4th Amendment? What 4th Amendment? Supremes Say Police Can Create Conditions To Enter Home Without A Warrant

from the did-they-really-say-that? dept

We’ve been discussing various ways that our government and the courts have been slowly chipping away at the 4th Amendment, what with warrantless wiretaps, searching laptops, TSA agents groping people, etc. And the Supreme Court just took a huge chunk out of the 4th Amendment in saying that police can raid homes without a warrant if there are “exigent circumstances” — even if those “exigent circumstances” are created by the police themselves.

The law, to date, had been that police cannot enter a home without a warrant unless they had both (a) probable cause and (b) “exigent circumstances” in which getting a warrant would not make sense. In this case, police were searching for a drug dealer who had gone into an apartment complex. Outside of one apartment, they smelled marijuana — which created probable cause. At this point, they should have obtained a warrant. Instead, they banged on the door and shouted police. At which point they heard a scramble inside, and busted in the door, claiming that they believed the scramble was the possible destruction of the drugs. The argument then was that this noise — even though it was entirely created due to police action — represented exigent circumstances that allowed them to bust in the door without a warrant. The Kentucky Supreme Court said that while the noise might be exigent circumstances, since it was illegally created by the police, it could not be used.

Tragically, the Supreme Court — by an 8-to-1 vote — has now disagreed, saying that this is perfectly consistent with the 4th Amendment. With all due respect to the 8 Justices and the Court, I can’t see how that’s reasonable at all. This sets up a dreadful situation which will be abused regularly by law enforcement. It lets them create yet another situation where they may avoid oversight, by creating their own exigent circumstances, and then using that as an excuse for avoiding a warrant and any required oversight or limitations. I believe that Justice Ginsburg’s dissent is much more compelling. Her dissent points out that exigent circumstances are only supposed to be used in very rare circumstances when getting a warrant is not possible or practical. Yet, in this case, the police easily could have secured a warrant quickly upon smelling marijuana.

That heavy burden has not been carried here. There was little risk that drug-related evidence would have been destroyed had the police delayed the search pending a magistrate?s authorization. As the Court recognizes, “[p]ersons in possession of valuable drugs are unlikely to destroy them unless they fear discovery by the police.” … Nothing in the record shows that, prior to the knock at the apartment door, the occupants were apprehensive about police proximity.

In fact, she notes that “Home intrusions, the Court has said, are indeed ‘the chief evil against which . . .the Fourth Amendment is directed.'” So it seems positively ridiculous to claim that such a home invasion is acceptable under the 4th Amendment. This is a tragically bad ruling by the Supreme Court that will have massive and dangerous consequences. We already have law enforcement pushing the boundaries of individual privacy rights, and now they have even more tools to take that further.

Filed Under: , , , ,

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “4th Amendment? What 4th Amendment? Supremes Say Police Can Create Conditions To Enter Home Without A Warrant”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
114 Comments
:Lobo Santo (profile) says:

Obviously

This wasn’t a situation of “home invasion”.

Couldn’t be, the ‘victims (I hate that word)’ lived in an apartment.

If the victims lived in a $750,000 house, on the other hand–the kind which Supreme Court justices are likely to inhabit–it would be a very different situation.

The 4th Amendment is as strong as ever; if you’re wealthy.

LennyB says:

Re: Re:

It makes me sick to my stomach too. Sometimes I like to dilude myself into thinking it’s going to be ok. I persuade myself into thinking that the US isn’t as bad as the new’s leads us to believe. Bad news is the primary focus of 90% of the media’s reporting efforts after all (espeically TechDirt).

Than I remember that the bad news I have been reading is REALLY BAD NEWS! It speaks of a level of greed and curruption beyond redemption. It gives me a terrible feeling of helplessness when I hear about shit like the Protect IP/COICA sham. I can’t believe we have elected officals that get away with even proposing these kind of ideas without being mercilessly ridiculed, and eventually never spoken of again. It speaks volumns of the American people that we let it happen. Police are being granted powers that our great grandparents would have killed people over, and Supreme Court Justices are backing it up!

