Skip to comments.High court sides with police in warrantless search case from Kentucky
Posted on 05/16/2011 10:01:20 PM PDT by Fitzy_888
WASHINGTON The Supreme Court on Monday ruled against a Kentucky man who was arrested after police burst into his apartment without a search warrant because they smelled marijuana and feared he was trying to get rid of incriminating evidence.
Voting 8-1, the justices reversed a Kentucky Supreme Court ruling that threw out the evidence gathered when officers entered Hollis King's apartment.
The court said there was no violation of King's constitutional rights because the police acted reasonably. Only Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dissented.
Officers knocked on King's door in Lexington and thought they heard noises that indicated whoever was inside was trying to get rid of incriminating evidence.
Justice Samuel Alito said in his opinion for the court that people have no obligation to respond to the knock or, if they do open the door, allow the police to come in. In those cases, officers who wanted to gain entry would have to persuade a judge to issue a search warrant.
But Alito said, "Occupants who choose not to stand on their constitutional rights but instead elect to attempt to destroy evidence have only themselves to blame."
In her dissent, Ginsburg said her colleagues were giving police an easy way to routinely avoid getting warrants in drug cases.
"Police officers may now knock, listen, then break the door down, never mind that they had ample time to obtain a warrant," she said.
The case concerned exceptions to the Fourth Amendment requirement that police need a warrant to enter a home.
The issue was whether warrantless entry was justified after the officers' knock on the door triggered a reaction inside that sounded like the destruction of evidence.
An odd set of facts led to Monday's ruling.
Police were only at King's apartment building because they were chasing a man who sold cocaine to a police informant. The man entered King's building and ducked into an apartment. The officers heard a door slam in a hallway, but by the time they were able to look down it, they saw only two closed doors.
They didn't know which one the suspect had gone through, but, smelling burnt pot, chose the apartment on the left.
In fact, the suspect had gone into the apartment on the right. Police eventually arrested him, too, but prosecutors later dropped charges against him for reasons that were not explained in court papers.
Combine this story with the following and we can write off the Fourth Amendment in just a weeks time:
Court: No right to resist illegal cop entry into home By Dan Carden | Friday, May 13, 2011 INDIANAPOLIS | Overturning a common law dating back to the English Magna Carta of 1215, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled Thursday that Hoosiers have no right to resist unlawful police entry into their homes.
In a 3-2 decision, Justice Steven David writing for the court said if a police officer wants to enter a home for any reason or no reason at all, a homeowner cannot do anything to block the officer's entry.
"We believe ... a right to resist an unlawful police entry into a home is against public policy and is incompatible with modern Fourth Amendment jurisprudence," David said. "We also find that allowing resistance unnecessarily escalates the level of violence and therefore the risk of injuries to all parties involved without preventing the arrest."
David said a person arrested following an unlawful entry by police still can be released on bail and has plenty of opportunities to protest the illegal entry through the court system.
I just looked out my window. No flying pigs.
But I am in agreement with Ginsburg. For the first time in my life.
Anyone who thinks SCOTUS is on our side, needs a wake up call
Cops can now just lie and say they believed they heard sounds that may have been evidence being destroyed or gotten rid of.
There’s the free ticket to do whatever the hell they want.
Anyone can yell police too. Lots of home invaders have done that impersonating while busting into a house.
Cops have been murdering people for years and simply lying about it to justify the shoot, “I thought he wad reaching for a weapon”, has been the get out of jail phrase for many years now.
The Gestapo would be very proud of modern US police officers...
The issue turns upon whom the court sees as holding unalienable rights ... and it certainly isn’t the home owner in their minds. Relate this to the subPreme court ruling in which private property can be taken by a municipality and sold to another private party so that more taxes can be collected from the new owner/owner’s enterprise. The We The People Republic is dead. The sooner we the people face that, the sooner we will begin to understand the tide of changed perspective upon ‘inalienable rights’.
