GUILDHALL, Vt. --A Vermont District Court judge has rejected a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling on the power of police to search a private home, concluding that the state offers greater protections in such cases.
Judge Robert Bent said that under the state Constitution police must knock and announce themselves before conducting a search, even if they have a warrant, or face the prospect that any evidence they find could be thrown out.
The Supreme Court said June 15 that evidence obtained without first knocking could be used at trial, but Bent said that would not apply in Vermont.
"Evidence obtained in violation of the Vermont Constitution, or as the result of a violation, cannot be admitted at trial as a matter of state law," Bent wrote, citing an earlier state case as precedent. "Introduction of such evidence at trial eviscerates our most sacred rights, impinges on individual privacy, perverts our judicial process, distorts any notion of fairness and encourages official misconduct."