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Military style assault to enter home unreasonable

Even though the police had a warrant to search the Defendant’s home, their military style assault to enter the home was not reasonable under the circumstances.

In Watkins v. State, a confidential informant told the police that he observed cocaine, marijuana, and a firearm in the defendant’s home. The police obtained a warrant. As officers arrived, the Defendant was outside his home. Though officers had a description of the Defendant, they did not stop him before he went inside his home. At least 12 officers surrounded the home; most were armed with assault weapons. Officers announced their presence at the front door, and then one second later, used a battering ram to crash open the front door. One second later, the officers tossed a flash bang device into a room where a 9 month old baby was in a play pen. Other officers smashed a kitchen window and threw in another flash bang grenade. The Defendant surrendered without a struggle.

The Indiana Court of Appeals held no evidence was presented that the police could not have safely presented the warrant to the Defendant while he was outside his home. While there was a considerable degree of suspicion that drugs and a weapon were inside the Defendant’s home, the extent of law enforcement needs for a military style assault was low and the degree of intrusion was unreasonably high. Therefore, the trial court abused its discretion in admitting the evidence seized from the Defendant’s home and his drug convictions were reversed. With over 33 years of handling thousands of criminal cases, Steven Knecht is familiar with the possible defenses to drug possession and other criminal charges. Clients come to Steven Knecht seeking his dependable legal advice and service. His commitment to his clients has solidified his reputation for superior representation in the area of criminal defense. He puts clients at ease, explains everything as thoroughly as possible, without “legalese,” and returns phone calls and e-mails. If you find yourself having been arrested, you should immediately hire an experienced criminal defense lawyer that you can trust such as Steven Knecht to help you fight the State because you have a lot at stake on the outcome.

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