Follows a judgement by Wisconsin that the police can come into anyone’s home without a warrant. Things are getting out of hand here folks...
Constitutional rights? Huh? What the heck is he talking about?
In this same decision, even in the same sentence(!) it's not hard to see support for the breaking down of doors by police to gain entry. So much for the Constitution. He just be-shat it.
Is the need to arrest someone for drug possession more important than the constitutional protections written to limit the powers of government?
Sam Alito says "yes".
Some think this man a conservative hero. To me it's plain that he can't get past his distaste for drug use, so is judging towards desired result. If he cannot differentiate between clear constitutional boundaries, and what powers he wishes government authorities to have, and which results he would personally like to see -- then I say -- he's a lousy judge, and a lousy American.
Why oh why does the need to arrest someone for drug use override the U.S. Constitution?
What an imbecilic excuse! I mean, if it's a drug user, and if it's really a problem with them, then there would be ample opportunity to catch them later.
Even when they are caught, unless someone is on probation, etc., what would the punishment be? A small fine in many locals, for simple possession of marijuana. Drug treatment programs, or the like. One can go to jail for it, but how necessary is that for the safety of the Republic?
I'm not a drug user at all myself...I don't even hardly drink alchohol (2 beers since one bottle of wine over the Holidays) but I know damn good and well that many people smoke "the stuff" without horribly harmful societal effects.
Not that I'm promoting that particular plant matter to be used or abused, but the comparison to the otherwise legally available alchohol does come to mind.
Which one really hurts society the worse?
Not that you personally would, but for others, please spare me the "it's a gateway drug" story. I wasn't born yesterday. I made it through the sixties. And the seventies...
You have just saved me the effort to put into words the same sentiments.
“the new LEO testimony in court will be - I heard what sounded like the destruction of evidence taking place”
Close. It will be: “I heard what sounded like the destruction of evidence taking place, so I broke down the door, shot the dog, reasonably mistook the remote in the homeowner’s hand for a gun, shot him 15 times, had to secure the area so EMS couldn’t come on scene for 1 1/4 hours (so sorry the homeowner bled out), but IA cleared me (shout out to my buddy and lead IA detective John!), and I get my medal for heroism on Thursday.”
Some States do impose restrictions on Police Power Higher than the Supreme Court. I advise all to find out which ones and either move there or try to make your State on that that list. I’m Moving to Alaska they still have to have one there and I think MT and WA State.
I’m sure the Security Fence Intercom and Steel Enforced Industry is going to become a Very RICH!.
Since how can someone at a driveway gate intercom hear or smell anything at the door. And Judge ALito says the suspects could have said something and refused Entry trying to look at the bright points here.
It is Good that Several States already impose restrictions on Police Power higher than the Supreme Court . In states where that is not the case.
I’m sure the Security Fence/Intercom and Steel re- Enforced/doors,etc will be booming. Especially since Judge Alito said you can speak up and assert your rights and refuse entry.
I know Alaska this will not effect they still have to get warrants even to search a car/house even if they smell it. I think MT and WA State will also be un affected now sure though.
It’s a two headed snake. Conservatives have been used right along with Liberals as a means to an end...Fascism. As long as both Conservatives and Liberals have wanted gov’t to cater to what ‘they’ want the gov’t to do for them and the laws they want in place according to ones own bias, regardless of the Constitution, they had us all where they wanted us. Their(The Supremes) loyaltly is to the Corporate Constitution...yes, it is different than the Original. The Police State is a part of the Corporate Constitution.
Liberals on the court are killing us.
Nothing like forgetting the fact, in this case, that the cops were following a known drug dealer.
Wow. This is one of those rare times I disagree with the “conservatives” on the court. It’s unsettling.
There is also ample opportunity to go get a warrant.
For years we have been told that voting Republican was necessary, if for no other reason than who ends up on the SCOTUS.
This is proof that it really no longer matters. There are no more Constitutional Conservatives... only the Elites, and the rest of us.