Miller v. United States,
357 U.S. 301 (1958)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Miller v. United States, 357 U.S. 301 (1958)

Miller v. United States

No. 126

Argued January 28, 1958

Decided June 23, 1958

357 U.S. 301


In the District of Columbia, officers without a warrant knocked on the door of petitioner's apartment and, upon his inquiry, "Who's there?" replied in a low voice, "Police." Petitioner opened the door, but quickly tried to close it, whereupon the officers broke the door, entered, arrested petitioner and seized marked bills which were later admitted as evidence over petitioner's objection at a trial in which he was convicted of violations of the narcotics laws.

Held: petitioner could not lawfully be arrested in his home by officers breaking in without first giving him notice of their authority and purpose, the arrest was unlawful, the evidence seized was inadmissible, and the conviction is reversed. Pp. 357 U. S. 302-314.

(a) The validity of an arrest without a warrant for violation of federal law by local peace officers is to be determined by reference to local law. Pp. 357 U. S. 305-306.

(b) Under District of Columbia law, peace officers, otherwise authorized to break the door of a home to make an arrest, may do so only if denied admittance after notice of their authority and purpose. Pp. 357 U. S. 306-310.

(c) Since no express announcement was made, and since the evidence in this case was not sufficient to prove that petitioner knew the purpose of the arresting officers, the arrest was unlawful. Pp. 357 U. S. 310-313.

100 U.S.App.D.C. 302, 244 F. 2d 750, reversed.

Page 357 U. S. 302

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