There is one hope though in my eyes, but it’s such a dim hope that I might take it as a sign that God is real if it happens. The hope is, once this perpetual downward spiral ends, it can be rebuilt. It aint like the old days though. We have over 300 million people living in the United States now. At the end of that downward spiral, how are 300 million Americans going to handle it? Civil War probably. I think I already know what side I’d be on if it happens in my lifetime…

On my own, in the woods. Possibly in a van down by the river.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

“the Protect IP/COICA sham.”

That’s nothing compared to the corruption that exists among the FDA (and the rest of the government) and pharmaceutical/medical and agricultural industries. Reading about the corruption in those industries is far worse than what Techdirt covers. Eventually I stopped, it’s too disturbing.

Christopher (profile) says:

Re: Re:

If we don’t start stopping them with protests and even, I have to reluctantly say, physical violence…. yes, they will.

It’s getting to the point where I have to say that there needs to be a second American Civil War to reinstate the Constitution’s protections, and that a bunch of these idiots on the Supreme Court need to be arrested and thrown in prison for violating the oath they swear to uphold the Constitution.

Vincent Clement (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Your constitution wasn’t meant to last for over 200 years. It was meant to be a living document that changed with the times. Yes, there have been several amendments to it, but at some point, you may want to draft a new constitution for the next 100 or so years.

I’m certain that the founding fathers would be flabbergasted to see their document being used today.

DogBreath says:

Re: Re: Re:

I’m certain that the founding fathers would be flabbergasted to see their document being used today.

I’m certain they would be pleased at it lasting this long, but not so pleased at some of the activist judges (on all sides) who have made rulings seemingly based on their own personal beliefs rather than the rule and spirit of the law.

Why change the Constitution when you can just change the definitions of what the legal terms mean? You don’t need to Congress to vote on it, nor the States to ratify it. Sooo much easier.

History has shown us time and time again, any government that subjugates the will of it’s people long enough, ultimately ends up destroying itself by overreaching it’s granted authority. Power can come from the barrels of guns, but those guns must have more and more people behind them to enforce draconian laws, until a tipping point is reached and a revolution takes place.

So, is a new Constitution possible?: Yes.

Odds on getting one without those in power stepping down and/or a revolution/civil war?: Slim to none.

Christopher (profile) says:

Re: I heard a noise

Agreed totally…. the more rulings I see from the Supreme Court like this, the more I think that these old idiots on the court have gone insane or demented.

There is no reason why ‘just hearing a noise’ that sounds like scrambling should allow the police into a home.

With that reasoning, the police could say that just because they hear a woman groaning/screaming, they can assume that a woman is being raped…. and they will be witnesses to a lot of home births in that situation!

They can say that just because they hear a child yelling, that they can assume the child is being raped…. and will walk in on a lot of cases of parents tickling their children or playing with their children.

The Fourth Amendment is getting weaker and weaker as time goes on because of stupid rulings from the Supreme Court like this one.

Jon B. (profile) says:

I guess it depends on the "scrambling..."

Based on this post, it sounds like the cops were in the wrong.

However, it sounds like SCOTUS would be right in concluding that “exigent circumstances” can include those instigated by the police in certain ways:

Police get called to domestic disturbance. Police knock on door, and say “Hello! Police Department!” (assuming that identifying themselves is necessary for this hypothetical situation…) Police then hear gunfire that was obviously instigated by them shouting “Police Department!” and/or knocking.

Is it ok for them to enter? There’s a big difference between “scrambling” and gunfire, but a hard line saying that “exigent circumstances” can’t be “created” by police.

“The Kentucky Supreme Court held that the exigent circumstances rule does not apply in the case at hand because the police should have foreseen that their conduct would prompt the occupants to attempt to destroy evidence,? Alito wrote. ?We reject this interpretation of the exigent circumstances rule. The conduct of the police prior to their entry into the apartment was entirely lawful. They did not violate the Fourth Amendment or threaten to do so. In such a situation, the exigent circumstances rule applies.”

I see nothing wrong with that paragraph as written if it is indeed truthful.

