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  1. Balzafire
    WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Monday gave police more leeway to break into homes or apartments in search of illegal drugs when they suspect the evidence might be destroyed.

    The justices said officers who smell marijuana and loudly knock on the door may break in if they hear sounds that suggest the residents are scurrying to hide the drugs.

    Residents who "attempt to destroy evidence have only themselves to blame" when police burst in, Justice Samuel Alito said for an 8-1 majority.

    In dissent, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote that she feared the ruling in a Kentucky case had handed the police an important new tool.

    "The court today arms the police with a way routinely to dishonor the Fourth Amendment's warrant requirement in drug cases," Ginsburg wrote. "In lieu of presenting their evidence to a neutral magistrate, police officers may now knock, listen, then break the door down, never mind that they had ample time to obtain a warrant."

    She said the Fourth Amendment's "core requirement" is that officers have probable cause and a search warrant before they break into a house.

    "How 'secure' do our homes remain if police, armed with no warrant, can pound on doors at will and ... forcibly enter?" Ginsburg asked.

    An expert on criminal searches agreed, saying the decision would encourage police to undertake "knock and talk" raids.

    "I'm surprised the Supreme Court would condone this, that if the police hear suspicious noises inside, they can break in," said John Wesley Hall, a criminal-defense lawyer in Little Rock, Ark. "I'm even more surprised that nearly all of them went along."

    The court in the past has insisted that homes are special preserves. As Alito said, the Fourth Amendment "has drawn a firm line at the entrance to the house." One exception to the search-warrant rule involves an emergency, such as screams coming from a house. Police also may pursue a fleeing suspect who enters a residence.

    The Kentucky case arose from a mistake. After seeing a drug deal in a parking lot, Lexington police officers rushed into an apartment complex looking for a suspect who had sold cocaine to an informant.

    But the smell of burning marijuana led them to the wrong apartment. After knocking and announcing themselves, they heard sounds that they said made them fear that evidence was being destroyed. They kicked the door in and found marijuana and cocaine but not the original suspect.

    The Kentucky Supreme Court suppressed the evidence, saying any risk of drugs being destroyed was the result of the decision by police to knock and announce themselves rather than obtain a warrant.

    The U.S. Supreme Court reversed that decision Monday, saying police had acted lawfully and that was all that mattered. The defendant, Hollis D. King, had choices other than destroying evidence, Alito wrote.

    King could have chosen not to respond to the knocking in any fashion, Alito wrote. Or he could have come to the door and declined to let the officers enter without a warrant.

    Alito took pains to say the majority was not deciding whether an emergency justifying an exception to the warrant requirement — an "exigent circumstance," in legal jargon — existed. He said the Kentucky Supreme Court "expressed doubt on this issue" and that "any question about whether an exigency actually existed is better addressed" by the state court.

    All the U.S. Supreme Court decided, Alito wrote, was when evidence must be suppressed because police had created the exigency. Lower courts had approached that question in five ways.

    The standard announced Monday, Alito wrote, had the virtue of simplicity.

    "Where, as here, the police did not create the exigency by engaging or threatening to engage in conduct that violates the Fourth Amendment," he wrote, "warrantless entry to prevent the destruction of evidence is reasonable and thus allowed."

    But "there is a strong argument," Alito added, that evidence would have to be suppressed when police did more than knock and announce themselves. In general, he wrote, "the exigent circumstances rule should not apply where the police, without a warrant or any legally sound basis for a warrantless entry, threaten that they will enter without permission unless admitted."

    Ginsburg, dissenting, said the majority had taken a wrong turn.

    "The urgency must exist, I would rule," she wrote, "when the police come on the scene, not subsequent to their arrival, prompted by their own conduct."

    The ruling was not a final loss for King. The justices said the Kentucky state court should consider again whether police faced an emergency situation in this case.

    By Tribune Washington bureau
    and The New York Times
    May 16, 2011


  1. Descartesx
    This indeed is a worrying development and one step further into a nanny state. This is going to be easy to abuse, where there is no real restraint on when the police are allowed to break into someones home..
  2. Terrapinzflyer
    more background here: Supreme Court hears case on home searches by police

    Really- I don't see this as changing much- this is not an isolated case and this type of thing has been going on for decades.

