A Residence With Locking Doors And A Working Toilet Is All That's Needed To Justify A No-Knock Warrant

from the In-Every-Dream-Home,-a-SWAT-raid dept

No-knock warrants have become the strategy of first choice for many police departments. Most of these target those suspected of drug possession or sales, rather than the truly dangerous situations they should be reserved for. The rise in no-knock warrants has resulted in an increased number of deadly altercations. Cops have been shot in self-defense by residents who thought their homes were being invaded by criminals. Innocent parties have been wounded or killed because the element of surprise police feel is so essential in preventing the destruction of evidence puts cops -- often duded up in military gear -- into a mindset that demands violent reaction to any perceived threat. In these situations, the noise and confusion turns everything into a possible threat, even the motions of frightened people who don't have time to grasp the reality -- and severity -- of the situation.

No-knock warrants are basically SWATting, with cops -- rather than 13-year-old gamers -- instigating the response. Judges should be holding any no-knock warrant request to a higher standard and demand more evidentiary justification for the extreme measure -- especially considering the heightened probability of a violent outcome. But they don't.

A Massachusetts court decision posted by the extremely essential FourthAmendment.com shows just how little it takes to obtain a no-knock warrant. The probable cause provided to obtain the no-knock warrant was ridiculous, but it wasn't challenged by the magistrate who signed off on the request. What's detailed here should raise concerns in every citizen.

The affidavit supporting the warrant contained the following representations: 1) the extensive training and experience in drug investigations, controlled purchases and arrests of the officer who made the affidavit, 2) the confidential informant's report that the apartment for which a warrant was sought was "small, confined and private," 3) the confidential informant's report that the defendant "keeps his door locked and admits only people whom he knows," 4) the fact that the defendant sold drugs to the informant only after arrangements were made by telephone, and 5) the officer's assessment that, given the retail nature of the defendant's operation and the fragile nature of the illegal drugs involved, "it would not be difficult for [the defendant] to destroy the narcotics if given the forewarning."
In other words, if you have a "private" home with working toilets and locks and you don't routinely allow complete strangers to wander around your home, you, too, could be subjected to a no-knock warrant. This description fits pretty much every person who lives in a residence anywhere. All it takes is an officer's "upon information and belief" statement and a few assertions from a confidential informant, whose otherwise unreliable narration (if, say, he/she was facing charges in court) is routinely treated as infallible by cops and courts alike.

The appeals court may have pointed out how ridiculous this warrant application is, but its statements are far removed from the time and place the application was submitted, approved and served. So, the courts still provide an avenue of recourse, but this decision does nothing to prevent cops from using the same specious assertions to obtain no-knock warrants in the future.

In fact, this decision possibly makes the situation worse. The court notes that many of the assertions made by the police in support of the no-knock application aren't solely applicable to the presumed destruction of evidence. The apartment's "small size" would supposedly make it "easier" for the suspect to destroy evidence during the serving of a normal warrant. The court points out that the limited confines would also make it easier for officers to find and apprehend the suspect before such destruction could take place. It also points out that a locked door isn't just a thing people use to keep cops out. They also use it to keep other criminals out, like burglars.

But in the end, the evidence obtained by the no-knock search remained unsuppressed. Even though the warrant application made a bunch of broad assertions that could conceivably cover every private residence, the defects in the paperwork couldn't overcome the court's willingness to cut the PD some slack.
Applying these principles to the present circumstances, we conclude that suppression is not warranted. The police did not act unilaterally; they properly applied for a warrant, requested a no-knock provision and submitted an affidavit setting forth all the available and relevant facts known to them. While we conclude as a matter of law that they did not ultimately provide sufficient basis for the issuance of the warrant in that form, the police did not act in bad faith, and the defendant makes no such claim. Having obtained the warrant, they observed its strictures.
The "good faith exception" triumphs again. Police officers don't need to know if the law they're trying to enforce is even on the books, nor do they have to provide actual probable cause to obtain a warrant. They just have to "reasonably" believe they're in the right, and wait for a court to back up their beliefs. Faith-based policing means every citizen needs to follow the letter and spirit of wholly imaginary laws, and subject themselves to whatever powers law enforcement officers "reasonably believe" they have.

This decision changes nothing. In fact, it makes things worse for Massachusetts residents. Cops can still obtain warrants using almost nothing in the way of probable cause, and when challenged in court, rely on judges to uphold the belief that officers always "try their best" --- even when it appears they barely tried at all.


