New California Appellate Court Ruling Could Have Deadly Consequences

A San Francisco Appellate Court recently ruled that parole agents do not have to comply with the knock-notice rule under Penal Code section 1531 when making routine parole-compliance checks. They are now permitted to barge into a parolee’s residence without first knocking and announcing their presence. This shocking new decision runs counter to previous court rulings that held that parole agents must comply with the knock-notice law for parole and even probation searches. Unfortunately, this new ruling could have deadly consequences.

On March 13, 2020, while executing a “no-knock” search warrant at night in Louisville, Kentucky, police fatally shot Breonna Taylor. Police fired their guns into Taylor’s apartment after her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, fired a warning shot at who he thought were intruders after the police forced their way into Taylor’s apartment. A gunfight resulted in a hail of thirty-two bullets fired by police, six of which struck and killed Taylor. 

Failure to comply with knock-notice laws and executing “no-knock’ warrants are extremely dangerous situations for both occupants and law enforcement. There have been a number of other cases besides the Taylor case that have ended in deadly outcomes. 

This new shocking Appellate Court ruling in the Turner v. Smith case now authorizes parole agents in California to treat a routine parole-compliance check as if it was a “no knock” warrant. Turner’s San Francisco attorney, Julien Swanson, says, “If this ruling is not overturned by our Supreme Court, then it will only be a matter of time when a routine parole-compliance check results in a deadly gunfight. This is a terrible decision.”

Contact Information:  Julien Swanson, Esq. (415) 282-4511


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Talk about a disaster waiting to happen when they go to the wrong house because government officials aren’t the sharpest tool in the shed, but they all believe they are rock stars.

To be fair, the scenario involving a parole agent is totally different than the Breonna Taylor case. It’s safe to assume the vast majority of people on parole have a felony, where they can’t own a firearm. Any felon with a brain is not going to sleep with a handgun at night, knowing he could catch another felony charge which would send him away for years. However, Breonna Taylor’s boyfriend was a law abiding citizen with a concealed carry permit. If I remember correctly, he was initially charged with attempted murder, but a judge quickly dismissed those charges. Then the boyfriend went on to win a $2 million dollar settlement from the city of Louisville. Fat chance this would happen if a parolee fires at his agent. It’s straight to the slammer for him. In fact, some states allow agents to carry guns, so a parolee could meet his fate with a slug through his heart by his own agent. So the writer of this article should be careful when making comparisons.

I am recalling the case of Judge Persky in Santa Clara County, CA., who was recalled as a result of his sentencing of Brock Turner in a sexual assault case. Turner was sentenced to 6 months custody and 3 yrs probation. The “cancel culture” believed this sentence was too lenient, and “an outrage”. This resulted in a recall petition of Judge Persky. In just two days, 55,000 people had signed the petition.

My point being that this ruling regarding ‘no-knock entries’, is deserving of a similar reaction, and a similar ‘recall petition’. Common sense dictates that this is a very, very bad idea. This issue was already ruled upon by the U.S. Supreme Court, who had ruled that no-knock entries are only warranted under unusual conditions. see: Richards v. Wisconsin, 520 U.S. 385 (1997)

They are now permitted to barge into a parolee’s residence without first knocking and announcing their presence.

Let’s be clear here – they are not just ‘barging in’. They are breaking down the door and forcefully entering the residence in a no-knock warrant.

Can’t imagine the devastation that will follow this ruling as P&P agents start breaking down the doors of those they supervise to do compliance checks. Aside from the inherent danger to everyone involved, how many times is someone on P&P expected to replace their front door after their agent breaks it down?

My guess is that this will start to become commonly used as registration compliance checks are done for those on P&P.

Wait a minute – does this “no-knock” rule apply ONLY for parole officers of the state or does that also apply with federal probation officers as well?

So the saying goes…If a lion realizes its own strength, no man can control it. Until ACSOL.

Well, I see a lawsuit on the way, or at least should be if cops need a warrant and have to knock before entire a premises and so should a parole agent unless he or she is looking to get shot. I live Michigan, but actually my P.O. never came toy house ever, they didn’t even check to see if it was suitable to move into and at the time I lived in the trailer park. I also barely ever seen him when I went to see my parole officer, I think in the 2 years I seen my PO maybe 5 or 6 times, I usually seen a different PO. Good luck you all.