Now, the real issue here is that police are doing this when the crime is simply possession of drugs that lots of people don’t think should be illegal in the first place. Now, if you want to argue whether those drugs should be illegal, that’s a valid debate worth having. But that issue should be argued separately from whether “exigent circumstances” can be created by police.

I’ll agree and concede that the burden of proof should be on the police to PROVE that the “scrambling” they heard really met the proper criteria. I just don’t think whether the police knocked first should have anything to do with it.

crade (profile) says:

Re: I guess it depends on the "scrambling..."

Agreed, the trouble here is that people don’t think disposing of drugs is really that big a deal.

No one would be complaining if the police knocked on the door and the perps reacted by attempting to dispose of their hostages and the police busted in and saved them. It makes sense to have this rule (yes, even if the police knock). You just need to make sure it’s actually an emergency or at least they believe it’s a real emergency.

Steven (profile) says:

Re: I guess it depends on the "scrambling..."

I would argue that “exigent circumstances” should be limited to the prevention of expected or believed bodily harm.

Hear a gunshot? Okay
Hear somebody screaming for help? Okay
Hear movement in a house? Better get a damn warrant or have a defensible reason to believe that bodily harm has or is about to take place.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: I guess it depends on the "scrambling..."

Police get called to domestic disturbance. Police knock on door, and say “Hello! Police Department!” (assuming that identifying themselves is necessary for this hypothetical situation…) Police then hear gunfire that was obviously instigated by them shouting “Police Department!” and/or knocking.

Is it ok for them to enter? There’s a big difference between “scrambling” and gunfire, but a hard line saying that “exigent circumstances” can’t be “created” by police.

Emphasis mine.

In your example, the “exigent circumstances” were not created by the police – the circumstances were made “exigent” by the call.

Rob Bodine (profile) says:

Your hyperbole doesn?t help, Techdirt. This majority decision doesn?t feel right to me, but this isn?t as easy a case as you state. (Actually, the 8-1 decision should have been your first clue on that one.) There was a strong odor of marijuana, and that doesn?t suggest that there?s marijuana hermetically sealed in plastic and stored underneath the floorboards. It suggests that it?s being consumed, and thus destroyed. If the defendants were merely ?cutting? the drugs for distribution, which also could explain the smell?s strength, there?d still be exigent circumstances, as there?s reason to believe that the drugs were soon to be moved. Exigent circumstances existed before the cops even knocked, despite Justice Ginsberg?s assertion otherwise. Moreover, it?s absolutely true, as the majority points out, that ?in some sense the police always create the exigent circumstances.? I agree, of course, that this is ripe for abuse, but that?s always the case with the Fourth Amendment and is why we have the courts.

This is a tough case. I wish you could see that.

Christopher (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Sorry, but it’s not a ‘tough case’ in the slightest. They could have EASILY called in for a ‘quick warrant’ from a judge, which takes maybe 5 minutes. I doubt that would really be a ‘long’ time to wait nor raise the possibility that ‘evidence might be destroyed’.

This is weakening the law to the point where the police are going to say “WHY THE HELL SHOULD BE BOTHER WITH A WARRANT ANYWAY! WE WILL JUST CLAIM EXIGENT CIRCUMSTANCES!”

I can very well see them doing that in the future.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Firstly, I’m not familiar with law in Kentucky by any measure. The only place in Kentucky I’ve ever stopped for any measure of time was in Slade… population 2 1/2 teeth. I feel like I have a solid grasp of right and wrong though, so my opinion matters because of that.

Breaking down a door without obtaining a warrent b/c of smelling marijuana is against the law, even if somebody has tap dancing shoe’s on, and is making shit tons of racket. (please consider my strong sense of right and wrong.)

2ndly Breaking down a door without a warrent for anything but sounds of gun fire, or somebody inside the residence getting viciously beat to death is against the law too. I don’t fucking care what the Kentucky Supreme Court Justices say.

Time to arm yourself citizens, the police and/or government is that much closer to becoming our full blown enemy.

Robsoundslikaastroturfer says:

Re: Re:

Rob, equating the consumption of drugs to illegal destruction of evidence is a terrible stretch (the reason drug consumers possess drugs is to consume the drugs). So is deciding certain amounts/strength of smell equates to packaging for distribution(atleast in the context of Cannabis).

