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By Jonathan Turley

When Did Police Become This

When Did Police Become This

Jonathan Turley

Jonathan Turley

Texas - -( We have previously discussed our concerns over the seemingly exponential increase in “no knock” raids in the country where police give no warning before raiding a home. (here and here and here and here and here and here)

Now in a remarkable ruling, a Texas grand jury has refused to indict Goedrich Magee, 20, who shot and killed a law enforcement officer, Burleson County Sgt. Adam Sowders, 31, during a no knock entrance into his home. Magee said that he thought he was being robbed and acted to protect his pregnant girlfriend and children. The grand jury “no billed” the case in February.

We have seen other such mistaken self-defense cases arise around the country as police increasingly use these no knock warrants. Magistrate and judges appear to give little thought to approving such warrants despite a ruling earlier by the Supreme Court limiting their use.

Police now routinely ask and receive warrants that waive the constitutional requirement to “knock and announcement.” Not only is this requirement codified in the U.S. Code, but it is viewed as a factor in determining if a search or seizure is reasonable under the fourth amendment. In 1995, the United States Supreme Court ruled in Wilson v. Arkansas that the requirement was indeed part of the constitutional test and in Richards v. Wisconsin the Court later rejected categorical waivers for “knock and announcement” for cases like drug investigations. Police must show on a case-by-case basis that they have reasonable suspicion of exigent circumstances.

In this case, the police were after alleged marijuana plants that an informant said he was growing. The warrant then added a claim of possible “illegal guns.” The police found the marijuana but all of his guns were legal. A major complaint is that police routinely add language about the possibility of unlawful weapons to secure these “no knocks.”

The prosecutors tried to secure an indictment for capital murder charges and had bail set at $1 million.

Once again, there has been little attention to the increasing no knock warrants that have grown in tandem with the militarization of our police forces. The result is not just a chilling effect for citizens but increasing mistaken shootings.

In this case, an officer is dead and the prosecutors wanted to send away a father for life — for a raid to secure a few marijuana plants.

About Jonathan Turley

Professor Jonathan Turley is a nationally recognized legal scholar who has written extensively in areas ranging from constitutional law to legal theory to tort law. He has written over three dozen academic articles that have appeared in a variety of leading law journals at Cornell, Duke, Georgetown, Harvard, Northwestern, and other schools. Visit:

  • 19 User comments to “Texas Jury Refuses To Indict Man Who Shot and Killed Officer During ‘No Knock’ Raid”

    1. When LE petitions a court for a “marginal” warrant,and adds possible ‘illegal guns’ to the application,…what judge wont sign off on it ?

    2. roger griggs on July 17, 2014 at 4:34 AM said:

      Its about damn time the people sent a clear message to le about their increasingly criminal actions !

    3. Donnie on July 17, 2014 at 8:08 AM said:

      @ Griggs, I concur !!! They are out of hand forgetting OUR constitutional Rights ! Moreover, a man lays dead because someone lied about the guns to get the warrant. They used to “serve and protect”.

    4. RE Hafner on July 17, 2014 at 8:54 AM said:

      Good, about time these badge carrying clowns were controlled, if not by the politicians, then by the people. We the people are in control not armed idiots with badges and feces slinging monkeys in black robes.

    5. Gregory Lesniewski on July 17, 2014 at 9:12 AM said:

      CONGRATULATIONS! FINALLY! Someone got it right! You come busting in my door w/o a warrant, you are going to get shot! PURE & SIMPLE! The judges have to wake-up also! “Possible illegal guns”??? What the hell is that? A Blanket description? That is BULLSHIT!

    6. Don Rich on July 17, 2014 at 9:15 AM said:

      I keep 4 12 ga shotguns loaded with armor piercing slugs around the house. If someone breaks in they will be shot.

    7. How are guns “illegal firearms”? Don’t we have the right to own guns??? my understanding is that if you are not a convicted felon you can own a gun.

    8. Now, they should bring to the grand jury the police official and judge that granted an illegal search for pot plants and no evidence of illegal guns.

    9. anonymous on July 17, 2014 at 10:45 AM said:

      The officer who was killed is the one that put the raid together.

    10. askeptic on July 17, 2014 at 11:15 AM said:

      In TX it’s almost impossible to have an ‘illegal’ gun as long as it is outside of NFA-34.
      Any judge who doesn’t take the view that all Texans are armed is a fool, and shouldn’t be on the bench.

    11. Apparently a clear-cut case of “Abuse of official powers under the color of law”, and “conspiracy to violate civil rights” on the part of the “police official”, the prosecutor, and the judge, to say nothing of malignant malfeasance.

      These are BLATANT violations of our Constitutional Rights, and the Grand Jury nailed it.

    12. The Rifleman on July 18, 2014 at 6:20 AM said:

      This is yet another perfect example of the “Abuse of official powers under the color of law!” I see and hear about more and more of these type of violations of our constitutional rights, and conspiracies to violate civil rights. Many times these sort of actions are implemented for nothing more than political exposure so that prosecutors, judges, and law enforcement officials can get their names and faces in the news to be portrayed as some sort of “hero” in the public eye! I see this even more during times for “reelection of office.”

      Indeed, it is long past time for these power mongers to have to face a jury and be exposed for their gross abuse of power and crimes against humanity!

    13. Pat Henry on July 18, 2014 at 11:42 AM said:

      Personally, I like performing no knock raids on cops’ homes.

      Especially at 2 a.m.

      Especially the cops working graveyards.

      Especailly the cops with wives and children.

    14. […] Texas Jury Refuses To Indict Man Who Shot and Killed Officer During 'No Knock' Raid Good for them! Texas – -( We have previously discussed our concerns over the […]

    15. Maybe a search warrant with grab him before he enters would have been a sensible approach. Stop using military shock and awe tactics. Intellect is much more powerful than bully tactics.

    16. SteveInSD on July 19, 2014 at 4:34 AM said:

      The judges that rubber stamp these no knock warrants need to be slapped up side the head. Part of their job is protecting the rights of citizens, at least last time I looked.

    17. Cops are not soldiers no matter what they wear. When I was in the army, we thought they were a joke and could not figure which were the biggest clowns, them or the national guard. You go busting into someone’s house without identifying yourself they have a right to shoot you. Works that way in the army, too. It is called war.

    18. VT Patriot on July 21, 2014 at 8:25 PM said:

      “No knock and break down the door. Identify yourself as police” Try it here and you’ll get shot too. I’ve never heard of a gad guy breaking down the door and yelling “burglar, drop your weaapons”. If I was a burglar or worse, I’d be yelling “police” too.

    19. No knock entry (bust door down) Shots fired at (INTRUDERS) good !!!!!!!!!!!

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