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Ga. Reconsiders No-Knock Warrant Rules

By GREG BLUESTEIN
Associated Press Write

ATLANTA (AP) -- A group of lawmakers wants to make it harder for police to use "no-knock" warrants in the wake of a shootout that left an elderly woman dead after plainclothes officers stormed her home unannounced in a search for drugs.

The measure would allow judges to grant the warrants only if officers can prove a "significant and imminent danger to human life."

The measure was prompted by the Nov. 21 shootout between Kathryn Johnston and three police officers during a no-knock search of her Atlanta home. When the officers entered without warning, police say that Johnston, 92, fired a handgun at them and that the officers returned fire, killing her. An autopsy concluded she was shot five or six times.

Narcotics officers said an informant had claimed there was cocaine in the home, but none was found.

Democratic Sen. Vincent Fort, a sponsor of the bill, said the case was a warning that it has become too easy to obtain "no-knock" warrants.

"Every citizen ought to be safe and secure in their homes," Fort said. "A no-knock warrant should be a special warrant, not a standard. And that's what it's evolved into."

An Associated Press review of all no-knock warrants filed in Atlanta's Fulton County last year found that the authorities involved often give scant detail when applying for the warrants.

No-knock warrants are intended to prevent suspects from getting rid of evidence and to protect officers from violent suspects. They typically are used to search for drugs and weapons.

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On the Net:

Senate Bill 259: http://www.legis.state.ga.us

© 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
 

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Montieth said:
No Knocks are used far too often. Limiting their scope is good.
I agree.

While I agree with the fact that they are sometimes needed, I feel that they tend to be abused and overused.
 

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Talor:
"Complete prohibition of no-knocks would be even better."

I agree. Too much of a chance that a child or someone not involved with the warrant may be injured or killed. I am sure this lady did not expect her days to end in a hail of multiple gun shot wounds. :shakehead:
 

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Adam5 said:
While I agree with the fact that they are sometimes needed, I feel that they tend to be abused and overused.
I disagree. I can think of no times that the police should not let people know that the police are knocking down their door.
 

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Ramm, from all accounts, they were plain clothes cops, yelled "Police" then immediately proceeded to break the door down.

Had they done that at my home, they would have been immediately attacked by my Bullmastiffs, (Max 135 and Sam 130lbs) and I would have opened up, without hesitation, and without a doubt. There would have been no "wounded cops", there would have been bodies dropping.

Given the day and age we live in, it was impossible for her to tell quickly if they were police or a fake cops. Much like this thread that you and I commented on shortly ago. http://www.georgiapacking.org/forum/vie ... 938b3ae748

It would be impossible for most people to grasp the situation in the time allowed her.

I respect PO's as much as anyone else, and are grateful for their service. This situation went badly for the officers, and most certainly for the 92 year old woman who lost her life because she was afraid. Both could have been avoided in this case, no question.

As for me and mine, we protect ourselves.
 

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Watch_Their_Hands wrote

Had they done that at my home, they would have been immediately attacked by my Bullmastiffs, (Max 135 and Sam 130lbs) and I would have opened up, without hesitation, and without a doubt. There would have been no "wounded cops", there would have been bodies dropping.


No-knock should be banned,

I would need to agree if someone started to break in my home then you better get ready to hear a ak's 47 rifle going off in my house.You never know if bad guy is wearing body armor.The cops did a piss poor job how they handled the warrant. The poor 92 year old woman had no drugs in her house she was only do what you or I would do defend your life.I just wished that the 92 year old woman would have made it out of there alive.

Here is a question,
If you didn't know that the guys breaking into your home were undercover cops with guns pulled out and you shot and killed them could you claim self-defense under "stand your ground" law in Georgia. Because they didn't show thier badge and didn't tell you that they were police or knocked on your door. I do have respect for police but if the police do a piss poor job for the citizens they claim they"re protecting the citizens will be more hostile to them.
 

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[quote="jason1
Here is a question,
If you didn't know that the guys breaking into your home were undercover cops with guns pulled out and you shot and killed them could you claim self-defense under "stand your ground" law in Georgia.[/quote]

You wouldn't need the stand your ground law, the old law would do. The law operates on your reasonable belief. I would say you clearly could make the defense. Whether a jury would buy it against a cop? Depends on the circumstances for sure. While it would really be immaterial to the real facts of the matter, it would certainly help your case if the cops found nothing and were at the wrong house. In our 'results oriented' legal culture, if you were a drug dealer hiding several kgs of coke, probably not. If you were our sweet little old lady, probably the case wouldn't even get prosecuted. Somewhere in the middle? Hope for a good jury.
 

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I agree, kkennett. In addition, as there would be no reason to serve a warrant at our home for any thing, much less drugs, the cops would find nothing and would be at the wrong house. I would think that would be a good defense. :)
 

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Watch_Their_Hands said:
much less drugs
They found drugs at Catherine Johnson's house and those guys are still going down.
 

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Ramm~

Nationwide publicity; you and I know this. It's wrong, but it's still gonna happen.

But like I said, no drugs at our home, etc., so no reason to kick down our door, thus, no reason to have to defend myself. But, if I was forced into a reason, it would happen as I stated. :wink:
 

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Just to play devils advocate...

The supporters of no-knock searches would argue that it saves police lifes. By not allowing the potental criminal time to hide and prepare for the police entry. The more time you allow someone to know your intentions you loose the element of suprize. Which could mean dead LEO's. Which is no good.

However, I still agree with everything stated above. If someone busted in my door in the middle of the night without anouncing "POLICE WE HAVE A WARRANT!!!" Prior to the entry. There would be a high possibility of a fire fight.

I think it's a crappy situation LEO's are put into. They are just trying to look out for there own. But, so are the innocent Law abiding citizens trying to protect there family who are doing no wrong. LEO's are held to a higher standard for a reason. They are intrusted with alot. They can't afford to go kicking in the wrong doors without expecting something to go wrong.
 

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No knocks does the same for officer safety as the AWB.
 
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