    And really- change the nature of the crime to something more reprehensible (someone destroying evidence of child abduction/rape/murder) and look at it through that lens.

    Really- the issue remains that we need to focus on changing the drug laws- not worrying about the loopholes.
  3. Balzafire
    Point #1: It changes much. Police used to need a search warrant or be granted permission to enter your home. Now all they have to do is knock, then kick the door in because they "heard" what sounded like people attempting to destroy evidence inside.... running to another room.

    Point #2: If they hear a crime in progress they can already come in. Otherwise, they need a search warrant. We have (had) a fourth amendment for a reason.

    Point #3: Good point. Absolutely. But when battling - even if its a battle for out rights, all fronts must be defended. I don't want cops kicking my door in because they think I have drugs inside. Not without a search warrant.
    Again..... I was pretty happy with the constitution as it was. It no longer affords us protection against unreasonable search and seizure.

    EDITED TO ADD: What's to keep them from kicking your door in now if they suspect you are inside consuming drugs? When you consume drugs, you are destroying evidence, you know. There are just so many bad things about this supreme court decision. It's scary. Very troubling...
  4. Terrapinzflyer
    My point was this has been a widely accepted reason used by cops for decades- this is simply the first case that has bothered going to the supreme court and that they agreed to here. there have been literally thousands of lower court rulings over the years affirming the same thing. And while this sets a nationwide legal precedent to allow such searches- it does not mean that lower court judges can not throw out such searches if they believe the case warrants.

    I should add- this is NOT giving the police a blanket tool and is not as far reaching as some may read it.-
  5. Balzafire
    Ah, ok I see what you are saying now.
    I still am freaked out about this ruling though, as it seems to go counter to our fourth amendment rights. I fear that now the cops will flagrantly abuse this ruling.
  6. trdofbeingtrd
    Well folks, give it another couple months and the date will be July 17th 1984. Honest to goodness, more and more rights are being stolen and sold. I am in no way a conspiracy theorist. However, when things are happening right before your eyes............well, feel free to look away if you wish.......I mean, you don't want to be seen as a nutjob right?

    Seriously, the U.S.A. is letting some strange things happen regarding peoples rights, if you get scared when hearing this, you should, no conspiracy needed for reality to happen.

    Regarding the point about people destroying serious stuff, I agree, however, smoking pot is a far cry from destroying evidence of child crimes, rape, murder, and kidnapping. Serious crimes need serious measures, smoking pot is not one of them.
  7. Balzafire
    Supreme Court Spits on the 4th Amendment – Warrantless Searches Now Legal

    [imgl=white]https://www.drugs-forum.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=20247&stc=1&d=1305687413[/imgl]The fourth Amendment was put into place to guarantee unwarranted search and seizures. To protect our homes, papers and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures. Looks like that all just got thrown out the window as Justice Alito incredibly remarked, “attempt to destroy evidence have only themselves to blame” something that will turn American into a unrecognizable banana republic.

    In the Incredible 8-1 ruling handed down on 5/16/2011, the United States Supreme Court basically changed the course of how police will now do business. All they need is a strange sound before tearing apart somebody’s freedoms. Nobody here is condoning illegal drug use, but there is this 800 pound gorilla called the Constitution, something that when torn in half and thrown away, should send chills down the backs of millions of Americans.

    The only dissenting Justice, Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote:

    “The court today arms the police with a way routinely to dishonor the Fourth Amendment’s warrant requirement in drug cases,” Ginsburg wrote. “In lieu of presenting their evidence to a neutral magistrate, police officers may now knock, listen, then break the door down, never mind that they had ample time to obtain a warrant.”

    She said the Fourth Amendment’s “core requirement” is that officers have probable cause and a search warrant before they break into a house.

    “How ‘secure’ do our homes remain if police, armed with no warrant, can pound on doors at will and … forcibly enter?”

