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Warrants – No-Knock Authorization – Sufficiency of Showing of Danger

State v. Rayshun D. Eason, 2000 WI App 73, 234 Wis. 2d 396, 610 N.W.2d 208, affirmed in pertinent part, but reversed on other grounds2001 WI 98, ¶¶21-26
For Eason (in SCt): Suzanne Hagopian, SPD, Madison Appellate

Issue: Whether the no-knock warrant was supported by reasonable suspicion that announcing police presence would create danger.

Holding: The showing wasn’t sufficient to abrogate announcement: though the warrant noted the occupants’ arrests for assaults, the details were too flimsy – “no information as to when and where those arrests took place, or whether they involved any violent acts” or resulted in convictions – to establish even the minimal standard of reasonable suspicion. ¶8. Moreover, the affidavit’s “general statement that drug-related crimes often involve weapons” doesn’t plug the gap. Id.

But, insufficient support in the warrant application for no-knock entry, entry is nonetheless upheld because the police relied in good faith on the warrant, ¶¶29-72. Although there is significant support for the idea that a magistrate can’t issue a no-knock warrant without statutory authorization, Davis v. State, MD Ct App No. 59, 10/21/04, and although Wisconsin has no such statutory authority, Wisconsin caselaw allows it, State v. Eric A. Henderson, 2001 WI 97, ¶34. Does failure to seek pre-entry, judicial no-knock approval prevent a no-knock entry? Not according to Davis. But the rationale actually militates against knee-jerk, good-faith ratification of entry under such a warrant: the circumstances aren’t static, and ought to be judged relative to the time of entry. Indeed, even in jurisdictions allowing no-knock warrants, the police are required to make a reappraisal at the scene.Id. Indeed, the thrust of  State v. Isace A. Whiting, 2003 WI App 103, is that the warrant alone simply isn’t enough, that the circumstances at time of entry control.


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