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Supreme Court plans new debate on police searches

The Associated Press

WASHINGTON- The Supreme Court said Wednesday it will schedule a special argument session so the newest justice can join in deciding a police search case.

Justices Samuel Alito's vote apparently is needed to break a tie in the case, which asks whether evidence can be used from the search of a Detroit man's house because police did not bother knocking before they broke down his door.

The case was argued the first time at the court on Jan. 9 _ three weeks before Justice Sandra Day O'Connor retired and was replaced by Alito.

O'Connor seemed ready to rule against police. "Is there no policy protecting the home owner a little bit?" she asked during the argument.

The state of Michigan, which is backed by the Bush administration, argued that even though officers made a mistake by rushing into Booker Hudson's home, the blunder was not related to the finding of the drugs and should not require a judge to bar the evidence.

Justices have had to reschedule two other cases that were argued when O'Connor was on the court but not resolved before her departure. Those involve a Kansas death penalty law and government whistleblowers.

The Detroit case will be reargued in the next month, with a decision before July.

The case is Hudson v. Michigan, 04-1360.

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