A District Court judge in Vermont made headlines last week when he ruled that drugs and weapons discovered in a raid on an Island Pond home were inadmissible as evidence because police, though armed with a search warrant, failed to knock and announce their presence before entering.
The ruling came on the heels of a U.S. Supreme Court decision just one month earlier in a similar case, which carried a very different finding. In that 5-4 decision, the high court ruled that evidence discovered in a raid could be used in court despite the fact that police failed to knock and announce first – a long-standing condition to protect people from unreasonable search and seizures.
So what effect will the high court ruling have on the Vermont decision in the Island Pond case or cases like it in the future?
Michael Mello is a Vermont Law School Professor who says the interpretations of the law between Vermont’s judiciary and the Supreme Court in cases like this are both subtle and significant. He spoke with Mitch Wertlieb about the issue.