Kentucky v. King case

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The Lexington Police entered a residence where they believed King was concealing because of the potent smell of marijuana in an effort to apprehend King for the sale and distribution of cocaine. Due to noise and their suspicion that King was destroying evidence for his case, the police forcefully forced their way into the apartment. When the officers entered the apartment, they discovered King smoking marijuana with his colleagues while they were surrounded by cash and drug paraphernalia. (Lippman150).

King was sued in Kentucky highest court by the state of Kentucky. There was a need to enter a conditional guilty plea, which reserved the right to appeal to the use of evidence obtained by the police when they stormed into the King’s apartment. The judge believed that any charges raised against King be thrown away as the police did not have any warrant to search King’s apartment (Ducat 160). The Lexington police on the other side held that they didn’t need any warrant as they were on a ‘hot pursuit’ situation. Contrary to the matter, the King argued that it was not the case as he was unaware that the police were following him.


Issue 1: on what occasion does lawful police action lead to the acceptability of a warrantless entry?

Issue 2: Does the ‘hot pursuit’ exception for a warrantless entry only takes place if there is evidence that the suspect is aware he is being followed?


Issue 1: the police are often permitted warrantless entry during urgent situations, implying urgent or demanding circumstances. These urgent situations may not be created by the police themselves but by the threats of violence.

Issue 2: Off course, the court holds that it is in order for the police to claim that they were in ‘hot pursuit’ since the suspect was aware and he was actively trying to avoid capture.

Judgment/Disposition: Reversed. The court responded to the case by reserving and remanded the decision that was offered by the Kentucky Supreme Court. Majority decisions were provided by Justice Samuel Alito in which he claimed that the urgent situation could not be applicable if the police are the parties answerable for creating the exigent circumstance. When the police entered King’s apartment, they violated the king’s fourth amendment rights (Gaines et al. 655).

Rationale/Analysis: The state of Kentucky applied the following clarification to justify their officer’s entry into the King’s apartment.

Issue 1: Drawing example from the case of Mincey v. Arizona 437 U.S. 385, 394, it was determined that the police might have entered the premises without a warrant if only it were a ‘hot pursuit’ or an urgent matter (Barton 542). It was later determined by the Brigham City supra that one of the circumstances was the destruction of evidence given that the police heard noises they perceived that it was the King destroying the evidence against his case, they forced their way in without a warrant to stop him.

Dissent/Comment/Significance/Impact: This case illustrates the importance of the police being aware of their limits within the law. Given that they did not conduct themselves accordingly by the law, as well as by the fourth amendment, they were, therefore, not able to use their evidence against the King (Decker 105). This opinion was delivered by Justice Ginsburg. In this, she states that the fact that the police may have come to King’s home and listen for what they deem to be the construction of evidence, and forced their way, weakens the protections afforded to the citizens by the fourth amendment. With the destruction of proof, it is, therefore, valid to enter without a warrant, police must be able to defend their actions to stand out in court.


Barton, Robert. Texas Search and Seizure., 2015. Print.

Decker, Charles. General Charles L. Decker Collection. 1961.

Ducat, Craig. Constitutional Interpretation. Boston, MA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning, 2013. Print.

Gaines, Larry K, Roger L. R. Miller, Don R. Hopkins, Neil Stratton, and Marc Neithercutt. Criminal Justice in Action: The Core. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, 2014. Print.

Lippman, Matthew. Criminal Procedure. , 2013. Internet resource.

July 15, 2023

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