Legal Fight Against No Knock Swat Warrants Explodes Into Open


Quinn v. Texas

Every day, we read about SWAT teams serving arrest warrants or search warrants at people’s homes, using no-knock raids in the middle of the night. Many of these police home invasions go wrong, with innocent people being shot, and sometimes killed, just because they were trying to defend themselves.  Even criminals have learned to claim that they are the police while breaking into homes, to discourage resistance.

An important case now presents the significant legal issue of whether police are justified in using no-knock home invasions simply because they know the occupants own a firearm.  On January 27, 2014, our firm filed an amicus curiae brief in the U.S. Supreme Court in Quinn v. Texas, in support of the grant of a petition for certiorari, to obtain a review of this issue.

John Quinn was asleep in his bed when Texas police broke down his door in the middle of the night, and shot him when he reached for a weapon, thinking his home was being invaded. The police were there to serve a search warrant for his son, Brian, who they suspected of dealing drugs.

The only justification for the no-knock raid that police gave was that John Quinn owned a firearm. The police claimed that firearms ownership was enough to present a danger to law enforcement, even though they knew John Quinn had a concealed carry permit — meaning the state of Texas had pronounced him to be a safe, law-abiding citizen.

It is a foundational Fourth Amendment principle that, when executing a warrant, the police must knock and announce their presence and purpose, and allow a homeowner the time to let them in. This principle is designed to preserve a person’s life (so he is not accidentally shot), his property (his front door), and his dignity (if, for example, he is in the shower). Only if the police have “exigent circumstances” has the Supreme Court permitted entry without knocking.

Our amicus brief pointed out that the police dispensed with the Fourth Amendment and executed a no-knock raid for the sole reason that Quinn had chosen to exercise his Second Amendment rights to keep a firearm in his home for self defense.

The Texas court held that it did not matter if the police violated Quinn’s rights with the no knock raid, since they would have searched his home and found drugs anyway. Our brief answers that in doing so, the Texas court essentially created a per se rule that, any time the police have a warrant, they can dispense with the Fourth Amendment, knowing that a court will later rule they “would have found it anyway.”

Finally, our brief noted the Court’s recent holding in U.S. v. Jones (a 2012 Supreme Court case in which we filed two briefs), where the Court returned to the private property roots of the Fourth Amendment, instead of the atextual “reasonable expectation of privacy” tests that had been invented in the 1960′s. The brief argued that, after Jones, the Court needs to re-examine no-knock raids from a property — rather than a privacy — perspective.

Our society is one where no-knock raids — supposedly the exception — have become the rule, due to aggressive, militaristic policing, and permissive courts. Often, innocent people, and even family pets defending their homes are caught up in the crossfire when police make mistakes. Having a rule where the police can break down a person’s front door simply because he may keep a firearm inside is simply intolerable.

Our brief was filed on behalf of: U.S. Justice Foundation, Gun Owners Foundation, Gun Owners of America, Inc., Lincoln Institute for Research and Education, Abraham Lincoln Foundation, Institute on the Constitution, Conservative Legal Defense and Education Fund, U.S. Border Control Foundation, Policy Analysis Center, Downsize DC Foundation, and

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  1. George Lincoln Rockwell says:

    I have ZERO respect for the pigs or the bought and paid for clowns in cheap robes called judges. Tell ya what, pigs; when you QUIT raping, murdering, stealing drugs and weapons from evidence lockers and DEALING drugs and weapons, lying on the stand to cover for your brother pigs and sister sows and in general just your shitty attitudes, MAYBE then I’ll have the respect and admiration I once had for you. You need to taze an 80 year old woman and pepper spray 5 year olds?! REALLY?! No, it really is WAY past due for reform of our fascistic law enforcement. Oh, and by the way, don’t sing me your song about how dangerous your job is, actually, it’s pretty damn safe. I really never thought I, a lifelong conservative would use hippie terms like ‘pig’ and ‘fascist’ but you a**holes deserve no less. If I EVER see a pig being beaten to death by some POS scumbag(s), I will get some popcorn and a beer and watch the show. I won’t even call 911 for you. Keep it up, PIGS! America is watching and we’re getting pissed!

