What 4th Amendment? Indiana Sheriff Says Random, Warrantless House To House Searches Are Okay

from the thanks-Indiana-supreme-court dept

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.

It appears that law enforcement in Indiana is wasting no time in recognizing the power this gives them. Radley Balko points us to the news that one Indiana Sheriff, Don Hartman Sr., from Newton County, has now stated that it’s legal to conduct house-to-house warrantless searches (see update below). According to him, everyone should be fine with such an invasion of privacy, because it means they can catch criminals:

According to Newton County Sheriff, Don Hartman Sr., random house to house searches are now possible and could be helpful following the Barnes v. STATE of INDIANA Supreme Court ruling issued on May 12th, 2011. When asked three separate times due to the astounding callousness as it relates to trampling the inherent natural rights of Americans, he emphatically indicated that he would use random house to house checks, adding he felt people will welcome random searches if it means capturing a criminal.

It’s as if they don’t care that they’re making a total mockery of the 4th Amendment and its important history.

Update: The sheriff in question has put out a statement contradicting the original story:

On May 16, 2011, I was contacted by a reporter of an internet radio station. Her question concerned a recent Indiana Supreme Court decision, allowing police officers to make random warrantless searches. I advised her that I was not clear on that particular ruling; she then asked how the Sheriff?s Office conducted searches of residences. I informed her that searches were only conducted with a warrant, probable cause or when an officer is in hot pursuit. When questioned about the Supreme Court ruling, I advised her that as police officers, we enforce those laws set forth by our legislative branch. This reporter then asked about the violation of Constitutional Rights. This State Supreme Court ruling in my opinion cannot override our U.S. Constitutional Rights and I?m sure this state ruling will be revisited.

When I was asked about my thoughts on random searches and how people would react, I gave her the scenario of looking for a criminal or escapee. I advised her that if people were aware of this situation, they would gladly let you search a detached garage, outbuilding, etc., if it meant keeping them safe, but this would only be after securing permission.

This court ruling is just open for lawsuits if a police officer would attempt a random search without due cause. Somewhere in this conversation things were definitely taken out of context. I’m now quoted as saying the Sheriff’s Office will be conducting random house to house searches.

I want the citizens of Newton County to rest assured that no member of the Newton County Sheriff?s Office will enter the property of another person without first having a warrant or probable cause to do so. I strongly stand behind my oath to uphold the Constitution of the United States of America, as well as that of the State of Indiana.

At this point it’s the reporter’s word against the sheriff’s. It does seem odd that the reporter does not directly quote the sheriff, but does state that he “emphatically” said he would use such house-to-house searches…

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Comments on “What 4th Amendment? Indiana Sheriff Says Random, Warrantless House To House Searches Are Okay”

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141 Comments
Chris Rhodes (profile) says:

Re: Re: WWII Germany?

The Tea Party member are basically Republicans demanding (some) fiscal responsibility in the face of their party’s shameful, ongoing complicity in our current budget disaster. Departing from Republican talking points on social issues was never their strong suit.

The “small government crowd” encompasses many more people, including your average libertarian like me, and you can bet we’re all over it. You did realize that Radley Balko (the guy Masnick hat-tipped in the post itself) writes for Reason magazine, right?

Shawn says:

Re: Re: WWII Germany?

And why wouldn’t you be up in arms as well? Would you be the first one to step out your front door, start screaming at the sheriff to hurry up and search through your house for no reasonable search reasoning applied?

I hope you enjoy what they can do to you, as anything and everything in your house will them be misinterpreted, so you will fit the elements of a crime, whether or not you actually committed one.

TS.Atomic (profile) says:

Re: Now, hang on a minute...

The Sheriff said if they were after a suspect and they thought he might be in someone outbuildings/garage, they would SEEK PERMISSION to check them out. If a deputy knocks on my door and says a burglar/rapist/murderer was chased into my neighborhood, not only would I allow them to look in my outbuildings, I’d ask if they needed any help.

The Sheriff went further and said this ruling would likely be revisited and that he stands by his oath to uphold the Constitution.

How “Allison Bricker” came out of that interview with the Sheriff wanting to conduct warrantless, random, house-to-house searches without property-owners consent is a question I would like answered. It’s crap reporters like Bricker that throw out some unfounded, inflammatory tripe that gullible rubes eagerly lap up and begin frothing at the mouth about.

