We’ve been covering a large number of situations and legal rulings lately that appear to suggest that the 4th Amendment is pretty much null and void for much of the US. With the news of a bad Supreme Court ruling concerning the ability of police to invade a home without a warrant, so long as they create circumstances that make it seem urgent, we’re pointed to an even more ridiculous ruling in the Indiana Supreme Court that effectively legalizes the ability of law enforcement to enter any home without a warrant. Why? The court basically says that it’s “against public policy” to require a warrant:
“We believe however that a right to resist an unlawful police entry into a home is against public policy and is incompatible with modern Fourth Amendment jurisprudence.”
In other words, the gradual (and, at times, not so gradual) destruction of the 4th Amendment is used to destroy it even more.
The 4th amendment is one of the most important ones and one that was put in due to the history of the English to abuse their own citizens. Now we a Supreme Court ruling from Indiana – a pretty conservative state – that resisting an unlawful entry of a house is against public policy.
As usual, dissents in these atrocious cases are quite straightforward and easy to understand. A morsel:
But the common law rule supporting a citizen’s right to resist unlawful entry into her home rests on a very different ground, namely, the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution. Indeed, “the physical entry of the home is the chief evil against which the wording of the Fourth Amendment is directed.” Payton v. New York, 445 U.S. 573, 585 (1980). In my view it is breathtaking that the majority deems it appropriate or even necessary to erode this constitutional protection based on a rationale addressing much different policy considerations. There is simply no reason to abrogate the common law right of a citizen to resist the unlawful police entry into his or her home.
In fact, the same Supreme Court in Indiana said that the police could enter a house unannounced without knocking to serve any warrant, simply on their ‘belief.’ So when they enter a home without announcing themselves and the home owner defends the home, they can legally be shot dead for resisting. What a wonderful Orwellian moment.
The US Supreme Court has recently ruled that police can enter any house without a warrant simply if they believe evidence might be destroyed. Well, when are they ever NOT going to believe that is happening.
The courts will no even protect us from the encroachment of executive power. Even state governments are handing over more and more power to the Executive branch. This is not a party thing. It is a power thing and has been going on for at least 40 years.
Some people are calling this the Rapist’ Doctrine – Don’t resist. It’ll only make things worse. Of course, since we cannot tell the difference between a criminal home invasion by thieves and a criminal home invasion by police, we are screwed either way. And most likely dead.
So then you get things like this, where the police cover-up is already starting. The only non-police witnesses still alive say the police did not identify themselves. The Marine was trying to protect his wife and kids. They had to shoot him 60 times and he was still not dead. The paramedics were held back for almost an hour before getting to the body. By then he was dead.
We are living through some serious erosions of our 4th amendment rights and there is not any real fight from either political party.
Our government was set up to prevent accretion of power to the Executive – where historically tyrants lurked. But both the Legislative branch and, more recently the Judicial, seem perfectly willing to hand more and more power to the Executive. At the loss to citizens.
In fact, if it is a choice between what is best for the Executive branch and what is best for citizens, the Executive mostly wins. Civil rights lose. Torture citizens. Sure. Wiretap them. Sure. Bug their phones. Sure. Put tracking devices in their car. Fine. Assassinate them without due process. Great. Hold them in solitary for months without charging them. No problem. Read their emails. No difficulty. Kill them in their homes. They had it coming. Make felonies out of misdemeanors. Sounds great.
These are all powers that Executives of both parties have been handed. They will not give them up easily.