Different strains, growth environments, age, quality, being bagged, form of consumption (vaporizing, smoking, baking), etc change the strength of smell for Cannabis. Ever heard of LA Confidential? Its a strain of Cannabis that doesnt smell nearly as strong as others. Then there are skunk strains which are typically very pungent.

Rose M. Welch (profile) says:

Re: Re:

There was a strong odor of marijuana, and that doesn?t suggest that there?s marijuana hermetically sealed in plastic and stored underneath the floorboards. It suggests that it?s being consumed, and thus destroyed.

If they have so little marijuana that it can be consumed in the five minutes that it takes to get a warrant, then the cops shouldn’t even be there. They have more important things to worry about.

Christopher (profile) says:

Re: Toilets flushing, obviously

Actually, a toilet flushing could just be someone in the home going to the bathroom. Again, the police should ALWAYS have to get a warrant unless they hear something that equates to someone being in imminent danger of death: gunshots being the most common thing; or see something that tells them that someone is seriously injured (a blood pool, etc.).

Liz says:

Top 10 Reasons the Police can break down your door.

10. Is that pot I smell?
9. I think I hear a woman screaming.
8. I smell smoke.
7. Do you her a baby crying?
6. It’s easier to ask for forgiveness than for permission.
5. Did you understand what he said? No? Me either.
4. There’s someone with a camera in there!
3. If they aren’t doing anything wrong, then they have nothing to worry about.
2. Warrant? We don’t need no stinking warrants!

And the number one Reason the Police can break down your door:

1. So, what story are we using this time?

Ed C. says:

Re: Re:

Sadly, it all really comes down to #6. Sure, they’ll ask for forgiveness after the fact, then a settlement, but it’s a hard court ruling against them that makes them think twice. Now that the possibility of a lawsuit for unlawful entry has been taken off the table, they don’t even have to ask for forgiveness.

William (profile) says:

Offbase

In this case, I disagree with your assessment.

The police were in hot pursuit of a drug dealer who the police had just witnessed obtaining drugs. They were just far enough behind to not see which of two doors he’d entered. They knocked on one of the doors and announced themselves after which they heard someone inside apparently trying to destroy evidence. After they didn’t respond, they kicked the door in and oh hey look, there’s ‘another’ druggie trying to destroy his stash.

I’d generally disagree however in this case it was just his really shitty luck that the police actually did have enough cause to kick the door.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Offbase

Pure bullshit.

So lets say your a drug dealer running from the cops. You finally give them the slip in an apartment complex. Then you decide hey, I’ll just go ahead and spark up a joint while I’m hiding from the cops!

Smelling weed in no way shape or form gave them the right to break into that apartment. Last apartment I lived in had skunky smelling bushes all around the place that smelled like weed. by that logic cops could have walked through those apartments anytime they wanted.

Wise (profile) says:

First off I’ll say that anything to do with marijuana in general is getting sort of old, but until the law is passed stating it as being perfectly legal to own, produce, sell and consume the substance, there’s very little you can do about it.

From the facts mentioned, there was a drug dealer. The cops had reasonable assumption that the dealer was in the apartment, either from an eye-witness or anonymous tip or otherwise. While I agree that obtaining the warrant would have been the best case scenario, they smelled marijuana (which the possession of, is illegal) and decided to make contact with the suspected apartment. After stating their business (It’s the cops), they waited and heard a scuffle – immediately upon making their presence known, after which they made a snap judgement and broke in. Once inside: “They saw drugs in plain view during a protective sweep of the apartment and found additional evidence during a subsequent search.”

Sadly, the ends justify the means. Not to say the drugs weren’t planted or that the cops could be bad people, but this (to me at least) sounds perfectly reasonable.

Anonymous Coward says:

Call it what you want, but ANYONE that busts through my door unannounced gets a bullet to the head. Period. It’s not uncommon in my area for local thugs to yell police before busting into your home taking you hostage and holding you at gun point while their associates take your ATM card to the local bank and clean you out.

No-knock warrants and warrant-less entries are dangerous for all involved and I can think of very few situations where the risk is worth it, no quantity of drugs is worth the risk of losing a child, elderly person, or police officer.

