The Supreme Court ruled Thursday that police can use evidence collected with a warrant even if officers fail to knock before rushing into a home, reports the Associated Press. Justice Samuel Alito broke a 4-4 tie in siding with Detroit police, who called out their presence at a man’s door then went inside three seconds to five seconds later. The case had tested previous court rulings that police armed with warrants generally must knock and announce themselves or they run afoul of the Constitution’s Fourth Amendment ban on unreasonable searches.
Justice Antonin Scalia, writing for the majority, said “whether that preliminary misstep had occurred or not, the police would have executed the warrant they had obtained, and would have discovered the gun and drugs inside the house.” The court did not say how long police officers must wait after knocking before they enter a home to execute a search warrant. But suppressing evidence is too high of a penalty, Scalia said, for errors in police searches.