KY Court Voids Conviction, Says Cops Shouldn’t Threaten Over Searches


Lexington, Ky., police told Crystal Guzman that, unless she agreed to allow a search of her apartment, an officer would remain with her while another got a warrant, says he Associated Press. She consented to a warrantless “protective sweep” search that turned up cocaine and drug paraphernalia and resulted in her arrest.

The Kentucky Supreme Court yesterday threw out her conviction and evidence seized in the search, saying the threat of getting a search warrant amounted to an impermissible ruse by officers. The ruling sets new limits in Kentucky on how far police officers may go to gain access to homes and vehicles without a search warrant. Justice Bill Cunningham said in a concurring opinion that using the threat of a search warrant without probable cause to get the document has become a dangerous and much used technique that “could be an exploding land mine.” He said, “When you have consent to enter into one's living room, you are not invited into the kitchen, or the bedroom, or the basement.”

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