Steven Knecht Wins Reversal On Appeal
Steven Knecht won a reversal of possession of marijuana and maintaining a common nuisance convictions on appeal because the evidence obtained as a result of the illegal warrantless entry by the police into his client’s apartment should have been suppressed.
The police had gone to the apartment to retrieve keys from a terminated employee. The police first claimed to smell burnt marijuana entering the common hallway for the apartment building. Upon the client opening the apartment door, the police claimed to smell a strong odor of burnt marijuana and saw a smoky haze inside the apartment. The client told the police that the terminated employee was not present though other adult males were present. The client agreed to get the keys and went back into the apartment. However, the officer used his hand to keep the door from closing and entered the apartment because of the presence of additional adult males and wanting to freeze the situation so evidence could not be destroyed.
The Indiana Court of Appeals held that there was insufficient evidence of an objective and reasonable fear that evidence was to about to be destroyed when the police entered the apartment without a warrant. Therefore, no exigent circumstances existed to justify the warrantless entry. Since the remedy for an illegal warrantless search is the suppression of the evidence obtained from the search, the convictions were reversed. The case was dismissed for lack of evidence.
With over 33 years of experience, Steven Knecht is familiar with the possible defenses to criminal charges. If you find yourself having been arrested or falsely accused of a crime, you should immediately hire an experienced criminal defense lawyer such as Steven Knecht to help you fight the State.