  2. The obvious problem with "no knock raids" besides being unconstitutional is that from the homeowners perspective, there is no difference between a no knock raid and a burglar breaking in which leaves the homeowner fearful for life and/or property and the obvious response is to defend oneself and property with deadly force! If they try that at my residence, they will be met with a lot of fire power and I aim for the face.(no protection there!) As long as this unlawful and unconstitutional no knock raid continues, there ARE going to be more and more "officers" killed like the one that happened just 40 miles from me in Summerville, Texas. The law officers are sworn to "serve and protect" and a no knock raid is neither serving nor protecting in any way , shape or form! That officer was shot dead because he broke into a persons house during the night just like a crook and without any form of announcement that he was an officer of the law so he got shot and killed by the homeowner fearing for his life and rightly so!!! I have sympathy for the family of that officer but no sympathy for the officer himself. YOU REAP WHAT YOU SOW!

  3. Seeks_the_truth says:

    When SCOTUS rules that no knock raids are acceptable, that is the end of the 4th Amendment.
    There is no doubt it will be ruled acceptable.
    It will be official instead of just thought. No longer will you be safe from illegal search and seizure in your home and possessions.
    We will have lost our LAST right.
    How many are aware that we have the first American arrested with the illegal use of a drone?
    We have lost our freedom. We no longer have the right to free speech(H.R. 347), the right to bear arms(Gun Control Act of 1968) and now to be free from illegal persecution.

    You allowed this to happen. You have sat back and just complained. You have not stood up for your rights and freedom. You bicker and argue over minor things like having Piers Morgan deported but won't sacrifice time to protest in front of the White House.
    The White man is getting as bad as the Black man with excuses.

    With every protest that has been executed on the White House lawn we hear the same old tired excuses.
    "It's too far for me to travel, but I'll be there with you in spirit."
    "I don't have the time. But I'll be there with you in spirit."
    "I don't have the ability to get there. But I'll be there with you in spirit."
    "I'm too old to protest. But I'll be there with you in spirit."
    "I wish I could go, but I just don't have the money. But I'll be there with you in spirit."

    I could go on with all the excuses I've heard or seen. If no one has the time, ability, transportation to go, who are y'all going to be "with in spirit"? There will be no one there.
    Only ones who get a pass are disabled Veterans or seriously disabled adults.
    You've sat back and want others to fight your battles. You'll take a day off from work because it's a nice day but not to protect your freedom.
    I offered to sacrifice my life, as others have, for your freedom but you can't be bothered with standing up against this tyranny. Can't count on both hands how many times I dropped everything to show at these protests only to be discouraged and disheartened by the low turn out. We see the same faces every time.

    You sit on this site and complain about obama being a dictator but how many of you are planning to go to Operation American Spring planned to start May 16, 2014? I offered many FREE transportation to Washington D.C. to attend but I heard the excuses. "I have to work." "I don't have money for a hotel." (even though everyone will be in tents on the WH lawn)
    How long has the protest over socialism been going on in Ukraine now? Weeks? Months?
    You mean they care more about their freedom than Americans do?
    You expect the ones who sacrifice and go to stay there for you until obama is out.
    I'm so glad they didn't say lets have the 2nd Revolution and forcibly remove obama. No one would show up. Or then only the wacko's would and everyone would just end up arrested.
    Can't have a war to remove a dictator if no one shows up.
    There is more debate on an article about Pelosi than there is on action that will remove our Fourth Amendment.

    No wonder obama hasn't been impeached. That would take effort from Americans.

  4. The modern version of the gestapo. It will get worse unless WE stand up and demand that it is stopped. Time to throw out ALL big government advocates of both parties.

  5. this is a place i never dreamed of calling home…i cant believe what is happening to our country we are now owned by our govt..get ready for such human suffering that its unbearable..i cant own a gun im a 5150 so i guess i will be safe in a fema camp..we need to wake up and not let this get any farther away from us..i have seen those huge armored vehicles..scary they're here we are to late i would guess they are just gonna kill at will i am almost sure…too many signs no opposition we layed down like what now fema or suicide by police..i am in shock when i saw that in my town they are getting ready to do shit other countries usually do..we can stand together look for petitions to sign get ahold of our congressman although they seem helpless.he is doing what he wants no constitution applies to him…

  6. If this is true, this country is in much greater trouble than I had thought on my wildest dreams. Texas? the home of the strongest libertarians and constitutionalists from Ron Paul to Abbot to Cruz, would allow THEIR police force to act in violation of the fourth amendment to the constitution? I am well aware that the federal government FEMA has become involved in training police all over the country, but a police force and its conduct is still the responsibility and under control of the states. Why are states in this country allowing SWAT teams at all, top serve warrants?? Why the gestapo gear?

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