No Knock Raids Extremely Dangerous For Police

SOMERVILLE, TX— Last December, Henry Goedrich Magee was sleeping peacefully with his pregnant girlfriend when authorities entered his home in a “no-knock” raid around 6 a.m. With no warning, or search warrant, police swarmed Magee’s home searching for marijuana and guns. Magee believed the police were thieves and reached for his gun, which he legally owned. He opened fire and shot Sgt. Adam Sowders, who died at the scene.

Follow TLR on Google+

The raid turned up a small number of marijuana plants and seedlings, as well as Magee’s legal guns.

A grand jury decided on Wednesday that the incident could have happened to any homeowner in a similar situation, and declined to indict Magee for capital murder. “He did what a lot of people would have done,” said Magee’s attorney Dick DeGuerin. ‘He defended himself and his girlfriend and his home.’ Magee was indicted for possession of marijuana while in possession of a deadly weapon, which is a third degree felony.

This case breaks new ground in Texas. Magee’s attorney, who has been practicing law for many years, couldn’t recall an incident where a grand jury refused to charge a defendant in the death of an officer.

DeGuerin said sheriff’s deputies did not knock on the door or announce who they were when they entered the home, but Julie Renken, the district attorney for Burleson County, disagrees.

“I believe the evidence…shows that an announcement was made,” Renken said. “However, there is not enough evidence that Mr. Magee knew that day that Peace Officers were entering his home.” The police weren’t wearing body cameras during the raid.

Magee is still in custody for his marijuana possession charge, but will soon be released on bond.

Follow Faith on Twitter

About The Author

109 Responses

  1. picnicfun

    Unfortunate for the officer. A right verdict for the defendant. Why was a no-knock raid necessary? What was the problem coming in late in the morning with a “knock”, presenting a warrant, and proceeding as normal. This tactic was wrong and exposed everyone to needless danger.

    • Carrie Galluzzo-Seat

      To many police agencies today have turned into american terrorist they need to realize what side of the law they should be on (the right side or obamas socialist side )and who pays them..The raid that just happened Anarchy Iowa was a bunch of terrorist busting into a home for nothing.. they have busted into to many wrong homes


      LEO’s are figuring out that not following the constitution has deadly consequences !

    • Chris

      In the first paragraph it states they had no warrant, which makes the whole raid illegal.

      “With no warning, or search warrant, police swarmed Magee’s home searching for marijuana and guns.”

      If the “no warrant” part is correct, his lawyer will probably get him off any of the other charges since the evidence was seized illegally.

      • Worship Dancer

        makes me wonder then why his attorney did NOT get him off on the marijuana charges

      • lraivala

        That will be coming, the DA has the option at this time to dismiss or proceed. And you can bet they will try and proceed to save face but, they will not prevail. Warrant is always needed and these bust in the door raids are stupid. If they are doing something illegal then get a warrant and proceed like you normally would proceed with that warrant.

    • Iceberg86300

      Why? Because they probably couldn’t get a warrant. Illegal guns along with some pot, they either thought they would get away with it, or worse killed the guy and anything could be said.

      Really feel bad for the officers family, not so much for whomever gave the order. A no knock is usually a spur of the moment we need to go in now because lives can be lost if we don’t kind of thing.

      Hopefully a FAIR (unbiased either way) and thorough investigation into what lead up to this situation will reveal answers. I know if I was a cop in that department I’d be too sick everytime actions like this were to be taken unless I’m the one with the facts that put it in motion. Because you said it, it creates undue risk for the officers. A no knock warrant is a totally different animal though, where a surprise raid lessens the risk to officers.

      • Iceberg86300

        Yes they were, but the police entered under the pretense that illegal firearms and drugs were in the house. Sorry if I caused confusion.

        Correction, I assumed the pretense of illegal firearms, article just references firearms. Not a big jump though, why go looking for legal firearms?

      • Ohmyheaven

        May I say the disgruntled reporter that called in the complaint originally should be charged?
        Filling false reports is a crime and if they do not have to answer to calling in a false report we will continue to see this kind of thing happen. Again & again & again…..

