Summary: Louisville, Kentucky was the first jurisdiction to enact “Breonna’s Law,” banning no-knock search warrants, in the wake of the fatal shooting of Breonna Taylor in March 2020. Virginia enacted a similar law in October 2020.
Based on “Breonna’s Law,” Virginia HB 5099 (2020), which made Virginia the third state (after Oregon and Florida) to prohibit no-knock search warrants.
Note: In an effort to emphasize toughness on crime and drugs, the Nixon Administration encouraged the use of no-knock search warrants, and the Reagan Administration greatly increased their use. Data shows that, while such warrants were employed only about 1,500 times annually in the early 1980s, there are now about 60-70,000 such raids per year, mostly looking for marijuana. This is a dangerous policy, especially when so many civilians own guns and “stand your ground” laws encourage their use.
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE
This Act shall be called the “No-Knock Search Warrant Prohibition Act” or “Breonna’s Law.”
SECTION 2. PURPOSE
This law is enacted to protect residents from an unnecessarily dangerous type of police raid.
SECTION 3. PROHIBIT NO-KNOCK WARRANTS
After section XXX, the following new section XXX shall be inserted:
1) No law-enforcement officer shall seek, execute, or participate in the execution of a no-knock search warrant. A search warrant authorized under this section shall require that a law-enforcement officer be recognizable and identifiable as a uniformed law-enforcement officer and provide audible notice of his authority and purpose reasonably expected to be heard by occupants of such place to be searched prior to the execution of such search warrant.
2) After entering and securing the place to be searched and prior to undertaking any search or seizure pursuant to the search warrant, the executing law-enforcement officer shall read and give a copy of the search warrant to the person to be searched or the owner of the place to be searched or, if the owner is not present, to any occupant of the place to be searched. If the place to be searched is unoccupied, the executing law-enforcement officer shall leave a copy of the search warrant suitably affixed to the place to be searched.
3) Search warrants authorized under this section shall be executed only in the daytime unless:
a) a judge or magistrate, if a judge is not available, authorizes the execution of such search warrant at another time for good cause shown, or
b) the search warrant is for the withdrawal of blood. A search warrant for the withdrawal of blood may be executed at any time of day.
4) A law-enforcement officer shall make reasonable efforts to locate a judge before seeking authorization to execute the warrant at another time. Such reasonable efforts shall be documented in an affidavit and submitted to a magistrate when seeking such authorization.
5) Any evidence obtained from a search warrant in violation of this subsection shall not be admitted into evidence for the state in any prosecution.
SECTION 4. EFFECTIVE DATE
This law shall become effective on July 1, 202X.