Remember it is the 1st and 2nd that makes all other the others possible.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

If given the opportunity to look out the window and verify that they are in a police car, and actually see the officer on my door step then I have no problem at all.

But if my door gets kicked in while I’m naked and half asleep I can’t promise that everyone would survive that encounter.

compgeek (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

thats why i have a 16 inch genuine gurkha kukri (masquerading as a display piece) on my night stand and a loaded .30 rifle in easy reach. i know how to use both and luckily havent had to do more than brandish them at the druggies looking for my apartments previous tenant (bad neighborhood). ANYONE who kicks my door in and enters without my permission will get 1 between the eyes. and i am a good shot. i can turn a nickel into a washer at about 100 yards if my scope is dialed in at least halfway decent.

jkirch (profile) says:

I don’t see how this is a huge sleight against the 4th, hearing scrambling or rustling or whatever is really shitty “exigent circumstances”, but the police were looking for a drug dealer and they smelled marijuana, assuming marijuana is a drug, and drug dealers sell drugs, the person they were looking for could’ve potentially been there. It’s not some huge logical leap or anything… looking for a drug dealer and smelling drugs isn’t too far off from

Rekrul says:

Re: Re:

I don’t see how this is a huge sleight against the 4th, hearing scrambling or rustling or whatever is really shitty “exigent circumstances”, but the police were looking for a drug dealer and they smelled marijuana, assuming marijuana is a drug, and drug dealers sell drugs, the person they were looking for could’ve potentially been there. It’s not some huge logical leap or anything… looking for a drug dealer and smelling drugs isn’t too far off from

Consider this; You live in an apartment building. Police chase a drug dealer into your building, but temporarily lose him as he runs into your corridor and disappears into one of the apartments. The police arrive in the corridor and smell pot, because your neighbor directly across the hall happens to be smoking some at that moment. They can’t tell which apartment the smell is coming from. They take a chance and knock on your door, yelling “Open up! Police!” This startles you and you accidentally knock something over. As you walk to the door to open it, it suddenly gets kicked in, hitting you right in the face, breaking your nose and a couple teeth. Police rush in, slam you to the ground, twist your arms behind your back, put a gun to your head and start screaming “WHERE IS HE???”

Later, you try to sue the police department for unlawfully breaking into your home, but the court rules that what they did was completely legal because they heard a noise and thought that the person inside was destroying evidence, which gave them the right to break down your door.

Anonymous Coward says:

So one thing that I have noticed that many of you have not is the sentence that reads, “In this case, police were searching for a drug dealer who had gone into an apartment complex.” This is most likely a result of the suspect fleeing a crime. That in it self creates an exigent circumstance, because the cops have no idea if the suspect is armed or not, and while in the apartment could be arming himself with a deadly weapon. The police most likely did not create the exigency, they where merely attempting to safeguard the lives and the property of the public. In the case brief it self, the officers stated that the movements inside the house where consistent with the sounds of the destruction of evidence. The sound of the bath tub running and the flush of the porcelain thrones you all sit on mocking this case can create it. The cops merely knocked on the door of the apartment they saw the suspect go into. There is absolutely no 4th amendment violation. The suspect did something wrong and the police caught him. Your paranoia of the cops is absolutely unjustified and flat our retarded. Go read the law enforcement code of ethics.

HothMonster says:

Re:

“The suspect did something wrong and the police caught him.”

They did catch the original suspect but he was in another apartment. The people who sued over having there house raided had nothing to do the original suspect.

“In the case brief it self, the officers stated that the movements inside the house where consistent with the sounds of the destruction of evidence. The sound of the bath tub running and the flush of the porcelain thrones you all sit on mocking this case can create it.”

Maybe I missed that part here is what I see:
“Cobb said that ?[a]s soon as [the officers]started banging on the door,? they ?could hear people inside moving,? and ?[i]t sounded as [though] things were being moved inside the apartment.?Id.,at 24. These noises, Cobb testified, led the officers to believe that drugrelated evidence was about to be destroyed.”

