May 23, 2019

Colorado Court of Appeals: No Suppression of Evidence for Knock-and-Announce Violations

The Colorado Court of Appeals issued its opinion in People v. Butler on July 22, 2010.

Search Warrant—Fourth Amendment—Motion to Suppress—Knock-and-Announce Search—Remedy—Jury Instructions—Invited Error Doctrine.

Defendant Robert Butler appealed the trial court’s judgment of conviction entered on a jury verdict finding him guilty of two counts of attempting to disarm a police officer. The judgment was affirmed.

When officers attempted to execute a search warrant at his residence in connection with an allegation that defendant assaulted someone with a large knife, Butler also was charged with two counts of attempting to disarm a police officer. These charges were heard separately from all other charges regarding the knife incident, and defendant was found guilty of both counts.

Butler’s principal contention on appeal was that the trial court erred in denying his motion to suppress evidence from the police’s “knock-and-announce” search, because the search violated his Fourth Amendment rights; however, suppression of evidence is no longer a remedy in a criminal case for violations of the knock-and-announce rule. The Court of Appeals therefore declined to address whether Butler’s Fourth Amendment rights were violated, because he would have no remedy regardless of the result.

Butler also contended that the trial court erred in adding the phrase “or search warrant executed” to the jury instruction, defining when a police officer acts under color of authority. The Court disagreed. The record shows that when the trial court proposed amending the jury instruction defining when a police officer acts under color of official authority by adding the phrase “or search warrant executed,” defense counsel responded, “That’s fine with me.” The invited error doctrine precludes Butler from appealing this issue because he expressly acquiesced in the instruction at trial.

This summary is published here courtesy of The Colorado Lawyer. Other summaries by the Colorado Court of Appeals on July 22, 2010, can be found here.

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