The ruling is bad enough. Purposefully deceiving/misquoting a chief law enforcement officer is just making it worse.

Andrew D. Todd (user link) says:

Re: Re: Now, hang on a minute--- The Sheriff of a Small County

I took the trouble to look Newton County, Indiana up, and found that it is a remote rural county with a population of 14,000, 2000 of them in the county seat, the rest spread out over several hundred square miles. Crown Point, the dateline for the article, is a suburb of Gary, Indiana (_not_ in Newton County), but the author’s business address is in Indianapolis. If you are driving from Gary to Indianapolis on I-65, you go through a corner of Newton County for about three miles, out in the middle of nowhere, but you are never less than seventeen road miles from the county seat. One can see how there might be a joke about Newton County being Nowhere Land. Parenthetically, the disputed case, Barnes v. State of Indiana, originated from Vanderburgh County (Evansville, Indiana), at the other end of the state. There was no logical reason to consult the sheriff of Newton County about this case. He is not a big city police chief, or anything like that.

What it comes down to is that the blogger Allison Bricker telephoned the sheriff of the smallest and most backwoods county she could think of, in the hope that he would be out of his depth and make injudicious remarks. I cannot say whether he made injudicious remarks or not, but it hardly matters. Ms. Bricker was writing for a national audience, betting that people would not know about Newton County, and that they would assume that this sheriff was someone of real importance. People from around the world would not know that Indianapolis and Gary are not in Newton County.

Dark Helmet (profile) says:

.....what?

“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.”

I love this concept. We took a shit before, so now we’re enacting a law to make sure you have the smell wafted directly into your noses. What else can we do?

This is getting ridiculous….

Steve (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: .....what?

No.. They ruled that it’s OK to INTERPRET that amendment (and presumably by precedence, the others as well) as doublespeak that would make Orwell take a double-take.

I’m just glad the government is here to protect us.. I dont know what I’d do with all that freedom stuff..

“Until they become conscious they will never rebel, and until after they they have rebelled they cannot become conscious.”
– George Orwell, 1984, Book 1, Chapter 7

btr1701 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 .....what?

> No, they nullified it…in the judicial
> branch, which is there for the express
> purpose of upholding the law of the land,
> of which the Constitution is the supreme
> authority. Goodbye, liberty. Welcome to
> the Western Empire of the Americas.

It’s worth pointing out that this ridiculous ruling was from the Indiana Supreme Court, not the US Supreme Court. Which means it only applies in Indiana, and only for as long it takes to be overturned on appeal to the federal system.

btr1701 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 .....what?

> It will not go to the “federal system” because it does not
> involve a federal law or the US Constitution.

Sure it does. Read the 4th Amendment: “secure in their houses, papers, effects…” Being told by the state that you have to allow police to force their way into your home means you are no longer secure in your home, papers, or effects.

A.R.M. (profile) says:

As one who resides in Indiana...

“It’s as if they don’t care…”
No offense to the reporting of Techdirt, but this “didn’t care” attitude started with those who actually reside in the state.

I gave up years ago at trying to correct the issues the Indiana government has.

I truly believe it’s corrupt and this recent Constitutional bill passing clearly shows this.

Remember, this is the same state which has a right to sell off its impounded goods based on trumped-up laws.

The ruling for the law isn’t a surprise.

Neither will be the temporary infusion of rights defenders to sue the state… at our expense.

Damned if we…, no, we’re just damned.

Roger (profile) says:

Re: As one who resides in Indiana...

WAKE UP AMERICA
All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent.
IT’S TIME FOR ALL AMERICANS TO STAND AND SPEAK UP
MUST READ ARTICLES
The Infallible Prosecutor: Google it
10,000 innocent people convicted each year
Scalia’s death row lunacy: Google it
Most registered sex offenders are innocent
http://www.wikipedia.org
Type censorship in the U.S. in the search box
IF YOU DON’T KNOW YOUR RIGHTS
YOU DON’T HAVE ANY
Jury nullification: A fundamental right!

Indiana Constitution: Article1: Section 19:
In all criminal cases whatever, the jury shall have the right to determine the law and the facts. The 9th and 10th amendments to the constitution of the United States means the same thing.

