Search Warrant “Knock, Announce, GRENADE” unreasonable – State v. Robinson

In an opinion released this morning, the Appellate Division ruled that the use of a flash bang device in the execution of a “knock & announce” search warrant is unreasonable under the New Jersey Constitution. The Court also ruled that a delay of 20 to 30 seconds between the “knock & announce” and the forcible entry into the residence was unreasonable under the State Constitution.

The facts of the case, captioned State v. Robinson, involve the execution of a search warrant following a lengthy drug investigation. In securing the warrant, the police never revealed to the issuing judge any basis to believe that the police believed they would face extreme danger in serving the warrant. However, when the police went to execute the warrant, they did so in a quasi-military manner, using a force of 13 tactical officers. The squad of officers knocked on the door of the defendant’s residence at 6:30 am, waited 20 to 30 seconds, and then forcibly opened the door and threw in a flash/bang grenade to stun whoever was inside.

The Appellate Division compared this conduct to prior New Jersey case law and found the actions of the police to be unreasonable both with respect to the mode of entry and the use of the grenade.

Download a copy of State v. Robinson.

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