The U.S. Supreme Court will review a case in which the Kentucky Supreme Court ruled against a warrantless police entry into the apartment of a drug suspect, saying that police officers created “exigent circumstances” that they then used to justify their entering without a warrant. The police action at the premises of Hollis Deshaun King, said the state court, did not occur when officers were in hot pursuit of a fleeing suspect.
An officer gave two justifications for entering the apartment without a warrant: the odor of marijuana, and the possible destruction of evidence based on the sound of movement inside the apartment, said the Kentucky court. It concluded that “odor alone is generally an insufficient basis for the warrantless search of a home based on imminent destruction of evidence.” The court added that “it was reasonably foreseeable that knocking on the apartment door and announcing ‘police, after having smelled marijuana emanating from the apartment, would create the exigent circumstance relied upon, i .e.
destruction of evidence.”