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US Supreme Court announces decision in case argued by WSU Law Associate Dean

October 27, 2006

In an opinion announced today, the U.S. Supreme Court held in Hudson v. Michigan that when the police violate the Fourth Amendment “knock and announce” rule, the evidence seized from inside the home should not automatically be suppressed. The Court thus rejected the argument of WSU Law School Associate Dean David A. Moran, who argued the case on January 9 on behalf of Booker T. Hudson, Jr. of Detroit. Supreme Court  

Associate Dean Moran was called back to the Supreme Court on May 18 to re-argue the case, presumably because the Justices were deadlocked.  Sandra Day O’Connor was a justice on the Court when the case was heard in January; she left the Court before the case was decided.  Samuel Alito was on the bench for the Court’s second hearing of the case, which was the last case heard this term. 

Justice Scalia delivered the opinion of the Court, “concluding that violation of the “knock and announce” rule does not require suppression of evidence found in a search,” according to the syllabus that was released by the Court.  “…the police would have executed the warrant they had obtained, and would have discovered the gun and drugs inside the house,” Scalia wrote.  Chief Justice Roberts and Justices Kennedy, Thomas, and Alito joined his opinion.  Justice Kennedy went on to write in his own opinion that, “it bears repeating that it is a serious matter if law enforcement officers violate the sanctity of the home by ignoring the requisites of lawful entry.” 

Justice Breyer filed a dissenting opinion, in which Justices Stevens, Souter and Ginsburg joined.  “It weakens, perhaps destroys, much of the practical value of the Constitution’s knock-and-announce protection,” Breyer wrote. 

Hudson was Moran’s fourth argument before the U.S. Supreme Court.  The Court agreed with Moran last June, when it struck down a Michigan statute in Halbert v. Michigan and held that thousands of indigent Michigan prisoners did have the right to counsel on appeal.  The dean of the WSU Law School, Frank H. Wu, noted the value of even a losing argument in the U.S. judicial process. He went on to say, "David Moran's work as a scholar and advocate blend together seamlessly, and this is yet another example of the tremendous contributions that Wayne State University Law School faculty regularly make to the legal community.” 

In ruling in favor of the State of Michigan’s position, the Court sided with the argument made by Timothy A. Baughman, WSU Law School Class of 1974 and Wayne County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney since 1975.  Hudson was Baughman’s fifth case, and fifth victory, before the nation’s highest court.

David Moran joined the Law School faculty full time in 2000; prior to that he taught as an adjunct professor at the School.  On January 11, 2006, two days after his first argument in Hudson, Moran assumed the duties of Associate Dean at the Law School.

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