    Where will this insanity stop America? Is this still the country that our forefathers gave to us some 265 years ago? Is this what they had in mind when they wrote the United States Constitution? Have Supreme court justices lost their minds? This is what happens when you have presidents in office who stack the deck, appointing these constitution benders.

    If we keep re-writing the Constitution of the United States of America, what are we going to turn into? Now all the police have to hear is a strange noise inside of the house, and tear the damn door down! Something that is going to create havoc around our nation.

    The Supreme Court decision arose from a case from Lexington, Kentucky, where police were banging on a door because they smelled marijuana. After identifying themselves, the police heard movement inside thinking that evidence was being destroyed. So they kicked the door down. There they found Hollis Deshaun King, smoking marijuana. They also found cocaine.

    The problem was it was not the suspect they were looking for, still charging him with multiple counts, eventually giving him 11 years behind bars. The Kentucky Supreme Court heard the case and ruled that the drugs could not be used as evidence, obviously for no search warrant.

    The case was then appealed to the United States Supreme Court. There, 8 out 9 justices disagreed with the state court and decided to tear apart the 4th Amendment to the Constitution, bringing America closer than ever to a police state.

    by Mark Schumacher
    May 17, 2011
  8. Dragos
    I wonder how long before American's citizenry will rise up in revolution like we have seen in Egypt and Libya.

    I am reminded daily of a quote by a founding father,
    "The tree of Liberty needs to be watered from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants."
    Thomas Jefferson
    3rd president of US (1743 - 1826).

    Folks the tree of Liberty is almost dead. Will she be watered in time?

    Here is another founding father's quote that is sadly coming true as well,
    "Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."
    Benjamin Franklin,
    Historical Review of Pennsylvania, 1759
    US author, diplomat, inventor, physicist, politician, & printer (1706 - 1790)
  9. trdofbeingtrd

    Like I said, it's nothing about a conspiracy theory. I don't know and I don't care if there are a group of higher ups "PLANNING" on anything. What I do know and what any person cannot deny (unless they want to excuse it to the point that they need to suffer a horrible tragedy brought on by what they defend to see) is that our rights are being taken away slowly, but surely. Mainly it's in the name of safety. People get scared, people want safety so when they say "pay us, give us your rights so we can treat you as we want, and we will protect you" people are all for it. I mean honestly, I try to keep quiet to not offend anyone, that is not my goal when on this site. However, when things like this happen and it's defended for being "in the good", I can't help but wonder what has to happen (and will) that will make them understand our constitution and bill of rights were made for a reason......many reasons whatever.

    Now someone can read these replies I give and think or say "you are a conspiracy nut job" or "your just a druggy and part of the problem". To them I would say "no, I am a huge skeptic, but I am not blind" or "I take prescription medication and nothing else, and I strive in different ways, not just on this and two other sites to help people who want to quit drugs". I am not a person for violence, that is NOT what this country needs. I am a person who reads things that are really happening and it's fucking scary. No one needs a reason to be scared to want their rights upheld and their privacy respected.

    Here is a scenario. Your partner and you are having sex in YOUR house, in YOUR living room. By honest mistake the police knock on your door for ANYTHING. You and your partner scramble to get clothes on, why? Simple because at any second they can bust through the door now with no warrant, just their "we heard something". How about you are doing it, just so you are "proper" to answer the door. Either way, while not probable, it is now NOT impossible for that door to be busted in/down and you and your partner in your own house, in your own living room are on the floor naked and with handcuffs. I am not paranoid and I know that this is not something that would happen occasionally, but it can.

    I am not trying to use scare tactics, or accuse honest men and women who protect us, who put their lives on the line every day to make this country safer of being corrupt. The average officer is decent, caring, professional, and above all, respected by me. It's the idea that privacy and rights are disappearing behind red tape more and more.