So you bang on the door, than people move = drugs being destroyed? So if the cops bang on my door am I just suppose to lay on the floor with my hands behind my head until they kick the door in, or am I allowed to get up and put some pants on and open the door without getting a gun in my face and broken door frame? I mean how dare anyone move things inside an apartment, seriously put all your things were you want them with the door open so no one can be confused about what you’re doing and always maintain a clear path to the door and be prepared to open it for police on a moments notice.

“they where merely attempting to safeguard the lives and the property of the public.”
Hes a drug dealer not a murderer. I agree they don’t know if he is arming himself, but if he is and they leave no one is getting hurt. If he is armed he only becomes a threat when the police engage him.

“The suspect did something wrong and the police caught him. Your paranoia of the cops is absolutely unjustified and flat our retarded.”
They also kicked down the door of two citizens doing their private business in their private residence due to a smell in a hallway and movement upon having their door banged on. Luckily for the cops those people where doing drugs so no one cares if their rights were trampled, I wish it was a Kentucky state senator banging his mistress than this would have been a much better case.

George (profile) says:

Re: Re:

I suggest you reread the original articles.

The police – did not see the suspect go into that apartment –

They only saw the suspect enter that apartment complex.

The door they knocked on could have been anyone’s.

Suppose it was the door of a couple who were necking, that had gotten so intense they were mostly naked and just about to insert. The police knock on the door and start shouting “POLICE!” What Happens? Well I bet you’d hear some “bustling noises”, not to mention screaming, coming from that apartment! So the police break the door down and see a screaming crying naked women running away and an enraged man coming towards them…. and the police already have their guns drawn, cocked and pointed……

result: 1 dead man (“Judge, We thought he was a serial killer/rapist, honest!” )

Please read more carefully.

Anonymous Coward says:

I tend to think this is crap. No warrant, no entry without probable cause. To do otherwise setups up fishing expeditions to find something illegal.

No one seems to have pieced together that cops can have an ulterior motive beyond finding the bad guy. Not to long ago in the news, a couple of cops were caught discussing what could be taken in the line of property for sale by the city. Once a drug charge is involved, confiscation of property comes next, with the funds from sale being split between participating cop departments if more than one is involved. Otherwise it all goes to the home station.

This is begging for a reason to break in without warrant with a made up excuse. A dirty cop can always plant the evidence of drugs later.

Not an Electronic Rodent says:

Lyrics getting strained?

Land of the free (as long as you do exactly what you’re told)
and the Home of the Brave (enough to mutter under your breath when the authorities bend you over to take it). hmmmm the tune might need changing.

A shining example for democracy everywhere, bravo! *polite clap*. Next thing you know you’ll be just as far down the road towards police state as the UK…..

Ryan Diederich says:

Hmmmm

So the police knock on my door, they hear me standing up and scream HES MOVING BUST DOWN THE DOOR and when they get inside they tackle me, on my way to answer the door.

Of course, why would we put ANY limitations on police, they are always soo lawful and correct in their actions.

As a matter of fact, last night while with friends the cops came and accused them of breaking into the house, despite us having a key. They then searched the house. Its a bunch of crap, my local law enforcement is known for it.

DogBreath says:

Re: Hmmmm

As a matter of fact, last night while with friends the cops came and accused them of breaking into the house, despite us having a key. They then searched the house. Its a bunch of crap, my local law enforcement is known for it.

Well, if you happen to live in Indiana, what the cops did appears to be legal now.

http://www.nwitimes.com/news/local/govt-and-politics/article_ec169697-a19e-525f-a532-81b3df229697.html

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.

So if you don’t open the door, they’ll break it down and enter for whatever “just cause”, and if you do open the door, they can come in, and anything they find will be admissible in court because the cops will say you “let them in” and didn’t object.

Sounds like the perfect example of “Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.”

Thomas (profile) says:

Just shows..

that the courts are firmly on the side of “law and order” and Constitutional protections are now ignored.

The police and the federal spooks know they can now get away with simply bashing into homes with swat teams and doing whatever they want.

Of course the federal spooks have quite a long history of ignoring constitutional protections, so it doesn’t matter to them anyway.

