Cops Bust Wrong Pot Party, End Up in Supreme Court

Accidental drug bust has odd consequences
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 12, 2011 9:47 AM CST
The steps of the U.S. Supreme Court building are shown in this 2000 file photo in Washington.   (AP Photo/Pat Benic, FILE)

(Newser) – The Supreme Court will today hear the strange case of an accidental drug bust. Police were chasing a suspect through an apartment building in Lexington, Ky., and heard him slam a door somewhere in a hallway—that contained two closed doors. Unsure which was the correct one, they smelled pot coming from the one on the left and kicked it in, entering an apartment they didn’t have a search warrant for. The suspect wasn’t inside—but three other people were, and they were smoking pot and had a small amount of cocaine on them.

The people inside pleaded guilty to drug charges, but the Kentucky Supreme Court threw out the evidence against them, since police didn’t have a search warrant. Today, the Supreme Court will review that decision, and in the process clarify just when and where police can and can’t search without a warrant. Incidentally, police did eventually catch the original suspect, the AP notes, but those charges were dropped for unspecified reasons.

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