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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Apr 2015 @ 9:35pm

    I wouldn't trust the "good faith" of an adrenaline-amped gun-junkie with a badge any more than I would trust the "good faith" of an evangelical Christian who thinks God told them to harass me in order to save my soul.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Apr 2015 @ 9:58pm

    Let's play Cops and Lawyers

    - "So officer, you entered the suspects home without a warrent?"
    - "Yes. He had a toilet"
    - "uhh okaay... Then you proceeded to shoot the suspect 427 times. Why?"
    - "He went for my gun"
    - "But he was 30 paces away at the time... how could he go for your gun?"
    - "He looked at it. My considerable experience told me he was going to run over to me, take it and shoot me and my 28 colleagues present"
    - "Okay. Fair enough. Case dismissed"

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 24 Apr 2015 @ 5:06am

      Re: Let's play Cops and Lawyers

      You forgot to mention that
      "the defendant keeps his door locked and admits only people whom he knows"
      The horror!!!1111

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    David, 23 Apr 2015 @ 11:49pm

    Good faith?

    The good faith argument will also apply for an officer shooting an unarmed person in the back from a distance. After all, if grand juries repeatedly refuse to indict for such circumstances, if the possibility of such circumstances does not even rise to the level of judicial investigation, then a cop must assume in good faith that this is what is expected from him in the line of duty: execute the guys he does not relish seeing again.

    He can in good faith expect that his ass will be covered.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Cal, 24 Apr 2015 @ 9:45am

      Re: Good faith?

      "...if grand juries repeatedly refuse to indict for such circumstances...)

      Grand Juries as they are being used as government tools are not the Lawful and REQUIRED Grand Juries here in America. It IS part of the dumbing down of the people.

      Grand Juries are OUR, "We the People's", tools, not a part of any branch - state or federal - including the judicial branch. But because the people themselves (who make u the Grand Juries) do not know this, they are told by those who serve within our government how they must judge, what they are ALLOWED to consider, etc.

      That makes EVERY Grand Jury indictment false and unlawful.

      Read and learn PLEASE, America needs you (generic "you") to be educated enough to know what is allowed and not allowed.

      Grand Juries are OUR tool to be used to investigate, and to prosecute.

      US Constitution, Article 1, Fifth Amendment: “No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury,..."

      “The grand jury is mentioned in the Bill of Rights, but not in the body of the Constitution. It has not been textually assigned, therefore, to any of the branches described in the first three Articles. It is a constitutional fixture in its own right. In fact the whole theory of its function is that it belongs to no branch of the institutional government, serving as a kind of buffer or referee between the Government and the people”.

      “Thus, citizens have the unbridled right to empanel their own grand juries and present “True Bills” of indictment to a court, which is then required to commence a criminal proceeding. Our Founding Fathers presciently thereby created a “buffer” the people may rely upon for justice, when public officials, including judges, criminally violate the law.” (Misbehavior, “Good Behaviour” requirement)

      “The grand jury is an institution separate from the courts, over whose functioning the courts do not preside, we think it clear that, as a general matter at least, no such “supervisory” judicial authority exists. The “common law” of the Fifth Amendment demands a traditional functioning grand jury.”

      “Although the grand jury normally operates, of course, in the courthouse and under judicial auspices, its institutional relationship with the judicial branch has traditionally been, so to speak, at arm’s length. Judges’ direct involvement in the functioning of the grand jury has generally been confined to the constitutive one of calling the grand jurors together and administering their oaths of office. The grand jury’s functional independence from the judicial branch is evident both in the scope of its power to investigate criminal wrongdoing, and in the manner in which that power is exercised.”

      “The grand jury ‘can investigate merely on suspicion that the law is being violated, or even because it wants assurance that it is not.’ It need not identify the offender it suspects, or even “the precise nature of the offense” it is investigating. The grand jury requires no authorization from its constituting court to initiate an investigation, nor does the prosecutor require leave of court to seek a grand jury indictment. And in its day-to-day functioning, the grand jury generally operates without the interference of a presiding judge. It swears in its own witnesses and deliberates in total secrecy.”

      “Recognizing this tradition of independence, we have said the 5th Amendment’s constitutional guarantee presupposes an investigative body ‘acting independently of either prosecuting attorney or judge”

      “Given the grand jury’s operational separateness from its constituting court, it should come as no surprise that we have been reluctant to invoke the judicial supervisory power as a basis for prescribing modes of grand jury procedure. Over the years, we have received many requests to exercise supervision over the grand jury’s evidence-taking process, but we have refused them all. “it would run counter to the whole history of the grand jury institution” to permit an indictment to be challenged “on the ground that there was incompetent or inadequate evidence before the grand jury.” Justice Antonin Scalia writing for the majority said In the Supreme Court case of United States v. Williams, 112 S.Ct. 1735, 504 U.S. 36, 118 L.Ed.2d 352 (1992)

      The Preamble to the US Constitution says, “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

      This means that the people themselves are the last word on all of those who serve within the branches of our governments, though that “last word” must also be “in Pursuance thereof” the US Constitution.