      • Pelagian

        If this is the same case I think it is, the officer who was killed was the officer who ordered it. Karma.

    • CMJO

      The Hunger Games! It’s happening! haha. Actually, the writer does try to allude to what could happen to America if we don’t change, as well as pulling things and making parallels with Ancient Rome. It’s extremely fascinating when you go into it looking at those things. Her goal was to hopefully wake some of the younger generation up.

  2. Kevin Genteman

    Good! Jury Nullification. You have every right to vote not guilty even if there was a clear crime committed if that law violates natural law or even your conscience.

    There was no warrant or even a reason for them to bust down his door. This is a violation of his rights and the police officer was compliant in the violation. It sucks to be the one just taking orders. But the police need to be demilitarized.

    • obadiahlynch

      That’s not jury nullification. That would be if he’d committed a crime; the evidence did not support such a verdict.

    • Phydeux

      You need to learn what jury nullification is. Its not just a catchphrase.

      This case won’t even reach the jury in all likelihood. The plants will be determined to be fruit of the poison tree and thrown out.

    • slamradio

      ‘grand’ jury nullification, close enough, glad they got it right

  3. d3z

    Again, we are talking about a very non lethal drug that was gone way overboard on taking him down. Illegal in TX yes he did break the law but we are talking weed here no a meth lab.

  4. Kerry Schultz

    The sad part of all of this is the fact that in Texas he will get Life in Prison for the Marijuana and being in Possession of a gun that he was legally allowed to have,

    • GriffonClaw

      illegal search and seizure. Should be totally tossed, since they could not enter without breaking the law, anything found during their illegal raid should be thrown out.

  5. Mister E

    Nice to see justice being served in part. The problem is, since they couldn’t get him on the death of the “peace officer” (LOL), they’ll get him on charges that should’ve been thrown out immediately, since they had no warrant to enter the home. Hence, any evidence they obtained illegally obtained and therefore inadmissible.

    Yet, this is the “just us” system.

  6. Jeffrey Olah

    he shouldn’t be charged for the marijuana since it was illegally obtained by the officers

    • Phydeux

      He can be charged for whatever the DA will allow. But it won’t hold water in court.

      • Frank Castle

        Then the DA needs to be removed too, for ACTING ILLEGALLY

      • Non of your business

        In the state of Washington charging him would fall under Malicious Prosecution, and would be a felony in this case since they are charging him with a felony, I don’t know about Texas, but there’s probably civil penalties for it there at least.

      • Worship Dancer

        apparently it WAS allowed in court because he’s still in custody.

      • lraivala

        Like he said. the DA can proceed with any charge he wants but making it stick is a far bigger issue. Just wait and see he will be let off.

      • Phydeux

        You need to learn about court procedure. He’s been arraigned and indicted only. They have yet to go through the discovery phase where evidence is produced and ruled upon. And until the judge makes a ruling on the evidence and whether all the remaining evidence is enough to proceed to trial with, he remains under indictment.

        Should the judge rule that the evidence their case is based upon was discovered illegally, THEN and only then does the indictment go away.

      • Worship Dancer

        “Magee is still in custody for his marijuana possession charge, but will soon be released on bond.” but he is STILL IN JAIL. the longer he is in jail the less likely he will keep his job – assuming of course he has one.

      • Phydeux

        What’s that got to do with anything? Your employment status is of little concern to the police when they arrest you, justifiably or not.

  7. John Ash

    Marijuana kills another person! Proof positive that we must keep on kicking down doors of these illegal bastards wherever they might be and bring them to the justice they so deserve for causing all this death and destruction.

  8. sbozich

    How can you be charged based on evidence collected without a warrant?

    • Libertarian

      Don’t ask me but I know that this is fact. They can raid you house and have no reason to raid it but if they uncover illegal activity they can still charge you for it. It’s more than a bit bogus if you ask me and this law is in affect in the whole nation.

      • Devin G

        The evidence isn’t admissible. Mapp v. Ohio (1961) selectively incorporates the Fourth Amendment and disallows States from prosecuting citizens with evidence obtained without a search warrant being granted. So what’s going on is unconstitutional, but the defendant would have to appeal to a higher court to throw out the case due to it being unconstitutional.

      • lraivala

        The case will be thrown out, just wait. The DA is just dragging his feet to try and save face for the police departments stupidity.

      • Libertarian

        I’m not trying to argue that this behavior is constitutional, only that this does happen. Most people are like “screwem they are criminals” so it’s been getting worse.

        Prisons should never be for profit. It promotes a heavy hand.

      • Worship Dancer

        and it violates the 4th amendment of the US Constitution.

      • Jim Burgess

        But the Patriot Act allows this type of behavior from police forces… wake up, the Constitution has been under attack ever since 9/11

    • Worship Dancer

      no clue – sounds like a violation of the 4th Amendment – illegal search and seizure – to me.

  9. Mark7Seven

    I don’t think charges should be filed against the guy for the possession of either the gun or the agriculture. Both were “discovered” during a warrant-less entry into a private home. IF there were a warrant for these items in hand, then I’d be fine with is, but there was none. Sounds like they just want to trump up unconstitutional charges because the LEO died. Sad all around, but when you don’t follow the rules, sad things sometimes happen.

    • Patrick Kilroy

      And it’s a great point. Because they weren’t offered entrance into his house, they violated his Constitutional rights. Even if you claim “plain sight” as will be the case, the lack of a warrant means that everything was seized illegally, and the charges have no basis. His attorney looks competent and will probably get it all dismissed with prejudice.

      • Phydeux

        The bar for dismissal with prejudice is set pretty high, especially in Texas where they tend to favor the lawmen.

      • Patrick Kilroy

        There is no conceivable way to have an of this admitted into evidence when a Constitutional issue is brought up. No judge will allow it to stand if they are competent.

    • Phydeux

      Its not, unless there are exigent circumstances like the expectation someone is going to come to immediate harm unless they enter the premises.

  10. Greg Tekautz

    It is so sad that those in law enforcement do not know and understand
    that the oath they took to be a cop has meaning, especially to those who
    the Constitution belongs too, WE, THE PEOPLE. Instead, they mindlessly
    obey orders given to them by their superiors that go contrary to that
    oath, and either murder, and get away with it under the guise of “doing
    their job”, or get themselves killed.

    • RazzleBedazzle

      around here, you can’t be a cop if you score too high on the aptitude (IQ) test, they don’t want anybody ‘accidentally thinking’ for themselves…totally screwed up

  11. EverTheGreen

    A no-knock for pot makes no sense. Tells you just how much fascism Texas residents are willing to put up with.

    • Dave

      Texans weren’t willing to put up with fascism at all, he shot the fascist and Texans vindicated him.

  12. Kyle Mohr

    “Peace officer” has always confused me as a title. What part of this was peaceful, or even about keeping the peace? He was not firing his gun wildly into the street, nor was he chasing people down and forcing marijuana into their lungs. He was minding his own business and not harming anyone. These were not peace officers.

    • Gregg Braddoch

      LOL, more irony: These “Peace Officers” were raiding the house to take plants that make people peaceful away because they are ‘illegal’.

  13. Downeasta3111

    Sounds like the DA is just trying to make some sort of charge stick. Without the valid warrant I’m not sure the 3rd degree felony charges will hold up.

  14. tc464

    If I was Mr. Magee I would do my sentence and then get the hell out of that town. You know the “peace officers” will be looking to protect and serve the crap out of him.

  15. Carrie Galluzzo-Seat

    why is he being charged for the pot when the police ILLEGALLY entered his home??????

    • Phydeux

      That’s why they were conducting the raid. There must have been intelligence telling them the drugs would be there. The fact that he was justified in protecting his family from unknown invaders is secondary to that. Had the cops identified themselves, the whole thing would be different and the charges would still be there.

      On second reading though, the drugs will probably be argued out of evidence because the cops didn’t have a warrant and no exigent circumstances that would permit them to enter unannounced.

      • bones327

        that is correct, sir. no warrant, no exigent circumstances, no entry. no illegal entry, no illegal discovery of contraband. there is still a 4th Amend to the US Const. Mapp v. Ohio, Wong Sun v. Arizona.

      • Frank Castle

        “intelligence”??? You mean a doper street rat?? How about cops doing THEIR OWN WORK.. you know STAKE OUTS.. and VERIFYING??

      • Phydeux

        Who says they didn’t? Were you there to know what their means of intelligence gathering was?

  16. Dave

    They are NOT ‘peace’ officers! You CANNOT equate peace with forcibly entering a mans home, guns drawn, violating our constitution by not having a warrant over a plant!

  17. Angela Cavanaugh

    the right decision was made they entered the home illegally and paid the ultimate price for it….now the person that needs to be indicted it the officer in charge at the time of the raid

  18. imarriedanaxemurderer

    So marijuana isn’t prosecuted, eh Bill O’Reilly? He needs to get his head out of the sand…this is why I stopped taping him and now TiVo Megan.

  19. RavviOli

    I wonder if the LEO’s get the picture. No knock and you could be gone.

  20. Mohamiss Shafique - Kaddir

    Knock , Knock .
    Who’s there ?
    LEO who ?
    BANG !

  21. Kim

    I guess you are not allowed to post a link to other news sources here. Interesting… However, “The grand jury did indict Magee for possession of marijuana while in possession of a deadly weapon, a third-degree felony.” So he is being charge with having a legal weapon and plants in his home.

  22. devius1

    hhhhhmmm sounds like gestapo tactics to me, last i checked u cant forcefully enter a persons house with out a valid warrant or direct evidence of a crime in progress. One more example of our becoming a police state, your constitutional rights mean crap when compared to the convenience of officers making a case.

  23. Brodie Costigan


  24. Subtle_Hustle

    The most amazing part of this story is that this man is still alive.

  25. Jake Hobart

    Sucks but thats what should happen when police break into people homes unannounced. Especially over some pot plants. Its not like this guy was a serial killer or bomb maker.

  26. John Smith

    An important lesson that LEOs should apply a little common sense when conducting these types of operations…whether they are legally required to or not. Even someone who isn’t a criminal is going to shoot first and ask questions later when someone is kicking their door down in the middle of the night without announcing they are police.

    • W Richard Lobell

      even if they announce, is it credible? criminals can also SAY they are police.

      • John Smith

        True, but at least police are making an attempt to not immediately escalate the situation into using lethal force. Give them the opportunity to surrender and open the door peacefully. Going in guns blazing is a end game that no one wants.

  27. Amy Kernan

    It says they didn’t have a search warrant, which means he can’t be charged for the marijuana….it was an illegal search.

  28. Frank Castle

    NO KNOCK raid for a few POT PLANTS??? THERE is the PROBLEM!!

  29. Richard StJohn

    There was no need to enter the mans home in that fashion. They were searching for weed and possibly guns. But he was a legal gun owner. Good stuff cops. He did what any reasonable person would do when his door is kicked in. The fault of this is on the idiot cop who requested the no knock warrant and the idiot judge who granted it.

  30. Rod Roberts

    Finally the damned cops did not get away with kicking in a homeowers door. Now maybe they know whats its like to be killed in a BS raid.

  31. mark

    Come into my house unannounced and you get the same results.The law has boundaries,and LEO’s should adhere to them

  32. JHM

    He shouldn’t be indicted for anything and hopefully the jury (if it gets that far) will recognize that this was an illegal action by the police.

    I have friends who are LEOs and it pains me to say this, but the dead LEO got exactly what he deserved. When you usurp the constitution, you reap what you sow. Too bad the current administration has received a wake up call….

  33. mikesbuffalo

    the police need to stop all this nazi style bs they are doing, go back to doing your true jobs , protect and serve , and not abuse

  34. Steve

    I hope the cops get it right when serving no knock warrants. Is this a misprint that they had no warrant. How can they even hold him on marijuana charge since it was obtained illegally?

    • Wayne Neva

      my understanding is that a judge issued this type of warrant. bad decisions to allow these type of warrants.

      • Wayne Neva

        I was also reading other articles and they also said that the LEOs were “executing a ‘no knock’ warrant”. Gave me the impression they already had a judges permission to go in (surprised me that this article said they did not have a warrant). And Yes, I did read the article. Apparently not as well as you.

  35. W Dawes

    No knock warrants violate the U.S. Constitution. Private property is a fundamental right that must be respected. That is why warrants are necessary. Police are civilian law enforcers. You can’t just burst into a house w/o a warrant, unannounced, as that is a declaration of a “personal” war on private property.

  36. B. S. D. Cult

    I hate to be a cop that died for some fucking weed. But that’s what’s happened here because as usual cops are on the wrong side of the issue and used like puppets so others can profit. And a ‘no knock’ warrant that is about as stupid of an idea if there ever was one. You’d think their own union would be against such fucking stupidity. I wanna feel bad that some one died but I can’t it’s just so fucking stupid and from what it sounds like you did all that for a guy that was growing his own personal shit. If that guy gets off he better leave the state immediately. He will not get the George Zimmerman treatment.

  37. OneNation245

    No warrant and no knock – why is he charged for any crime if there is no warrant? I am against drugs but I do believe the constitution prevents law enforcement officer’s from illegal search and seizures without a warrant.

  38. Vandergrift01

    Good. Police officers knock and request entry after presenting a warrant. The gestapo doesnt. Finally, cops getting treated like citizens too instead of above the law douches… And all of this over some POT PLANTS THAT HURT NO ONE. end the war on drugs. Save cops, kids and a ton of minorities. Win win win.

  39. Markenheimer

    Look at the equipment they have accumulated. In many areas, the police have become the standing army that the founders warned us against. Many of them have become drunk with their own power. This was all done under the banner of the WAR on drugs. Put a stop to this before it’s too late.

  40. Mario Lawrence

    Magee is lucky he didn’t get killed. Shame about the cop, but what do you expect if you break into an armed man’s home?
    He’s also lucky he had a jury that didn’t blindlessly side with the police.

    This whole situation was stupid.

  41. LHTwist

    Police need to be able to perform their duties, but they should learn to
    be civil until the situation warrants otherwise. There’s no reason why
    every arrest should follow a no-knock raid. The people on the other side
    of the door are innocent until proven guilty, treat them like the
    people who’re paying police salaries. Try knocking on the front door
    first, with warrant in hand, during normal daylight hours.

  42. Brad Kirby

    To sum it up, an officer lost his life over pot. Yep, that war on drugs is a great idea. You can’t feel too sorry for the officer, he did willingly participate in the raid. I can’t imagine that officer knew there wasn’t a warrant. It is getting stupid the lengths departments go through to ruin the lives of people using pot. If I were a cop and my department was raiding people for pot, I would ask to be able to sit out those raids and if they wouldn’t let me, I would find another job.

    This is just another example of departments trying to justify their existence and make profit off of ‘protecting’ the public.

  43. Jim Tocci

    Let’s be honest, if his girlfriend hadn’t been a factor, the sympathetic vote could have gone either way.

  44. sehrgut

    Live by the sword, die by the sword. I have no sympathy for the cop; and in all likelihood, his family supported his gang lifestyle, so I have no sympathy for them either.

  45. Gregory Bell

    They teach cops “the us against them mentality”. Protect and Serve, HA! Protect their own and serve themselves. Then cops wonder why their job is so tough. It’s getting to the point that the phrase “officer down” is cause for celebration. Cops are as bad as doctors. They both think they are God.

  46. Mardorang

    Why are we risking the lives of both officers and citizens on something as bullshit as smoking weed? We need to stop being so vindictive about people doing things that we don’t like even though it otherwise doesn’t affect us.

  47. Guy Brohski

    I’m glad Mr. Magee got away with murdering that home invader. Makes me feel like there still is a little justice in the world..

  48. USMC69

    If they had no warrant, why were they breaking and entering? And, wouldn’t that negate the use of any evidence they found?