Is the Fourth Amendment no longer in effect?

This one ought to stir up everybody, no matter which side of the political spectrum you lie on.

Indiana Supreme Court: No Right to Resist Unlawful Police Entry

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.

The court’s decision stems from a Vanderburgh County case in which police were called to investigate a husband and wife arguing outside their apartment.

When the couple went back inside their apartment, the husband told police they were not needed and blocked the doorway so they could not enter. When an officer entered anyway, the husband shoved the officer against a wall. A second officer then used a stun gun on the husband and arrested him.

Professor Ivan Bodensteiner, of Valparaiso University School of Law, said the court’s decision is consistent with the idea of preventing violence.

“It’s not surprising that they would say there’s no right to beat the hell out of the officer,” Bodensteiner said. “(The court is saying) we would rather opt on the side of saying if the police act wrongfully in entering your house your remedy is under law, to bring a civil action against the officer.”
(…)
This is the second major Indiana Supreme Court ruling this week involving police entry into a home.

On Tuesday, the court said police serving a warrant may enter a home without knocking if officers decide circumstances justify it. Prior to that ruling, police serving a warrant would have to obtain a judge’s permission to enter without knocking.

The two judges dissenting both stated their opinion that the decision was too broad, while admitting there are circumstances in which police may be required to enter a residence without warrant but the decision in this case when combined with the earlier decision would appear to violate the Fourth Amendment

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

and now the US Supreme Court has also expanded the “right” of police to enter your residence without a warrant

Supreme Court affirms police action in Kentucky drug case

The Supreme Court on Monday gave law enforcement officers new authority to enter a home without a warrant when they have reason to believe that drug evidence is being destroyed.

The court ruled 8 to 1 that Kentucky police who smelled marijuana at an apartment door, knocked loudly and announced themselves, and then kicked in the door when they thought the drugs were being destroyed did nothing wrong.

Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr., writing for the majority, said the conduct of the police before they entered the apartment was “entirely lawful” and neither violates nor threatens a person’s Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable searches or seizures.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg strongly disagreed.

“The court today arms the police with a way routinely to dishonor the Fourth Amendment’s warrant requirement in drug cases,” Ginsburg wrote. “In lieu of presenting their evidence to a neutral magistrate, police officers may now knock, listen, then break the door down, nevermind that they had ample time to obtain a warrant.”

Please note that President Obama’s two “radical, leftist” nominees to the Court voted with the majority.

The police in this case claimed ” they knocked loudly, announced “Police, police, police” before kicking in the door. Tell me; if they were so loud, why did they find the people in the apartment still “smoking marijuana”?

Justice Alito’s justification for this decision really takes the cake:

King could have told police they could not enter. “Occupants who choose not to stand on their constitutional rights but instead elect to attempt to destroy evidence have only themselves to blame” when police force their way in, he said.

Case is Kentucky v. King

A good synopsis, and its implications, of the Fourth Amendment is available at Wikipedia. If you want to be more of a geek in researching the subject, try FindLaw

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One response to “Is the Fourth Amendment no longer in effect?

  1. That is a super-peachy-keen post. Thanks for really blathering on like that! Seriously, I don’t think I could have spent more effort wishing for something heavy to fall on me to erase that nonsense from my mind!

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