An unjust law is not a law at all and any person charged with violating an unjust law has not violated any law and should be found not guilty simply because the law is unjust!
WE MUST PROTECT OUR CONSTITUTIONS

Chris Rhodes (profile) says:

Minor Nitpick

Why? The court basically says that it’s “against public policy” to require a warrant:

Not technically accurate. Any fruits of an illegal search would still be (in a non-insane world like ours) inadmissible in court.

The decision “only” said that the serfs can’t resist during the time period that their rights are being violated, and must submit for their own safety in the face of any expected police brutality that is sure to come. Later, when the threat of being beaten to death by a police officer is no longer present, they can spend their life savings on a lawyer to bring a complaint forward against the officers that will then be heard and decided on by the friends of said police officers.

But technically, officers still require a warrant if they want to use what they find in court. If they just want to keep any loot for themselves through civil forfeiture (“Can you prove that you didn’t buy your wife these earrings with drug money? No? Great! Now I don’t have to shop for an anniversary present!”), presumably that’s okay.

DCX2 says:

Re: Minor Nitpick

Any fruits of an illegal search would still be (in a non-insane world like ours) inadmissible in court.

I doubt it. They’ll unlawfully enter the premises based on the exigent circumstances created by knocking on the door.

Later, when the threat of being beaten to death by a police officer is no longer present, they can spend their life savings on a lawyer to bring a complaint forward against the officers that will then be heard and decided on by the friends of said police officers.

Some of your post includes a bit of excessive rhetoric…but this part is spot on. Your only hope would be to appeal the ruling and spend more of your life savings to get before a judge that is not friends with the officers.

Nathan F (profile) says:

Wow.. I’m dumbfounded. I’m not even sure where to begin much less end. Normally I would take a wait and see and hope the SCOTUS would knock it down faster then lightning strikes, but considering this move is in reply to the recent ruling.

*sigh* once they put it in action, and other states see it going through unchecked I fear the practice will spread.

Anonymous Coward says:

I don’t particularly like that Indiana Supreme Court ruling, but saying it “effectively legalizes the ability of law enforcement to enter any home without a warrant” is just a blatant misrepresentation.

The only issue was whether the homeowner had a right to physically resist such illegal entry, not whether the entry was legal.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

That’s just not true. If any evidence seized is inadmissible and you could sue the PD for violating your rights, there is a disincentive for the cops to enter illegally.

I’m not saying that *should* be the only option for a homeowner, but this hysterical misinterpretation of the opinion doesn’t help anyone.

DCL says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

If you can’t physically resist a search (I am not talking about a violent resistance… just a physical act such as keeping your door closed) then how do you resist a search?

Where as the example is a bit of an extreme position down the slippery slope the base problem exists… when you give due process to those on the ground in the moment they tend to loose sight of the bigger picture. The framers were very explicit in the 4th amendment to prevent you from loosing your liberty…. didn’t you ever see Judge Dredd movie?

Now replace the word ‘Door’ with ‘Locked safe’ or ‘Car’ or ‘hard drive’ or ‘sphincter’

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Well, the case here was a violent resistance, in the sense that the guy started trying to push the cop out of his entry and they ended up wrestling (if I recall correctly).

This case isn’t about whether you open your door or not, and it’s not about whether the search was legal or illegal.

This case is only about whether your are allowed to assault an officer to prevent him from making an illegal entry.

DCL says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

If you have a cop in your entry and you want him off your property because he doesn’t have a warrant how do you get him off your property?

You can ask nice but cops are trained to be assertive and take the steps they perceive as being needed by the circumstances and available to them.

Push can easily comes to shove… when one group is being assertive and the other feeling defensive and backed into a corner.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

Unfortunately, in Indiana, you ask him to leave, explain that what he’s doing is illegal since he doesn’t have a warrant, and if he doesn’t, you sue the department after the fact.

I mean, that’s probably the best course of action even if you have a legal right to physically resist, since you would be risking your life and the lives of your family members if you start a physical confrontation with an armed police officer.

Anonymous Coward says:

As a current Hoosier (well, boilermaker, but still...)

As a current resident of this state, I can easily say that there is absolutely no common sense in our state government. None. Zilch. Nada. That is why I believe our governor has a halfway decent chance at entering the presidential election…which genuinely scares me.

Fortunately, as far as police go, the Sheriff you quoted is on the low end of the spectrum as far as average intelligence goes. At least in the parts of the state that I’ve been in (which, admittedly, do not go much further south than Indianapolis), the cops have been generally well-mannered and intelligent.