In the United States, you are far far more likely to be shot by a police officer or a federal spook than any terrorist, especially if you are not white. The function of local police has changed form helping people to arresting criminals by whatever means possible.

Himmler would have been proud of the SCOTUS today.

Steve R. (profile) says:

The Sad Ending to the Flower Power Generation

Back in the 60s and the 70s, the youth of this Nation rose-up for freedom and peace. Now many of these same people are in positions of National leadership. Obama, who is ostensibly (but not really) a baby boomer is supposed to be a constitutional lawyer. It is quite depressing to see the Flower Children bring us Orwell’s 1984 police state.

As another example, TechDirt also posted RIAA Calls 4th Amendment Passe: Pushes For Warrantless Searches.

Anonymous Coward says:

This ruling would seem to disproportionally effect lower income Americans. If someone lives in a tiny apartment, almost anything going on inside may be heard from outside but in large homes, very little may be heard. And if someone lives on a large piece of property with a gate at their driveway, almost no activity inside the house can be heard from the gate.

So it seems people with larger homes may have more 4th amendment protections than those with small homes/apartments.

Martin says:

I agree whole heartedly with Anonymous Coward; we are losing our rights more and more every day. The problem here is that for anyone to think that way or say that more and more people say we are being paranoid thus making it seem like we are crazy. I know that I am in fact not paranoid, or crazy however do want to preserve my rights to freedoms and liberties that are granted to me under the US Constitution and one of these rights is the 4th amendment (the one prior to the Supreme court ruling). America is slowly eroding into a country that is loosing its idenity.

Dan Sharp (user link) says:

This is not the complete story.

I have a student who is a police officer – he pulled the *original* court opinion. The *real* story is that the cops had already done something known as a “controlled buy” on the perp, THEN followed the person to the apartment, smelled weed, knocked, etc. The article made it sound like they just picked out a random apartment, smelled marijuana, knocked, and used the fact that people were moving around to force the door. That is NOT what happened. The little detail that the cops had *already sold* the guy the dope they ended up confiscating was “omitted”….

Anonymous Coward says:

I heard of the police doing this today in my home town. The person wasn?t even their yet they came in, broke down his door and searched his room and found marijuana. It?s so sad that the Jail population since the “war on drugs” mainly targets minorities of color in poor neighborhoods. I am 100 positive there was no odor of weed yet the police claimed to smell it. Why are the jails overcrowded with people for possession of marijuana and non-violent crimes? Putting more people in jail only breeds more poverty because once they leave no one is going to hire them. Studies show investment in education does however, education cuts are becoming the norm and poor people who don?t know their rights are often the victims of police abuse. I value police for what they do but some things just aren?t right and this is a prime example.

No One Special says:

I guess it depends on the "scrambling..."

Just because you believe it shouldn’t be illegal doesn’t make it legal. Either way they were in the wrong by possesing the drug… however the police could have easily aquired a warrant. Marijuana smokers always save some pot for later when their high dims. Even if a majority got smoked they could still have enough for a legal drug bust.

Sumbody says:

First off fuck the law if anything its fucking up more shit then its helping nd 2nd id like to ask a ? WTF happend to us arnt we the ppl arnt we the ones that shuld stand up for are rights ? If you want justice then u fuckin take it if u want the law to be a good fuckin law then make it one stop being pushovers ppl nd stand up for what u believe u have juss as much say as the next nd last person all u have to do is raise ur bitch ass voice lol btw if a cop ever kicks down my door imm chop that lil bitch up better believe that shit son

Mary Toyloy says:

A victim in her own home under government housing

I have been attacked supernaturally paranormally and I don’t know who to go for help.It happened to Doris Bother and its happening to people worldwide on YouTube.What does the state do.. they made a movie instead.People are dying of in natural causes because they are being attacked privately and are scared to be ridiculed so they don’t speak up. The Law is breaking there own amendments. How do we get help if no one wants to listen.

Antiinc says:

I guess it depends on the "scrambling..."