    Sorry, this stuff is happening more and more and it's a curse to pay attention to the world anymore. When I do, which is I guess my own fault, I hear of things that are a disgrace the founders of this wonderful country.
  10. Terrapinzflyer
    QUOTE=Balzafire;985063]Ah, ok I see what you are saying now.
    I still am freaked out about this ruling though, as it seems to go counter to our fourth amendment rights. I fear that now the cops will flagrantly abuse this ruling.[/QUOTE]

    Indeed- there is that possibility. But as I read it- the supreme court did not rule on the case- only ruling that such a search, when exigent circumstances exist- is not an automatic "get out of jail free" card. It is still , per my understanding, up to the lower courts to decide if the "exigent circumstances" where real and warranted the breach of normal rights.

    And to be fair here- I must admit as far as law goes I believe more in the spirit of the law then the letter of the law. And that this indeed cuts both ways- in many areas of the country, and especially in the case of medical marijuana, the courts that "follow the "spirit of the law" ethos tend to be much more lenient then those that follow "the letter of the law"

    And as I hinted at previously- while it was a drug related case that brought the search issue before the court - I must ask myself how I would view a case where a violent criminal, or a white collar criminal (such as some of the crimes leading to the current worldwide financial situation), or a government leader were to walk free from a serious crime on a technicality…

    Really- how I read this is the court saying there is no get out of jail free card and the lower courts must decide if the situation and crime outweigh the violation of a "right."
  11. Balzafire
    I'm actually beginning to understand now! I appreciate you bringing balance to the discussion by bringing up those points. I guess I'll have to admit I'm a little paranoid about this country turning into a police state.
    If your door were open when they walked up and they saw you inside weighing out 1-ounce baggies of cannabis, we already know they then have the right to come on in without a warrant.
    I suppose that in certain circumstances, if they have legitimate reason to think beyond a reasonable doubt that you were about to destroy evidence of a crime, then it's not any different. Such as after a knock, they hear someone say "Oh my god it's the fuckin' cops! Flush the dope! Flush the dope!" - then that is probable cause.
    It would still be up to the court to decide if they really had the probable cause.
    Cool. I will sleep better tonight now.
  12. Balzafire
    Supreme Court Says Warrants, States' Rights Unnecessary

    [imgl=white]https://www.drugs-forum.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=20257&stc=1&d=1305775202[/imgl]States cannot grant their citizens wider freedoms from search and seizure than federal courts do, and police may manipulate events that allow them to avoid getting Fourth Amendment search warrants from judges for home searches, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled May 13 in the case of Kentucky v. King. The 8-1 decision included a stinging dissent from Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, one of the most liberal justices on the bench.

    Ginsberg argued in her dissent: "The Court today arms the police with a way routinely to dishonor the Fourth Amendment’s warrant requirement in drug cases. In lieu of presenting their evidence to a neutral magistrate, police officers may now knock, listen, then break the door down, nevermind that they had ample time to obtain a warrant."

    The court syllabus described the facts in the case:

    Police officers in Lexington, Kentucky, followed a suspected drug dealer to an apartment complex. They smelled marijuana outside an apartment door, knocked loudly, and announced their presence. As soon as the officers began knocking, they heard noises coming from the apartment; the officers believed that these noises were consistent with the destruction of evidence. The officers announced their intent to enter the apartment, kicked in the door, and found [the defendant] and others. They saw drugs in plain view during a protective sweep of the apartment and found additional evidence during a subsequent search.

    The Kentucky lower courts convicted King, but the state supreme court ruled that police cannot “deliberately creat[e] the exigent circumstances with the bad faith intent to avoid the warrant requirement.” In essence, the Kentucky Supreme Court ruled that police were too lazy to get a search warrant, and knew that if they had any reason to believe that evidence was being destroyed they wouldn't have to get one. So they went up to the apartment and knocked loudly on the door and announced that they were the police, expecting the drug dealer to start to try to destroy the evidence. As soon as they heard shuffling in the house, they broke down the door without a warrant.

    The court, in rejecting the Kentucky Supreme Court's ruling, stated that the Kentucky decision "would create unacceptable and unwarranted difficulties for law enforcement officers who must make quick decisions in the field, as well as for judges who would be required to determine after the fact whether the destruction of evidence in response to a knock on the door was reasonably foreseeable based on what the officers knew at the time."