Please excuse me now while I try to find a decent place to move to after graduation. I hear Antarctica is relatively nice, if you can live with cold…

Chris Rhodes (profile) says:

Re: 3rd amendment next?

Too true. Eventually they are going to run out of really sexy amendments to tear down, and are going to have to start looking at tearing down some of the less-sexy ones too.

“These men risked their lives for freedom; are you really going to deny them room and board for a couple months while they get back on their feet?”

Anonymous Coward says:

I wonder if hearing a weapon being loaded is exigent. If they bust down your door and you weren’t doing anything wrong for them to enter, who’s fear of mortal safety is more legal?
Once again a parinoid schitzophrenic police officer can go anywhere and shoot anything legally. Only other person that can go anywhere like that is someone on fire.

hegemon13 says:

Re: Re: dangerous

Oh, please. The neo-con establishment condones virtually unlimited executive power, military expansionism, and corporate welfare. The problem is not Democrat or Republican, Liberal or Conservative (in it’s current neo-con form). The problem is that both sides see the federal government as the ultimate solution to a problem, whether foreign or domestic. Our two choices are really one: the authoritarian state.

I generally would prefer to stump for principles rather than a specific candidate, but this time I will make an exception. There is actually a guy in the race that will make a difference. I won’t tell you to vote for Ron Paul. I will tell you to listen to him, read him (in context!), and consider what he has to say. At that point, I won’t have to tell you who to vote for. The choice will be obvious.

jakerome (profile) says:

Suspicious story

Checking out the original story, it’s apparently based entirely on a single phone interview and does not even offer a direct quote from the Sheriff in question. Given the paraphrasing of the journalist, it sure sounds damning. But without a clear statement from the sheriff, or at least a better description of the phone interview (i.e., showing the Q & A that led to the alleged statement), I think it’s more likely that this article is the byproduct of some journalistic biases, sloppy reporting and a irritated sheriff rather than an actual policy developed by the county.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Suspicious story

Hello thank you for linking to my article on SmArgus.com

As it relates to the legal ramifications of this Indiana Supreme Court ruling, my analysis was validated by several law enforcement sources and a Constitutional attorney. Supreme Court Justice David in writing the MAJORITY opinion did so in a manner that went outside the matters presented in BARNES v. STATE of INDIANA.

When he wrote “MODERN” legalese for (post-PATRIOT-Act) jurisprudence that Hoosiers may not resist UNLAWFUL entry, with the stroke of a pen he decreed the ability for law enforcement to conduct random house to house searches.

In order to appreciate the full gravity of the ruling, we must understand exactly what UNLAWFUL ENTRY means in the legal sense.Telephone any police chief and ask what does UNLAWFUL ENTRY MEAN; you will get an answer that states an UNLAWFUL ENTRY is any search of PRIVATE PROPERTY without PROBABLE CAUSE or WARRANT.

Therefore if neither PROBABLE CAUSE nor a WARRANT must be issued, it is left to the arbitrary whims of the department or officer on the scene.

Further as it relates to the inferences that this story is phony, all I can offer is that I have been publishing for 3 years, in that time never once have any of my articles ever received a LIBEL DEMAND RETRACTION LETTER from the facts presented therein.

Furthermore, Mike Church who retained my services as a Contributing Editor & Publisher, would not risk Libel litigation (nor his contract with Sirius/XM) by allowing libelous news reports to be published anywhere on his site which directly tied to the Sirius/XM show. (The article was originally drafted for MikeChurch.com where it also currently resides.)

Thus, you have my word as the author that the following is all true:

a.) I telephoned the Newton County Sheriff’s Department on May 16th, 2011 and asked his secretary to speak with Sheriff Hartman since he as Sheriff is the highest-constitutionally-elected law enforcement officer in the state.

b.) Sheriff Hartman was asked if UNLAWFUL entry by law enforcement means entry without PROBABLE CAUSE or WARRANT. He indicated that is the definition of UNLAWFUL ENTRY.

c.) I then asked the Sheriff if he was familiar with the BARNES v. STATE of INDIANA ruling by the Indiana Supreme Court, to which he replied “yes.”

c.) When asked what would then stop police from conducting random searches, he indicated to me that he would “follow the law as decided by the Indiana Supreme Court.”

