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Wolf at the Door: Issues of Place and Race in the Use of the 'Knock and Talk' Policing Technique

36 Pages Posted: 19 Sep 2011  

Andrew Eppich

Boston College - Law School

Date Written: September 18, 2011

Abstract

The procedure known as 'knock and talk‛ allows police to approach a dwelling, knock on the door, and ask questions of the inhabitant inside, with the ultimate goal of entry into the dwelling. This is a popular policing technique because neither probable cause nor a warrant is required. This Note will analyze the effect of knock and talk on conceptions of privacy and space of low income and minority individuals to which this technique is often targeted. It will argue that the curtilage doctrine, which protects the area surrounding the home, does not assist these individuals. In addition, this Note will demonstrate that knock and talk is abused in two ways: through searches based on improperly obtained consent and through searches based on police created exigent circumstances. Finally, this Note will argue that the use of knock and talk has the potential to harm the very population that it is supposedly being used to protect and will undermine efforts at community policing.

Suggested Citation

Eppich, Andrew, Wolf at the Door: Issues of Place and Race in the Use of the 'Knock and Talk' Policing Technique (September 18, 2011). Boston College Third World Law Journal, Vol. 32, No. 1, 2012. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1929836

Andrew Eppich (Contact Author)

Boston College - Law School ( email )

885 Centre Street
Newton, MA 02459-1163
United States

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