      It is important to understand that judges do NOT hold their office for life. They hold it for "life" as long as they use "Good Behaviour" in the courtrooms.

      US Constitution, Article III, Section 1: "The judicial Power of the United States shall be vested in one supreme Court, and in such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish. The Judges, both of the supreme and inferior Courts, shall hold their Offices during good Behaviour,..."

      All that is going on within our nation is OUR fault.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 24 Apr 2015 @ 12:02pm

        Re: Re: Good faith?

        I like to word it all this way.

        Serving as a Juror is your 3rd, but MOST important vote.

        With it you have a chance to stick it to the man! That is where you put a stop to stupid laws and tyranny!

        As a Juror you not only have the responsibility of determining if the defendant is guilty of having broken a law, you also have the ability to determine if the Law, and the persons enforcing it are justified in their interpretations and actions to begin with.

        The Judge and Lawyers will FLAT OUT LIE, LIE, LIE & LIE to you and say this is not the case, but the Founding Fathers of the USA makes this damn clear!

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 24 Apr 2015 @ 12:01am

    Well that's reassuring

    So basically in that state if you live in a house with doors, that's enough to justify a no-knock raid. Oh yeah, I'm sure that'll never be abused by lazy and/or malicious cops looking to spice up their day. /s

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 24 Apr 2015 @ 12:23am

      Re: Well that's reassuring

      Wait a minute, don't most - if not all - cops live in houses with doors?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 24 Apr 2015 @ 3:17am

        Re: Re: Well that's reassuring

        "Wait a minute, don't most - if not all - cops live in houses with doors?"

        Different rules apply to cops.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Apr 2015 @ 12:08am

    A license to murder anyone the police do not like in their town

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 24 Apr 2015 @ 12:22am

    (Hit enter too soon...)

    Also, almost, if not worse than the fact that no-knock raids are now pretty much as simple to acquire as soda at a store, I'd really love to see that 'good fair exception' idea die a horrible death. The idea that as long as they thought they were operating within the law, they can pretty much do whatever they want, and it's not only excused, but their actions are retroactively legalized, pretty much negates the point of even having set laws.

    If cops can just make it up as they go along, then there's absolutely no point in them knowing the laws in the first place, and in fact they are better of remaining ignorant of the law, given that as long as they don't know for sure what is and is not legal, they can pretty much always claim after the fact that they thought they were acting within the confines of the law, whereas if they do know what is and is not legal, that excuse becomes a lot harder to pass scrutiny.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Apr 2015 @ 12:36am

    So, how do you imagine the soviet union in its last few years?
    I think it was pretty close to this without the good pr-staff.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    demodded, 24 Apr 2015 @ 12:40am

    demodder

    whats up moderator, not modding the mods modder.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Nastybutler77 (profile), 24 Apr 2015 @ 1:17am

    I'm sorry, but TD has a problem with cops using a warrant to go into a home that actually has drugs? I can understand the umbrage if they, say, threw a flash bang into a baby's crib and didn't find any drugs, but Tim glosses over #4 of the affidavit where the informant bought drugs at the home from the defendant. That seems like a big bit of information to ignore in this rant over police "overreach."

    There's plenty of stories you can find to show police behaving badly, but this doesn't seem to be one of them. How about everyone put down their pitchforks and torches for a moment, eh?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      tronkyhonkyfonk, 24 Apr 2015 @ 2:00am

      Re:

      Sorry mate youre wrong, it was brought up and found to be wanting. any police officer has to show that there is evidence of wrong doing but this affadavit only shows police belief and the informant is lying as evidenced by his previous wrong information but ignored by this police.
      whos is the dickhead now cunt hole.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 24 Apr 2015 @ 3:00am

      Re:

      The problem is the reasoning for a no-knock warrant, as opposed to a regular one, is ridiculous. Someone has a locked door and a small apartment? If those are acceptable excuses to go with a no-knock, then that opens up countless other houses to no-knock warrants, for no real reason than because they are small and their owners don't feel like leaving their doors unlocked.

      While we conclude as a matter of law that they did not ultimately provide sufficient basis for the issuance of the warrant in that form, the police did not act in bad faith

      There's also this little tidbit, where the court even seems to agree that the information provided didn't justify a no-knock raid, and yet they passed it, and the evidence gathered from it, as legal regardless.