d.) I then asked again if this meant he felt he could conduct random searches without Probable Cause or warrant to which he replied, “if the Supreme Court has said Hoosiers cannot resist, I follow the law. If that means we can conduct random searches then we will if needed”

e.) Sheriff Hartman was then asked about whether he felt his oath to the Indiana State Constitution Section 11. was superior to the Indiana Supreme Court ruling to which he responded in a annoyed fashion, “Ma’am, I have already told you twice, if the supreme court says Hoosier cannot resist, then that is the law.”

f.) I then asked if he saw any benefit to conducting Random Searches, to which he replied, “the people would be happy to have random searches if it means the capture of a criminal.”

I thanked him for his time we hung up the telephone and utterly astounded at what he told me, immediately began to draft the article.

Allison Bricker

Jan Bilek (profile) says:

OMG!

I grew up in east-european totalitarian communist regime… and I always looked up to the paradise of freedom and respect to human rights – United States of America.

It’s kind of sad to see that my home country now seems to be better and much more free place to live than the USA – not because my country got so much better but because your country got so much worse. What is going on, guys? How come that now the land of freedom does not seem so much different than China when it comes to respect to human rights? When are you going to do something about it?

I tell you… I remember one revolution and it felt really good;-)

Steve R. (profile) says:

Re: OMG!

What is especially sad is that in the 1960s and 1970 the youth of this country stood-up for freedom. Now many of these same people are in positions of national leadership. Instead of using their leadership positions to foster freedom, the US is increasingly becoming a police state in the name of fighting terrorism, drugs, and piracy. Due process is vaporizing.

Jan Bilek (profile) says:

Re: Re: OMG!

Yes, I do live in my home country and no, it isn’t the US. But…

1. I’ve been to the US, I’ve spent important part of my life there, I’ve met many friends there and I love that country. That’s why I am sad.

2. The US still has the great power and can exercise its influence all over the world. There are many of us, who are not American citizens and have no influence over your politicians… but whatever you let them do will have impact on us. That’s what makes me worried.

Steevo says:

Local coverage

Here’s a link to a blog post from a local radio host. The host (Abdul) has a law degree and I believe he has passed the bar in Indiana. I’m not sure if he is a practicing lawyer, or whatever other minutia is required, but he at least has a pretty good idea of the law.

http://www.wxnt.com/pages/1622896.php?itmBlogDomainUrl=http://abdul-wxnt.itmblog.com/2011/05/18/4th-amendment-follies/

Jon B. (profile) says:

The Kentucky ruling was broad and stupid, and SCOTUS was right to overturn it.

This Indiana ruling is also broad and stupid, and SCOTUS should overturn it.

The idea that you can’t protect your property from trespassers as long as the trespassers are cops is wrong.

I do agree that “common law” shouldn’t be able to override written policy, but saying that’s what happened here is plain wrong.

anymouse (profile) says:

Is it still legal to kill trespassers in some states?

I seem to recall that it used to be perfectly legal to kill trespassers if the homeowner felt ‘imminent danger’ to their person (or something similar).

Don’t injure them and let them get away (or they will sue, and they will win), and make sure they are completely in the window before you shoot, so they don’t fall out of the house (their relatives will sue, and probably win)….

What is this country coming to? Back in the USSR…. Would probably be better than here (if there still was a USSR).

Oh well, off to make another tinfoil beanie…

TheStupidOne says:

I wish I was

I wish I was a police officer in Indianapolis … I would begin by very throughly searching every judge’s home, then every legislators, then the governor, and every other government official. I might get to make an arrest or two on some minor charges before I get fired, but with any luck they would reverse this ruling before long.

PRMan (profile) says:

Re: Update the Story, TechDirt!

From the statement, for those who cannot get to it:

“I informed her that
searches were only conducted with a warrant, probable cause or when an officer is in hot
pursuit.”

“This State Supreme Court ruling in my
opinion cannot override our U.S. Constitutional Rights and I?m sure this state ruling will
be revisited. “

“Somewhere in this conversation things were definitely taken out of context.
I’m now quoted as saying the Sheriff’s Office will be conducting random house to house searches.”

“I want the citizens of Newton County to rest assured that no member of the Newton County
Sheriff?s Office will enter the property of another person without first having a warrant or
probable cause to do so. I strongly stand behind my oath to uphold the Constitution of the
United States of America, as well as that of the State of Indiana.”