    As Ginsberg explained in her dissent, "Circumstances qualify as 'exigent' [i.e., don't require a warrant, according to the court] when there is an imminent risk of death or serious injury, or danger that evidence will be immediately destroyed, or that a suspect will escape." The majority in the court admitted that "destruction of evidence issues probably occur most frequently in drug cases because drugs may be easily destroyed by flushing them down a toilet or rinsing them down a drain. Persons in possession of valuable drugs are unlikely to destroy them unless they fear discovery by the police." Indeed, destruction of evidence in a murder case is not as practical; a body can not be easily disposed of in the same manner and other evidence (such as blood on carpets, DNA evidence, etc.) is even more difficult to destroy. So the "exigent circumstances" exception has largely been crafted by courts to accommodate the federal war on drugs.

    But the Fourth Amendment makes no mention of an "exigent circumstances" exception to the warrant requirement. Ginsberg notes that "the Court has accordingly declared warrantless searches, in the main, 'per se unreasonable,'” citing the 1978 precedent of Mincey v. Arizona. Indeed the Fourth Amendment uses a four-part test to define a reasonable search. All searches, to be "reasonable" under the Fourth Amendment, must contain: 1) "probable cause" and 2) a "warrant" that must be backed with 3) an "oath or affirmation" and 4) specificity "particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized." Ginsberg stressed that the court overturned a 1947 ruling on an identical issue; in Johnson v. U.S., police barged into a hotel room without a warrant after smelling burning opium and noises that appeared to be efforts to cover up the evidence.

    In the Kentucky case, Ginsberg stressed that "there was little risk that drug-related evidence would have been destroyed had the police delayed the search pending a magistrate’s authorization."

    But Ginsberg failed to mention that the Supreme Court in the Kentucky case also violated the sovereignty of the Commonwealth of Kentucky by denying them the right to expand the understanding of the Fourth Amendment in state cases beyond what is required of federal officials. While the 14th Amendment denies states the right to infringe upon freedoms guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution, and gives Congress the power to enforce it, there's nothing in the U.S. Constitution that allows the federal courts to take away rights states guarantee to individuals. The first section of the 14th Amendment reads:

    No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

    Federal courts since 1925 have understood that part of the 14th Amendment to mean that state governments may not deprive persons of any enumerated right under the Constitution or Bill of Rights. The so-called "incorporation doctrine" has been, until now, an expansive one. That is, states may define rights enumerated in the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights, or their own state constitutions, more broadly to confer wider freedoms upon their citizens than are protected under federal law — but not more narrowly. Kentucky v. King may be the first case decided by the Supreme Court that rules states may not grant more freedoms to their citizens than federal courts understand.

    Ginsberg's dissent asked: "How 'secure' do our homes remain if police, armed with no warrant, can pound on doors at will and, on hearing sounds indicative of things moving, forcibly enter and search for evidence of unlawful activity?" The answer is "not very."

    Written by Thomas R. Eddlem
    18 May 2011
  13. trdofbeingtrd
    When I talk to certain people about my views on these matters they say I am paranoid. My views label me to some as "nuts" and "illogical".

    So I guess Ginsberg is an illogical nut for his statement.

    I just don't understand, so if anyone out there agrees with this proposed law, please (and I won't insult or lose my temper if you share your views) correct my way of thinking on this. Please, show me how this is okay.
  14. talltom
    Here's another interpretation of the case, saying that the court held that police must be chasing a suspect first to raid a home based on smells and sounds.

    Supreme Court : OK for Cops to Raid Homes If They Smell Marijuana, Hear Suggestive Sounds

    The US Supreme Court Monday upheld the search of a Kentucky man's apartment after police broke in without a search warrant because they said they smelled burning marijuana and heard sounds suggesting he was trying to destroy the evidence. The decision in Kentucky v. King overturned a Kentucky Supreme Court ruling in favor of the apartment resident, Hollis King, who was arrested after police entered his apartment and found drugs.

    Fourth Amendment doctrine holds that police must obtain a search warrant to search a residence unless there are "exigent circumstances." In the current case, the exigent circumstance was that, after police knocked on the apartment door, they heard noises they said suggested evidence was being destroyed.