      If the cops don't actually have to follow the law, just have a pretty good idea that they are, then the laws and restrictions they create become meaningless. Why bother knowing the law, if the court will just say 'You tried' and give you a pass after all?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 24 Apr 2015 @ 9:31am

        Re: Re:

        For cops, ignorance of the law apparently *is* an excuse.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        nasch (profile), 24 Apr 2015 @ 9:26pm

        Re: Re:

        Someone has a locked door and a small apartment?

        Also, the fact that it was a small-time dealer with small quantities of drugs that could be quickly flushed argued in favor of the no-knock warrant. So small-time low level dealers get the full SWAT treatment, while bigger operations with large quantities of drugs might get a more polite knock on the door. Then again, maybe they'll barge into that place with a tank a la Dragnet.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Just Another Anonymous Troll, 24 Apr 2015 @ 5:03am

      Re:

      No, TD has a problem with getting a warrant in where you barge into a house with your guns drawn because the guy had a working door and toilet. They also have a problem with the judge giving the cops leeway even after acknowledging they messed up and should not have gotten a no-knock warrant. Going into a house with drugs using a proper warrant is A-OK with me, and probably with Techdirt too.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 24 Apr 2015 @ 5:55am

      Re:

      No, speaking for myself, I have a problem with the apparent attitude that "the end justifies the means."

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Reality bites, 24 Apr 2015 @ 6:20am

      Informant... You mean the lying POS on the payroll?

      Every single one of them are lying to save their butt. Only psychopaths believe a word they say, why do they believe, because it gives the cowards an excuse to kill.

      Feral pigs need to be started to be treated as what they are and not what they pretend to be.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Padpaw (profile), 24 Apr 2015 @ 6:21am

      Re:

      the burden of proof should be on the police not their victim. maybe actual police work to prove its a criminal house instead of deciding on a home invasion based on what someone else said.

      Supporting this will end up with a lot more dead cops and civilians alike.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 24 Apr 2015 @ 7:27am

      Re:

      The devil is in the details. Who was the informant--an officer doing a sting, or someone facing their own drug charges? Was it pot, or heroin? Was it one use, from one purchase, or did they have evidence of a major distributor?

      In some cases there will be justification for a no-knock. But that bar needs to be very, very high, and they have to answer difficult questions. But that's not happening, they are getting rubber stamps.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 24 Apr 2015 @ 8:06am

      Re:

      Tim has to blatantly misrepresent the facts (i.e., leaving out the fact that the resident was observed engaging in criminal activity, and acting as if locked doors and the size of the apartment were the only relevant facts) to write this outrage porn article. And yet people seem to lap it up.

      Frankly, I think the drug war is terrible policy, but that doesn't make this article any better.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        John Fenderson (profile), 24 Apr 2015 @ 8:40am

        Re: Re:

        "leaving out the fact that the resident was observed engaging in criminal activity"

        I don't see how that's relevant to the discussion about no-knock warrants.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 24 Apr 2015 @ 9:20am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Really? You need probable cause of a crime being committed to get a warrant. Seems to me evidence of criminal activity is pretty relevant to meeting that standard. Moreover, the evidence that the criminal activity in question involved substances that can easily/quickly be destroyed is relevant to the "no knock" aspect of the warrant.

          But, by all means, let's just act as if everyone who lives in a small apartment and locks the door can be raided at any moment.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            John Fenderson (profile), 24 Apr 2015 @ 9:33am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            I think you're missing the point. The point isn't whether or not there was probable cause. The point is to call into question the "no-knock" method specifically.

            "the evidence that the criminal activity in question involved substances that can easily/quickly be destroyed is relevant to the "no knock" aspect of the warrant."

            Yes, that's the legal stance. But again, that's not the point. The point is if that should be the criteria for allowing no-knock. I (along with a lot of other people) maintain not only that it should not be, but that it is dangerously insane that it is.

            There is only one circumstance that no-knock should be allowed, in my opinion, and that circumstance doesn't even require a warrant: if the police become aware that someone is in immediate danger of physical harm.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 24 Apr 2015 @ 11:45am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              You are generously interpreting Tim's words, I think.

              In no world is this statement true: "In other words, if you have a "private" home with working toilets and locks and you don't routinely allow complete strangers to wander around your home, you, too, could be subjected to a no-knock warrant."

              Unless you are just ignoring the other factors that also have to be present. But if you think it's ok to ignore those factors, then it's just as "true" to say "In other words, if you are breathing, you, too, could be subjected to a no-knock warrant." This interpretation, of course, is utterly meaningless.

              It's a sensationalist article.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 24 Apr 2015 @ 5:57pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                No knock is awesome ... if you are trying to blowup a crib with a flash bang because you fear for your life from an infant.