Jake says:

You know, some of these comments have succeeded in creeping me out worse than the actual article. Illegal searches are unpleasant, demeaning and intimidating, but they do not justify the use of violence. If you fall victim of this, lawyer up and get your story in the papers; it’ll work better and you won’t have killed some poor bastard who was just trying not to get fired.

Stan T. says:

Good Christian citizens do as they're told.

If you don’t allow a peace officer to enter your home when asked you are most likely a child molester, drug dealer, illegal immigrant, terrorist sympathizer or communist. Hopefully with some due surveillance you’ll be caught slipping up and will be arrested.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re:

While it may appear otherwise, this case is not about the 4th Amendment. It is only an interpretation of Indiana law that does not have constitutional dimensions

I love how you think that because you *say* something is so, but refuse to back it up, that it must be so.

Needless to say, you are incorrect. But since you won’t explain your position, I won’t explain why you’re wrong.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Why not review analyses containted in legal publications before jumping the gun?

Again, for emphasis, this is not a 4th Amendment case, though at first glance it may appear to be so. However, upon analysis it quickly becomes apparent that this case is about a matter of Indiana common law, and not the 4th Amendment, as applied to the states via the 14th Amendment.

It is the “holding” of a case that defines the true import of a court decision, and not “dicta” that may appear in the decision that is not germane to the “holding”.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Could you be any more pompous?

Your description of this case is inaccurate on many levels, one of which I pointed out above, and this happens to be another one.

The majority’s opinion is about the common law right to physically resist an illegal search/entry into your home by a police officer.

It doesn’t change one bit what is or is not an illegal entry/search under the 4th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

One of the dissenting opinions claims that the case *was* about whether the entry was illegal in the first place, in language that does not make any sense to me, but since the majority’s opinion (i.e., the law) makes no statements about whether the entry was or was not illegal (and seems to presume that it was for purposes of the argument), the opinion doesn’t change anything w/r/t what is or is not illegal under the 4th Amendment.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

Merely FYI, this case was presented a week ago by Orin Kerr at The Volokh Conspiracy site. Even among lawyers the comments were scattershot, so it is no surprise the same has taken place here. Orin did, however, try and keep the discussion on point by explaining in clear and consise terms why this is an Indiana law case, and not one under the 4th Amendment.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

I am not a fan either, but I believe the majority did raise two points that were noteworthy.

First, whether you are right or wrong, fighting the police is almost always not a wise idea given what they have as hardware and you do not. Throw hot tempers on both sides into the mix and the situation rapidly turns volatile, perhaps even deadly.

Second, the common law arose at a time when citizens did not have any effective recourse for unlawful action by the police. That has changed markedly, though it is still an uphill struggle in many cases to ultimately prevail.

I am not a criminal lawyer, so I found it of interest when the majority referred to the Model Penal Code that it stated has been adopted in the vast majority of states and which does not include the right at common law.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Re:

You seem to be under the impression that I have disagreed with you somewhere.

Any way, as I stated further up in the comments, I agree it’s not a good idea to get into a physical confrontation with an armed police officer, regardless of whether you have a legal right to do so.

onchu says:

Way to Sensationalize

“The court basically says that it’s ‘against public policy’ to require a warrant.”

No, it doesn’t. Not even close. What the court said is that you don’t have the right to assault or otherwise physically prevent an officer from entering your home illegally. That doesn’t mean the 4th no longer applies.

Any evidence found from such an entry would still be inadmissible in court, they still wouldn’t be protected from a lawsuit, you can still file a complaint, and they can still be punished or fired.

[A] right to resist an unlawful police entry into a home is against public policy and is incompatible with modern Fourth Amendment jurisprudence. Nowadays, an aggrieved arrestee has means unavailable at common law for redress against unlawful police action. E.g., Warner, [The Uniform Arrest Act, 28 Va. L. Rev. 315, 330 (1942)] (citing the dangers of arrest at common law?indefinite detention, lack of bail, disease-infested prisons, physical torture?as reasons for recognizing the right to resist); State v. Hobson, 577 N.W. 2d 825, 835?36 (Wis. 1998) (citing the following modern developments: (1) bail, (2) prompt arraignment and determination of probable cause, (3) the exclusionary rule, (4) police department internal review and disciplinary procedure, and (5) civil remedies).

