The Fourth Amendment is a critical component of the Bill of Rights and the vast protections that individuals in the United States are expected to enjoy. The Fourth Amendment protects individuals from unreasonable searches and seizures and is generally the source of law used to justify the need for warrants when law enforcement officials wish to search private homes. Law enforcement officers in Little Rock have executed more than 1500 searches based on alleged drug crimes in Little Rock in the last decade and almost all of them have been granted a special status.
That status is of a no-knock warrant. Usually when law enforcement officers are issued a warrant to search a home, they are expected to arrive at the residence and announce their presence. This gives the home’s residents notice of their arrival rather than surprising them with a no-knock entry. While no-knock warrants can be granted in special circumstances, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that they cannot be granted as the blanket rule in cases arising from the same alleged criminal activity.
It seems, though, that the Little Rock police have been given arbitrary power to use no-knock warrants in practically all of the drug warrants they have gotten in the last 10 years. This potential abuse of power may have violated the rights of many citizens and threatened the integrity of the criminal justice system.
The proper and rightful execution of the law is necessary to ensure that the freedoms of individuals are always protected. No-knock warrants have a place in the law but are not the rule for drug case warrants. Individuals whose rights may have been affected by wrongful no-knock warrants can and should talk to their criminal defense attorneys about their legal options.