skip navigation


Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.


NCJ Number: 203015 Find in a Library
Title: Waiting...The Knock and Announce Statute
Journal: Law and Order  Volume:51  Issue:10  Dated:October 2003  Pages:169-173
Author(s): Joan A. Hopper
Date Published: October 2003
Page Count: 5
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article reviews issues in court cases that have focused on the proper "wait time" after knocking and announcing the execution of a search warrant before conducting a forced entry; attention is given to the case of United States v. Lashawn Banks, 282 F.3d 699, 703 (ninth Circuit 2002), which will come before the U.S. Supreme Court in October 2003.
Abstract: In the "Banks" case, officers of the North Las Vegas Police Department and FBI agents stood in position outside the front and back doors of Banks' small apartment. The officers then followed standard procedure by knocking loudly on the front door and announcing, "Police search warrant." After waiting 15-20 seconds without hearing any sounds from inside the apartment, police forcibly entered. Banks, who had just emerged from the shower, was standing naked in the hallway outside his bathroom when police entered the apartment. He was quickly forced to the floor by officers and handcuffed, followed by questioning. At the criminal trial, the defense filed a motion to suppress statements made by Banks during questioning, with one of the grounds being that the officers failed to wait a reasonable period of time before forcefully entering Banks' residence when executing the search warrant. The district court denied the motion, but on appeal the Ninth Circuit Court reversed the lower court's decision in favor of Banks. In discussing the issues in the case, this article focuses on the provisions of the fourth amendment, which aims to protect the public from unreasonable search and seizures. The Federal "Knock and Announce" Statute, 18 U.S.C. 3109 supports this intention of the fourth amendment while still providing law enforcement officers with enough latitude to complete their jobs. The statute provides that an officer may use force to enter a domicile to execute a search warrant only if "after notice of his authority and purpose, he is denied admittance..." In United States v. Allende, 485 F.2d 1351, 1353 (Ninth Circuit 1973) the court held that a refusal of entry "may be implied in some instances." This interpretation was clarified in 1991 when the Ninth Circuit declared that a person's failure to answer an officer's knock and announcement is equal to a refusal of entry. This article also discusses exigent circumstances that would allow for circumventing the wait time. It then presents arguments for and against 5 seconds being a reasonable "wait time." Noting that the courts have been inconsistent in their conclusions about "wait time," the article concludes that some of the determining factors that may affect the determination of a wait time could be the size of the residence, the location of the officers in relation to the main living or sleeping areas of the residence, and the nature of the suspected offense. Until the U.S. Supreme Court renders its decision, however, officers will continue to be faced with the possibility that they waited too long or not long enough as they stand outside a doorway prepared to enter into the unknown.
Main Term(s): Police legal limitations
Index Term(s): Search and seizure; Search and seizure laws; Search and seizure training; US Supreme Court; US Supreme Court decisions
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.