                It must be a horrible life to be in constant fear, better just shoot or blow up everyone first and sort it out later.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 27 Apr 2015 @ 1:02am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              >There is only one circumstance that no-knock should be allowed, in my opinion, and that circumstance doesn't even require a warrant: if the police become aware that someone is in immediate danger of physical harm.

              I disagree. I can think of another circumstance off the top of my head: When violent resistance is reasonably anticipated regardless if any warrant is served. I'm not so far down the cop-hating hole that I expect one to knock on the door if they have cause to suspect they're going to get shot in the face for doing so.

              No-knocks certainly have a place. Just like SWAT teams. The problem isn't them existing, or being used, but being used for stupid inconsequential shit where they just make situations worse. Situations that call for these actions are few and far between. Or you're in Detroit >.>

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • icon
                John Fenderson (profile), 27 Apr 2015 @ 8:22am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                "I can think of another circumstance off the top of my head: When violent resistance is reasonably anticipated regardless if any warrant is served."

                I disagree. I don't think that should justify it at all. Before no-knock was a thing (remember that it's fairly recent), cops had plenty of ways of dealing with the situation without getting shot in the face. "Knocking" by the way, doesn't have to be an actual knock on the door. It could be a cop crouched behind a car with a bullhorn.

                In fact, the entire rationale for "no-knock" in the first place has nothing to do with officer safety. Which makes sense, because "no-knock" reduces officer safety. It had to do with stopping suspects from flushing drugs down the toilet.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • icon
                  Uriel-238 (profile), 27 Apr 2015 @ 10:41am

                  Classically, FBI didn't no-knock

                  Instead, if the suspect was high risk for violence or flight, he'd muster fifty guys from the local precinct to surround the building before approaching the door (in his black g-man suit) and knocking.

                  The notion was that sure you could shoot Mr. FBI in spite, but that would give the rest of the guys cause to perforate you like Bonnie and Clyde, and they would. With glee.

                  The implication of a knock was that there was still something left to talk about, that the suspect, still presumed innocent until his day in court, still a citizen of the US, was worthy of the conversation.

                  No-knock implies there's no conversation left to be had.

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 24 Apr 2015 @ 9:40am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            "Really? You need probable cause of a crime being committed to get a warrant."

            So now you're trying to pretend that there's no difference between a no-knock warrant and any other kind, huh? I suppose in your copsucker mind all warrants should be no-knock. Just for the fun of it.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 24 Apr 2015 @ 9:45am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Probable cause for warrant, check. We agree there. No knock? On the basis of the stuff can be disposed of quickly? The court disagrees with you : the law requires probable cause the evidence will be destroyed if the cops don't knock. Merely being able to destroy it is not sufficient. The ruling even says as much.

            So, by admitting the evidence anyway, they have set a precedent. The precedent is "being able to destroy evidence is sufficient to get a no knock warrant." Not legally of course, but effectively so.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 24 Apr 2015 @ 11:54am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              So, you agree that Tim's statement that having a small apartment and locking door is enough for a no-knock warrant is fearmongering bullshit not based on the facts?

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        nasch (profile), 24 Apr 2015 @ 9:28pm

        Re: Re:

        Tim has to blatantly misrepresent the facts (i.e., leaving out the fact that the resident was observed engaging in criminal activity, and acting as if locked doors and the size of the apartment were the only relevant facts)

        4) the fact that the defendant sold drugs to the informant only after arrangements were made by telephone, and 5) the officer's assessment that, given the retail nature of the defendant's operation and the fragile nature of the illegal drugs involved, "it would not be difficult for [the defendant] to destroy the narcotics if given the forewarning."

        He left out what now?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Hippiewatch, 26 Apr 2015 @ 6:16am

      Anarchic

      Of course. The tech industry was invaded by druggie hippies in the 60's and 70's, now the next gen dopers want the same bring it all down man Anarchy as well.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 26 Apr 2015 @ 6:42am

      Re:

      The question isn't whether a warrant is justified. It's whether a no-knock warrant was justified.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Rich Fiscus (profile), 24 Apr 2015 @ 3:54am

    Ignorance of the law is no excuse.... unless you're a cop.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Noneya beeswax, 24 Apr 2015 @ 4:54am

    So when the police break down the door to murder a unarmed and drug free woman that was startled trying too protect her infant son do the police pat them self on the back and call it a day? People are getting tired of the lies police tell. I been lied to 90% of the time by the cops. Actions speak louder than words.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Rich Fiscus (profile), 24 Apr 2015 @ 6:34am

      Re:

      So when the police break down the door to murder a unarmed and drug free woman that was startled trying too protect her infant son do the police pat them self on the back and call it a day?

