Saturday, May 14, 2011

Indiana State Supreme Court: your house no longer your castle (UPDATED)

(please scroll to bottom of post for update)

"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."

That's the text of the 4th amendment. Pretty important stuff, huh?

Not so in Indiana, apparently...

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.
(italics, ours)

Well, that's good to know. But wouldn't that be a tad after the fact?

Aside from the obvious, what makes this truly stunning is that Stevens acknowledges the unlawful nature of entries and determines that resisting unlawfulness is unlawful in and of itself... for public policy.

Of course this public policy is a sop to safety or something.

Stevens even invokes the 4th amendment to essentially declare the 4th amendment null and void. Unreal.

Read about the case at the link provided as the majority doesn't even bother to narrowly apply their decision to preventing impending domestic violence but rather chucks long-standing common law by saying the police can bust into your crib for any damn reason they please.

As far as not wanting to "escalate the level of violence", it might interest Stevens to know that we fought a war, in part, to keep soldiers, police... anybody... out of our homes without warrant.

Is this what people go to law school to learn?

(UPDATE #1): Uh-oh. Turns out, Stevens was a Mitch Daniels appointee. (H/T: Leslie from the comment section)

Along with his support of ethanol subsidies, count this as another strike against Daniels in the Republican primaries. In trying to rationalize on behalf of Daniels, can you be held accountable for one of your judges going completely rogue?

The decision rendered by Stevens is no longer really a liberal vs. conservative issue in our humble opinion as it strikes at the core of restrictions on what powers can be exercised over you, your house and your possessions by the government and completely wipes them away. We would hope that good liberals everywhere are as similarly outraged as we are over this decision. At the end of the day, however, Daniels, who may one day be the Commander-in-Chief will be asked to make and be held accountable for many a decision that will effect all of us and his appointment of Stevens certainly does not lend itself to building a strong track record in that department.


Mutnodjmet said...

"So, when considering Governor Daniels in your choices for the nomination, ask yourself: Is this the man you want appointing Justices to the Supreme Court of the United States"

It seems that Daniels was responsible for appointing these justices, so the author states: This Alone Disqualifies Mitch Daniels for the White House.

I am inclined to agree, so between ethanol and the "foreign policy quip", Daniels is off my pick list for GOP candidates.

Anonymous said...

volokh conspiracy does a great writeup on this.

SarahB said...