Anonymous Coward says:

My freedom is too big

You see, this is a huge boon. You may disagree, but you’d be wrong.

Imagine your freedom was a huuuuuge apple orchard. BIG FREEDOM! 500 acres of freedom. Sounds pretty good, right? But now think about protecting all that freedom – How would you even do that? You could spend all day patrolling your freedom, and it would still be easy for anyone to come in and start ruining it. Or just burn it down!!!

You could build a wall around it, and install cameras and hire guards. That would take a lot of money. A lot.

NOW, imagine your freedom is REALLY tiny. Like an apple seed! How easy would it be to keep that safe? SUPER EASY! Put it in your pocket, a safe deposit box or a locket! So simple, doesn’t cost you a dime if you are clever.

We should be grateful that we are saving a tremendous amount of time and money normally spent protecting our freedom now!

Anonymous Coward says:

This case assumes that the 4th Amendment has been trampled upon and violated in the worst possible way. The cops broke the law and did violence to the 4th Amendment.

However, violation of the 4th Amendment was not the issue presented to the Indiana Supreme Court. The issue was whether or not, even if police made a completely illegal entry, did Indiana state law countenance a person in the residence getting into a “fight” with the police?

This is why I have stated that this case is not about the 4th Amendment. It is, no more and no less, what actions may a person within a residence engage in in dealing with police once they have entered a residence, even illegally?

Will there later be a price to be paid by the police at a later date for having illegally gained entrance? Yes, the 4th Amendment demands no less. Hence, the 4th Amendment remains unchanged.

Rekrul says:

This is why I have stated that this case is not about the 4th Amendment. It is, no more and no less, what actions may a person within a residence engage in in dealing with police once they have entered a residence, even illegally?

So if someone is sleeping with a cop’s wife and cop barges into this guy’s house to assault him, he’s not allowed to defend himself?

Will there later be a price to be paid by the police at a later date for having illegally gained entrance? Yes, the 4th Amendment demands no less. Hence, the 4th Amendment remains unchanged.

Yes, I’m sure it will be a really high price, like a one-week suspension! That’ll teach ’em!

countycrusaders says:

this guy is back peddling….the reprorter was to have asked the alleged sheriff 3 TIMES if what he told her was correct before ending the conversation adn he allegedly aggred. we do NOT believe in anyway sahpe or fomer that ANYTHING was taken out of context further more PLEASE look at this mans past REPUTATION:
these two links help wrap it up! we believe there are Deputies who would arrest the ?alleged Sheriff? only that jeff drinski the prosecuting attorney and the judge are in COLLUSION with Hartman! OTHERWISE why would’nt they just DO THEIR JOB! http://countycrusaders.angelfire.com/emergencyletter http://countycrusaders.angelfire.com/forcedentry
this ?alleged Sheriff? has a long History…along with the local legal staff…..bilking and pilfering money from VICTIMS OF CRIMES! read about it http://countycrusaders.wordpress.com/

Todd Slee (user link) says:

4th Amendment

People should be totally enraged about this. Anyone whom supports any ruling which undermines the Constitution should be arrested for treason. They want to take our guns, and then try to make us believe that warrantless searches are for our safety, when a long tom already ensures a homeowner’s safety? The cops don’t do their jobs right much of the time to begin with. If a criminal gets past my outside watchdogs, then my inside Dobe, then my 12 gauge, then I guess I’ll be carried by six. I don’t need big brother babysitting me. They’re liars & nazis.

back home in kentucky says:

warrantless serch

GET OUT NOW!!!!!!!!! That is what this law abiding citizen did. I fell pray to the Jeffersonville police department and their nazi crimes. They totally fabricated a report and entered my home illegally. They found nothing so they had to make something up……. The case has been dismissed>……….Leave Indiana now of get new people in power to stop this unethical practice…..

Anonymous Coward says:

What's next?

That might be a bad idea, depending on the local indecent exposure laws, which are quite likely to be insane. (Of course, all rooms in the house need to be watched, including bathrooms, and if you’re naked in front of the camera, you’ll just have to rely on police discretion – have you contributed to the police social fund?)

ISTR there is one state in the US where a person naked in their own home can be prosecuted for indecent exposure if they can be seem from the street while a person in the street looking at a naked person in a private home can be prosecuted as a peeping tom.

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