      Don't be ridiculous. Depending on the number of police involved, it may take hours to make sure everybody's telling the same story.

      Then they pat themselves on the back and call it a day.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Ken, 24 Apr 2015 @ 4:55am

    The risk does not justify the reward

    The risk of injury or death to either law enforcement or the suspect from a potentially violent confrontation is not justified by the small reward of preserving evidence.

    There must be better ways to apprehend while still preserving evidence.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      nasch (profile), 24 Apr 2015 @ 9:31pm

      Re: The risk does not justify the reward

      There must be better ways to apprehend while still preserving evidence.

      Surely the guy leaves the house now and then. Couldn't they just wait for him?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Apr 2015 @ 5:59am

    So it is faith based policing and justice now.

    The voices told the officer to do this and he is good and faithful.


    If everyone would just have bead curtains as doors you wouldn't need no-knock warrants.

    But even if you have no toilet you could ingest the evidence so event shitting in a bucket won't preclude you from a warrant.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Pyrosf, 24 Apr 2015 @ 6:15am

    Panic room

    Logically it sounds like I need to start thinking of installing a panic room as the only legal way to protect myself from this. Only now I fear putting a toilet in the room will be grounds for the cops to use high explosives in a no knock raid in order to get to me because they encounter a security door that can't just be bashed in.

    The cops will of course never announce the fact that it's a cop raid and not some kind of armed assault till after the door is open and perhaps a good 100 rounds are put into it just to be safe.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      btr1701 (profile), 24 Apr 2015 @ 10:16am

      Re: Panic room

      > Logically it sounds like I need to start
      > thinking of installing a panic room as the
      > only legal way to protect myself from this

      It's amazing how many millions of people manage to go their whole lives never having the cops execute a raid/search warrant on their home. Unless you're actually a dealer of illicit narcotics, you have a better chance of being struck by lightning than being raided by the cops, yet you believe the only *logical* way to keep it from happening to you is to install a panic room in your home?

      It's apparent that you and logic aren't even passing acquaintances.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Reality bites, 24 Apr 2015 @ 6:24am

    Loaded gun beside the bed takes care of feral pig invasions

    The guy up in Seattle had the right idea, shoot everything that comes in the house without permission, if it moves again shoot it in the head.

    One nice thing about Florida is the castle doctrine laws, you are allowed to shoot feral animals when they invade you home.

    Simply keep a loaded gun within reach and do the world a favor and remove a bunch of parasitic feral scum from the earth.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Isma'il, 24 Apr 2015 @ 7:59am

      Re: Loaded gun beside the bed takes care of feral pig invasions

      AMEN.

      I'd suggest a Mosin rifle and a few tins of milsurp, steel-core ammo. Cheap and effective.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Donald, 24 Apr 2015 @ 7:21am

    Interesting link to the 13 year old gamer.
    Would anyone at Techdirt be forwarding an agenda?

    I especially an fascinated that a single case of a gamer admitting to a swat can condemn an entire subclass of people; however, a major article about a false rape case can be totally ignored, as it doesn't fit the same narrative.

    Keep up the questionably good work. Try to leave your progressive bias at home next time.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Apr 2015 @ 9:29am

    So the cops can use the evidence because they were acting in good faith. If they were acting in bad faith they couldn't use the evidence, and that's supposed to be incentive for them to act correctly.

    But tell me: what's the incentive for the magistrate judge to issue warrants in a correct manner?

    This guy was unquestionably guilty, but he still had his constitutional rights violated by the judge who issued a warrant that shouldn't have been issued and the police who served the warrant. He has no remedy for this whatsoever. (And that's not because he was guilty - if he was innocent he'd still have had his rights violated and would still have no remedy.)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    btr1701 (profile), 24 Apr 2015 @ 10:12am

    Good Faith

    > The "good faith exception" triumphs again.

    No, actually it didn't, Tim. What triumphed was the part that you *didn't* highlight:

    "the police did not act in bad faith,
    and THE DEFENDANT MAKES NO SUCH CLAIM."

    A court can't grant relief that's not requested. The "good faith" exception might not have triumphed if it had actually been, you know, challenged by the defense.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 24 Apr 2015 @ 11:39am

      Re: Good Faith

      The "good faith" exception might not have triumphed if it had actually been, you know, challenged by the defense.
      See footnote 5 on p.10 of the decision, which cites Commonwealth v. Hernandez (Mass. 2010)
      We have not adopted the "good faith" exception for purposes of art. 14 of the Massachusetts Declaration of Rights or statutory violations, focusing instead on whether the violations are substantial and prejudicial. See . . .
      Without reading the briefing in the current case, I nevertheless suspect that the Commonwealth did not assert the Leon GFE.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      nasch (profile), 24 Apr 2015 @ 9:36pm

      Re: Good Faith

      The "good faith" exception might not have triumphed if it had actually been, you know, challenged by the defense.

