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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:Based on information provided by an informant, agents for the Brazos Valley Narcotics Task Force executed a search warrant by forced entry on a residence early one morning. Drugs were seized, and Lawrence Richard Bedford, who was not named in the search warrant but who was described as one of two people selling drugs out of the residence, was arrested. Bedford filed a motion to suppress the evidence found, based on the agents’ failure to “knock and announce” their presence and purpose. He said their was no reason the agents could not have knocked first, since there was no evidence of a threat of violence or of the destruction of evidence. The trial court denied the motion. Bedford thus entered a guilty plea to possession of marijuana and possession of a controlled substance. HOLDING:Affirmed. The court explains that the common-law requirement of a knock-and-announce rule was merged into a general inquiry into reasonableness by Wilson v. Arkansas, 514 U.S. 927 (1995). The high court refined the standard in Richards v. Wisconsin, 520 U.S. 385 (1997), by saying that a no-knock entry was justified when there was a reasonable suspicion that a prior announcement would be dangerous or futile, or would inhibit effective investigation of the crime. Reasonableness, the court adds, is measured at the time of entry. At the suppression hearing, one agent said the warrant did not specify whether the occupants were particularly dangerous. He also said the police announced their presence at the same time they bashed the door in. Another agent, the one who authored the probable cause affidavit, knew that police had been called to the residence on at least two prior occasions and that Bedford’s roommate had been arrested on at least one of those occasions. The agent also said he had been told that marijuana was sold from the residence. Though he did not anticipate violence, he believed Bedford and his roommate would destroy the drug evidence. The court finds the testimony by the agents is enough to meet the Supreme Court’s standards for the reasonableness of a no-knock entry. OPINION:Gray, C.J.; Gray, Vance and Reyna, JJ. DISSENT:Vance, J. The dissent believes the majority misapplied Richards. “[T]he central message of Richards is: the fact that a search involves illegal drugs cannot alone serve as a justification for that fear and to support a no-knock entry.” Though there were two prior searches at the residence, there was no evidence that either of its occupants had attempted to destroy evidence. The agents’ belief that evidence would be destroyed was “little more than a suspicion.”

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