In a separate opinion, Justice John Paul Stevens said that Utah courts could still find that the police entry was unreasonable under Utah’s Constitution. He called it “an odd flyspeck of a case.”