In regards to your example, the police saying “Hello! Police Department!” and then hearing gunfire, the exigent circumstances are not the police, who were doing their jobs appropriately, but the gunfire. In your example, had the police’s greeting been the exigent circumstance, they would be able to enter the house simply because they had instigated possibly dangerous circumstances by announcing their presence. This could be used anytime, anywhere. Hearing gunfire is, of course, a great reason to enter the house.
Also, the gunfire, especially if it was not directed at the police, could easily have been instigated by outside forces, such as an argument that had recently escalated inside the house.
One of the most frustrating things about this case is that it provides hardened criminals an advantage over average citizens who would panic or otherwise show fear at the discovery of a possible police raid, while the criminals who had dealt with police in the past would be able to react calmly and not allow the exigent circumstances.

Doctor Foreman says:

Challenge It

We as a people have the right to challenge laws we see as a violation of the constitution. I rely hope this law in particular gets challenged by the people. I am 15 years old. My fourth amendment was violated by my high school’s adminstration and SRO, which is the police. They had searched and seized me without a warrant or any grounds other than calling me weird and strange because I like to dress old fashioned a lot. They pulled me out of my first hour class searched my person and later held me and interrogated me inside a medium sized locked room in the school.I had no idea what was going on, but as I am a born again Christian, I was polite and respectful of them as they were my elders. Even though I asked them to stop, the policemen yelled and cursed at me. They eventually took my classwork and art work, I draw cartoons for my younger siblings, and they put them in the shredder. This really hurt me emotionally because I am a true artist, I guess you could say. After the day was over, the policemen and a detective illegally searched my room in my house, as they lied about having a warrant. And after all of that, I was suspended from school for three weeks without access to the school work I was missing. This really impacted me emotionally and educationally. I hope someone will bring real justice to this, as no lawyers would take my case because it “only affects me, not a group of students.”

Dale a Sherman says:

Police unlawfully enter my house and harass me and my child

I’m not a person to carry such hatred toward any one or anything . I’ve been dealing with total madnass since June of 2015 .they enter my home carmas placed throw out drones all day long when I’m traveling they don’t care when my little 6 year old is with me they force me into a box last week my baby girl was with me on enter state and they forced me off the road . they know I can’t afford to hire antory so they keep pushing more .. I found evidence to prove a cover up on things Americans should be aware of and they want me shut up so they can either destroy them or kill them . I ask for help stop this . in return I will release a positive break throw in life . 2183960233

marci mcginnis says:

Re:illegal entry

Some friends of mine were out of town. An informant told laws dogs there was drugs in the house police kicked down their locked door, bedroom door. Later when they returned home they were arrested for possession of meth. Their court appointed wanna be attorney has them so scared he said plea guilty or get 10 to 20 years prison time.

marci mcginnis says:

our rights

After I read these comments as well as my own,above, I decided that rather than just be all kinds of pssed off i’d try to do something about it soooooooI spent 7 straight hours going thru this site and other law ones I came up with alot of ways to stand and be counted on this issue.I wrote several government officials and then I went to see the wanna bee my friends freedom depends on his defense. I told him some things I felt plus some facts I learned here and he laughed at me. I asked him if he knew he’d given up one of the simplest cases,if he’d want to show justice. I said he’d rather be one of the”boys”. However, he was gonna end up an ignorant fool who found delight in chipping away at the most valuable piece of paperever written……our United States Constitution. He called me and asked me to come to my friends court date. I did, he was brillant used someof my words, my friends walked free, the cop hung his head, the lawyer smiled and I said “God blessAmerica”

Upset says:

What to do?

Well me and my mum got involved with U.K. police and this was because a woman had grabbed my mother’s arm got in touch with the police and they couldn’t care less then we kept phoning up they turned it all on my mother and this is four years to this day we were threatened by a police officer we complained about that as well, got us in a deeper mess then the neighbours was smoking cannabis and still play music 24/7 we complained about this to the council and to the police they yet again turned it on us and now we can’t go back home because they threatened my mum with a mental health act and when we did finally go home we found the door boarded up and the gate smashed because the police had a so called concern for safety “meaning there aloud to break our door and violate our house” i have what they said to us on record this has been going on four years what are we meant to do? This is all steamed from them not sorting out things and not doing there jobs

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...
Loading...