      IMO there shouldn't even be a good faith exception. There is no such exception for us.

      Ordinary person: I didn't mean to kill that guy.
      Courts: Then you're going to prison for involuntary manslaughter.

      Ordinary person: I didn't know that was illegal.
      Courts: Ignorance of the law is not a defense.

      Cop: I thought I was allowed to break down the door and charge in with my gun drawn.
      Courts: You aren't, but that's OK, we'll allow the evidence anyway.

      Cop: I thought he was armed and was going to kill me.
      Courts: He wasn't, and he wasn't, but that's OK, we won't charge you with a crime*.

      * thankfully it doesn't always go this way

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    SADistic But True, 24 Apr 2015 @ 10:50am

    Citizens are a Liability to a Government

    We are a liability to a government. What respect we think we deserve from our own government, the government has no time for. They are gearing up for a time when there will be no citizenry and it will be them against the world they attempted to overthrow.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Rekrul, 24 Apr 2015 @ 10:58am

    If I were designing my own house, it would would have a steel frame with steel crosspieces. All of the doors would also be steel, laminated with wood to appear normal and have four-way deadbolts. The house would have a brick/stone exterior and shatterproof windows with built-in sliding steel shutters.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      We See Mun, 24 Apr 2015 @ 11:08am

      Re:

      They'll just use a tank and blast through your house. You should just take that money you'd spend fortifying your house with and go find a nice island community somewhere in the mountains and build a nice wrap around porch cottage. Grow some fruit and vegetables and raise a couple goats!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 24 Apr 2015 @ 11:49am

      Re:

      You do realize that there are times when you want the emergency services, or even your neighbors to be able to break in to your house. A fort like property is more likely to kill you by preventing assistance getting to you when you are down due to fire, a fall or medical emergency that you are to be killed in a no-knock raid by the police in a more easily entered property. Assuming of course that you are not a criminal.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        mmbb (profile), 24 Apr 2015 @ 3:07pm

        Re: Re:

        Yes, that is called "exigent circumstances."

        As in if your house is on fire, an officer in pursuit witnessed (with his own eyes) a suspect entering your house, or gunshots emanate from within your house.

        Life and safety issues.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Personanongrata, 24 Apr 2015 @ 12:06pm

    Rubber Stamping Tyranny

    Arbitrary application of the law is tyranny, irregardless of the magistrates and appeals courts rubber stamping of the no-knock warrant.

    Fruit of the poisonous tree meets the courts rubber stamp and American citizens lose out again.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 24 Apr 2015 @ 12:58pm

    Is there such a think as a knock raid?

    About eight years ago, two investigators, spitting images of Friday and Webb, came to my door. I invited them in and we talked about an incident I'd never heard about. And they said they had videos of me instigating the incident.

    They left. I never saw them again.

    Is that what a knock raid looks like?

    I've not heard of any situation since the 70s in which the police serve a warrant or conduct business without a SWAT team blasting the front door with C2.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 24 Apr 2015 @ 1:05pm

      Re: Is there such a think as a knock raid?

      Wikipedia: Knock and talk

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Uriel-238 (profile), 24 Apr 2015 @ 10:02pm

        "Knock and talk" describes my experience with Friday and Webb

        But that is a pre-warrant investigation technique. Are all warrants served no-knock?

        I know a lot of them are served by SWAT team, and even recall a recent incident when a mayor was explaining that a knock warrant was when they thumped on the side of the wall before blasting your door down and tossing flashbangs into your windows.

        That was when I figured we don't serve warrants by knocking anymore.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      nasch (profile), 25 Apr 2015 @ 9:27am

      Re: Is there such a think as a knock raid?

      I invited them in and we talked about an incident I'd never heard about.

      That sounds like a bad idea.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Uriel-238 (profile), 25 Apr 2015 @ 11:14am

        It totally was a bad idea.

        As I said, they tried to convince me they had video of me committing the crime.

        I was still naïve about how police operated. To be fair, I was charmed by the Friday and Webb act.

        I've learned since how bad an idea it is to talk to the police at all, given they can lie to me (about anything!) in order to secure a conviction, and can decide that inconsistencies due to memory or misinterpretation equate to an admission of guilt.

