Free Markets, Free People

Indiana Supreme Court


Observations: The QandO Podcast for 15 May 11

In this podcast, Bruce, Michael, and Dale discuss the Indiana Supreme Court’s Ruling on the 4th Amendment, and this week’s political stories.

The direct link to the podcast can be found here.

Observations

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Stunning court decision in Indiana–Hoosiers have no right to resist illegal police entry into their home

No, you read it right.  That’s what the Indiana Supreme Court decided in what would be a laughable finding if it wasn’t so serious:

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.

The author of the story reporting this is right – somehow the ISC managed, in one fell swoop, to overturn almost 900 years of precedent, going back to the Magna Carta.

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. [emphasis mine]

Or said another way, your home is no longer your castle. 

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

Bzzzzzt.

Wrong – in Indiana

"We believe … a right to resist an unlawful police entry into a home is against public policy and is incompatible with modern Fourth Amendment jurisprudence," David said. "We also find that allowing resistance unnecessarily escalates the level of violence and therefore the risk of injuries to all parties involved without preventing the arrest."

David said a person arrested following an unlawful entry by police still can be released on bail and has plenty of opportunities to protest the illegal entry through the court system.

What part of “unlawful” doesn’t Justice David understand?  What part of the right of the people to “be secure… shall not be violated” wasn’t taught to him in law school.

How secure is anyone in their “persons, houses, papers and effects” if, per David, a police officer can waltz in any home he wants to “for any reason or no reason at all?”

The given reason by the so-called Justice is resistance is “against public policy?”  What freakin’ policy is that?  I , for whatever reason, thought our public policy as regards our homes was set by the 4th amendment to the Constitution.  Since when does Indiana’s “public policy” abrogate the Constitutional right to be “secure in our persons, houses, papers and effects”?

And, from where I sit, it is the job of the police not to “escalate the level of violence”, not the homeowner.  You know, like maybe a polite knock on a door to attempt arrest instead of a battering ram and the violent entry of a full SWAT team to arrest a jaywalker.  Maybe a little pre-raid intelligence gathering, or snagging the alleged perp when he leaves the house to go to work, or walk the dog, or go to the store.

I swear, this sort of thing lights a fast fuse in me.

Now we’re to give up our rights because it might “elevate the violence” if we attempt to protect ourselves from unlawful activity.   And check out this pinhead’s “analysis”:

Professor Ivan Bodensteiner, of Valparaiso University School of Law, said the court’s decision is consistent with the idea of preventing violence.

"It’s not surprising that they would say there’s no right to beat the hell out of the officer," Bodensteiner said. "(The court is saying) we would rather opt on the side of saying if the police act wrongfully in entering your house your remedy is under law, to bring a civil action against the officer."

So we’ll just throw out your 4th amendment right to satisfy the court’s desire to “prevent violence?”

Screw you Justice David (and the other two Justices) and the horse you rode in on. 

I hope your decision is destroyed on appeal and if you’re in an elected office you become very “insecure” in your probability of staying there.

The two dissenting Justices got it mostly right:

Justice Robert Rucker, a Gary native, and Justice Brent Dickson, a Hobart native, dissented from the ruling, saying the court’s decision runs afoul of the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

"In my view the majority sweeps with far too broad a brush by essentially telling Indiana citizens that government agents may now enter their homes illegally — that is, without the necessity of a warrant, consent or exigent circumstances," Rucker said. "I disagree."

Rucker and Dickson suggested if the court had limited its permission for police entry to domestic violence situations they would have supported the ruling.

But Dickson said, "The wholesale abrogation of the historic right of a person to reasonably resist unlawful police entry into his dwelling is unwarranted and unnecessarily broad."

I say mostly right because they indicated that in the case of domestic violence, they too were willing to throw the 4th amendment under the bus. 

How in the freakin’ hell can you say “it runs afoul of the Fourth Amendment” and then agree to a partial abrogation of the 4th under certain circumstances?

Oh, and just to point out that this likely isn’t an outlier for this crew:

This is the second major Indiana Supreme Court ruling this week involving police entry into a home.

On Tuesday, the court said police serving a warrant may enter a home without knocking if officers decide circumstances justify it. Prior to that ruling, police serving a warrant would have to obtain a judge’s permission to enter without knocking.

Because, you know, it would be just asking too much to have to have the police actually justify a no-knock entrance to a judge, wouldn’t it?

Amazing.

And you wonder why you have to protect your rights daily from attacks within?

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO