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Name: People v. Murphy
Case #: D040040
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 05/14/2004
Subsequent History: Rev. granted 7/21/04: S125572

Where no circumstances excused a law enforcement failure to substantially comply with knock-notice requirements in conducting a probation search, and where the only notice of entry provided to residents was officers’ shouting and pointing their weapons at a man working on a fence outside of the house, the court erred in failing to order suppression of evidence obtained during that search. The search in this case involved a probation search in which officers had observed a number of people around the probationer’s residence, and had evidence that drug sales were occurring on the premises. An officer testified that he had not knocked prior to entering the house because he believed that the encounter with the man outside (which occurred five to seven seconds prior to the entry into the house) had “compromised” the operation, and that people inside the house could be arming themselves or disposing of drugs. The officer could not point to any evidence substantiating that belief, however, and the Court of Appeal rejected the argument that exigent circumstances excused the failure to knock and announce. The court held that an officer’s belief that he might have compromised police operations by giving residents a five- to seven-second advance warning of entry does not excuse knock-notice compliance. Further, under these facts the officers neither attempted to comply nor received actual or implied refusal of admittance; thus there was no substantial compliance with knock-notice requirements. The court rejected the Attorney General’s inevitable discovery argument, holding that the inevitable-discovery exception should not apply to knock-notice violations even in the context of a probation search. One justice dissented, finding that the evidence was admissible either under the substantial-compliance exception or the inevitable-discovery exception.