        I'm still outraged that we teach in schools that peace officers are nice people who catch crooks (in masks with striped prison clothes), and rescue cats from trees.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Apr 2015 @ 1:59pm

    3) the confidential informant's report that the defendant "keeps his door locked and admits only people whom he knows,"

    Good thing I've bought band candy, and was nice to those polite Mormons that one chilly day.
    No no-knocks for this guy!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Agonistes, 24 Apr 2015 @ 2:30pm

    This is a no-brainer, just keep your toilets broken at all times, then any entry would be illegal.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    mmbb (profile), 24 Apr 2015 @ 3:01pm

    Dear Law Enforcement Officer,

    You may only enter my premesis under exigent circumstances or with an announced warrant. I will respond to any other entry as I deem appropriate.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Apr 2015 @ 3:06pm

    That's it

    I'm getting a serious moat and a drawbridge. Loopholes you sons of bitches!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Coyne Tibbets (profile), 24 Apr 2015 @ 5:54pm

    Confidential informant changes everything

    "the confidential informant's report that the defendant 'keeps his door locked and admits only people whom he knows,' 4) the fact that the defendant sold drugs to the informant only after arrangements were made by telephone,"

    The spoke in the tires of the argument is the report by the confidential informant. No matter how we try to beat the "no justification" argument, the presence of that report, and that, evidently, the defendant sold drugs to the informant (a sale was arranged after all).

    It is a validly controversial whether or not the warrant should have been no-knock; but there seems to me to be no disputable issue at all about whether there was probable cause for a warrant.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    GEMont (profile), 25 Apr 2015 @ 12:22am

    They don't call it a WAR on drugs for nothing...

    Until the American people set the world lead and end the war on drugs altogether, we can all expect this violent and criminal activity of the police and courts to escalate well beyond its current "militarized cops VS the unarmed public" reality.

    Drugs are a medical situation, not a criminal situation.

    The very reason that the cops are using asset forfeiture, military gear, no knock warrants and swat team mentality is due entirely to the stupid idea that you can treat drug use as a criminal problem.

    End the war on drugs today and you will rob the mob and the cops, lawyers, judges and politicians on the mob's payroll, of billions of dollars a year, and might even return a modicum of honesty and public service to law enforcement.

    ---

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    tqk (profile), 25 Apr 2015 @ 12:58am

    Eeehyah.

    1) the extensive training and experience in drug investigations, controlled purchases and arrests of the officer who made the affidavit

    I rest my case. It's all about the "War On Drugs." Terrorists trying to kill citizens, paedos trying to abuse kids, ptheh. It's all about the drug war. That's where the money is for them.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Noneya beeswax, 25 Apr 2015 @ 1:32am

    Where i lived you could set a clock to when a boy went through puberty. That's when the cops messed with them. Luckily i saw this and avoided them like the plague. When a police officer came in the community and tried community policing he told everyone why he had to leave. The boss dont want that. Its not just one cop, but the system.
    Dont believe there lies.
    I dont care if you believe me or not. That is my statement.
    They were like pedo's on underage boys.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Apr 2015 @ 10:31am

    There is ZERO justification for POLICE HOME INVASIONS.
    Welcome back to the Hitler's Third Reich.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      tqk (profile), 25 Apr 2015 @ 11:23am

      Re:

      There is ZERO justification for POLICE HOME INVASIONS.

      That's a silly thing to say. Sweeping generalizations are always wrong! :-)

      Police often do have to use force, but they're doing it way too often in the wrong way or wrong situations. When they show up at a domestic dispute or a low-level drug bust with a tank, grenades, and a squad of heavily armed and armored special forces types, that's damned questionable. Doing it because the perp might have time to flush a bit of vegetable matter just shows how nonsensical the drug war's become. This converts what might be a misdemeanour or "small felony" into a very possibly lethal confrontation.

      This is called blowback, and pretty much everybody agrees that's never a welcome phenomenon.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Uriel-238 (profile), 25 Apr 2015 @ 11:32am

      Father Christmas can't come if we haven't got a chimney.

      I hereby inform you, under powers entrusted to me under section 47, paragraph 7 of council order number 438476 that Mr. Buttle, Archibald, residing at 412 North Tower, Shangrila Towers has been invited to assist the Ministry of Information with certain inquiries and that he is liable to certain financial obligations as specified in council order RB/CZ/907/X.

      Sign here, please.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Charlie, 26 Apr 2015 @ 7:27pm

    Keep in mind that if you were to try to obtain records of this event, the police in MA would tell you that their SWAT team is incorporated as a private entity and not subject to public disclosure

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    toyotabedzrock (profile), 27 Apr 2015 @ 12:03am

    I have an idea, a camera that will look for all black and blue clothed people at the front door and lock down and dismount encrypted file volumes.

    I think it would be simple and inexpensive because of the maker movement.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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