Skip to comments.Two privacy rulings hit us right where we live
Posted on 05/31/2011 6:53:40 AM PDT by marktwain
A few years ago, two police officers were chasing a crack dealer at a Lexington, Ky., apartment complex when they lost sight of him as he ducked into one of two units at the end of a breezeway. Detecting a very strong odor of burnt marijuana coming from the apartment on the left, they figured that must be the one, so they banged on the door and shouted, Police! Hearing the sound of persons moving, the officers later reported, they feared evidence was being destroyed, so they kicked in the door.
It turned out to be the wrong apartment, but inside the cops discovered a guest smoking pot and, during a protective sweep of the apartment, saw marijuana and cocaine powder in plain view. A more thorough search turned up crack, cash and drug paraphernalia.
So much for the alleged destruction of evidence. So much, too, for the doctrine that a mans home is his castle, not to be forcibly entered by government agents on a whim or a hunch. Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court said the exigent circumstances that exist when someone might be flushing drugs down a toilet allow police to enter a home without a warrant, even if their own actions create those circumstances.
As the lone dissenting justice, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, noted, this decision arms the police with a way routinely to dishonor the Fourth Amendments warrant requirement in drug cases. Instead of presenting their evidence to a neutral magistrate, they can retroactively validate their decision to break into someones home by claiming they smelled something funny and heard something suspicious.
While the U.S. Supreme Court said police may force their way into a home to prevent the destruction of evidence, the Indiana Supreme Court, in a less-noticed decision issued the week before, said police may force their way into a home for any reason or no reason at all. Although the victim of an illegal search can challenge it in court after the fact, three of the five justices agreed that there is no right to reasonably resist unlawful entry by police officers. They thereby nullified a principle of common law that is centuries old, arguably dating back to the Magna Carta.
The case involved Richard Barnes, whose wife called 911 in November 2007 to report that he was throwing things around their apartment. When police encountered Barnes outside, he shouted that they were not needed because he was in the process of moving out. His wife emerged, threw a duffle bag in his direction and told him to collect the rest of his belongings. When two officers tried to follow the couple back into the apartment, Barnes blocked the way, while his wife said dont do this and just let them in. Barnes shoved one officer against a wall, and a scuffle ensued.
After he was convicted of battery on a police officer, resisting law enforcement, and disorderly conduct, Barnes appealed, arguing that the jury should have been instructed about the right of a citizen to reasonably resist unlawful entry into the citizens home. The Indiana Supreme Court could have ruled that the officers entry into the apartment was lawful given the possibility of violence, especially since Barnes wife had called 911 and arguably invited them in. The majority suggested as much but inexplicably decided a far broader question. Because we decline to recognize the right to reasonably resist an unlawful police entry, the court said, we need not decide the legality of the officers entry into Barness apartment.
This backward approach suggests the justices were eager to repudiate a straightforward extension of self-defense that struck them as an outmoded impediment to law enforcement. Like the sniff, knock, listen and kick rule endorsed by the U.S. Supreme Court, the decision illustrates the steady erosion of security in the name of security, even in the setting where our right to be left alone is supposed to be strongest.
Yep, and the rest of the Bill of Rights are on life support.
Welcome to the USSA, comrade. Keep your eyes down and shuffle along.
Your home, your car, your person -- the police have full access 24/7 for any reason at all. You cannot stop them.
Unless, of course, you decide to stop them.
I think the police may come to regret making it open season on citizens. Nobody likes jack-booted thugs.
Educate yourself. Even the lawyer who worked with Mr. King on the Kentucky case thought that Justice Alito's opinion was perfectly sound. I guess facts don't matter to liberaltarians.
Then on to step 2:
Taking the guns away from you because its too dangerous for LEO’s.
Part of the plan, my man...part of the plan...
I commit no crime in person or at home. Therefore, it is my policy that I will defend myself against illegal police action including warrentless search.... Years ago I swore to uphold the US Constitution against all enemies foreign and DOMESTIC. I hope that day never comes in the US....but I will honor my pledge.
BTW, one more time, the Indiana case has been misrepreented.
Barnes was OUTTA THERE. Other USSC cases of recent vintage say that she could have barred the cops, as a resident of the apartment, but she not only didn't bar them, she called them to help her!
The case would have been easily decided against Barnes ~ the man ~ simply by noting he was NO LONGER A RESIDENT.
The major mistake the court in Indiana made was using Islamic exegesis to examine the facts ~ then writing the woman out of the case and ruling on the basis no longer recognized in English or American common law ~ to wit, that the man is the head of the household and even if he doesn't live there the womenfolk gots ta' do what he says!
I've noticed a decided disinterest on the part of the "home is a castle" people who've commented to deal with the woman's rights to be in command of her own castle.
In fact, a clear reading of Indiana's Castle Doctrine law makes it understood that SHE could have called in the cops, or just picked up a shotgun and turned Barnes into a spray of pink mist.
I suspect a number of them to be Moslems who've infiltrated FR in the last couple of years.
Sends chills through my body - literally. What happened to “the land of the free”?
Warrantless search is not always unlawful.
Did the cops bust down the door and enter an apartment without a warrant or not?
Liberaltarians arguments always boil down to "I want to smoke pot"
Why would we be surprised at the deterioration of liberty in a time when even the equal protection of right to life of all persons is disregarded?
Remember, they’re butchering thousands again today in the abortuaries, or via chemical poisons.
If Ruth Bader Ginsburg is the voice of reason, America is in deeper trouble than anyone thought.
Really? I have often thought of myself as much like a Libertarian. And I have NEVER smoked pot. AND I don’t want to.
What most Libertarians want is Freedom from Socialists, Authoritarians, Communists, and overbearing Government in all forms.
Is that bad?
beginnings of step 2
i am a libertarian. i do not smoke pot. i do support a person’s choice to do so at home at their own risk. stepping out of that circle, endangers the lives of others and opens them to the consequences of that action.
the destruction of being secure in one’s home is an end to western civilization and a free society. it is.
tell me how your prohibition is saving lives and money.
it is not.
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