    The Kentucky Supreme Court had held that police could not use the exigent circumstances exception because they themselves had created the exigent circumstance by knocking on the door. The US Supreme Court begged to differ.

    In his opinion for the 8-1 majority, Justice Samuel Alito wrote that people have no obligation to answer the door when police knock or to allow them to come in if they have opened the door. In such cases, police would have to persuade a judge to issue a search warrant.

    But that's not what King and fellow apartment residents did. They started scuttling around suspiciously upon hearing police announce their presence--or at least, police said they did. "Occupants who choose not to stand on their constitutional rights but instead elect to attempt to destroy evidence have only themselves to blame," Alito wrote.

    Only Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dissented, arguing that in ruling for the police, the court was giving them a way to get around the search warrant requirement in drug cases. "Police officers may now knock, listen, then break the door down, never mind that they had ample time to obtain a warrant," she wrote.

    Oddly enough, King was not the target of police. Lexington police had set up a controlled drug buy on the street outside the apartment building, but when they attempted to arrest the suspect, he fled into the building. When police arrived in the hallway, the suspect had vanished, and all police saw was two apartment doors. When they smelled the odor of pot coming from King's apartment, they chose that door. The original suspect was in the other apartment. They arrested him later.


    Here's Stop the Drug War's Scott Morgan explaining the debate in more detail:

    This week's Supreme Court decision in Kentucky v. King has civil-libertarians and marijuana policy reformers in an uproar, and rightly so, but it's not exactly the death of the 4th Amendment. Here's a look at how this case could impact police practices and constitutional rights.

    It all started when police chased a drug suspect into a building and lost him. They smelled marijuana smoke coming from an apartment and decided to check it out, so they announced themselves and knocked loudly on the door. They heard movement inside, which the officers feared could indicate destruction of evidence, so they kicked in the door and entered the apartment. Hollis King was arrested for drugs and challenged the police entry as a violation of his 4th Amendment right against unreasonable searches.

    In an 8-1 decision written by Justice Alito, the Court determined that an emergency search was justified to prevent destruction of evidence, even though police created the risk of such destruction by yelling "Police!" and banging on the door. The determining factor, in the Court's view, was that police had not violated the 4th Amendment simply by knocking on the door. Since the subsequent need to prevent destruction of evidence was the result of legal conduct by the officers, the events that followed do not constitute a violation of the suspect's constitutional rights.

    Naturally, any fan of the 4th Amendment can look at this scenario and wonder what's to stop police from "smelling" marijuana and "hearing" evidence being destroyed any time they have an urge to enter a particular dwelling. What does destruction of evidence sound like anyway, and what doesn't it sound like? Doesn't someone jumping up to destroy evidence sound the same as someone jumping up to answer the door before police kick it down? It's hard to argue with anyone who sees this result as a blueprint for facilitating not only widespread police actions that circumvent the warrant requirement, but also more innocent people being killed in their own homes in misunderstandings that could have been prevented by just a little patience from police.

    These are very valid concerns, but it's also true that in the immediate aftermath of any unfortunate Supreme Court ruling, there's a tendency to commence eulogizing the 4th Amendment and proclaiming that our freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures has been abolished once and for all. That's not the case here any more than it was with any number of previous rulings we wish had been decided differently. It's not a fatal diagnosis; it merely sucks.

    The fact that police were chasing a suspect when they entered the building and the fact that they smelled marijuana coming from the defendant's apartment and the fact that they heard suspicious noises after knocking were all factors in the legal outcome. Remove any one of these conditions and the case might have been decided differently. In other words, this Supreme Court decision does not mean police can start knocking on doors randomly and bursting in any time they hear a sound coming from inside. They must already have probable cause to believe there's a crime taking place and, fortunately, any prudent citizen can take measures to prevent their home from reeking of probable cause.

    Ultimately, the lesson here is something we've been emphasizing at FlexYourRights.org for a long time now: stay calm, don't expose yourself to police attention, and know your rights in case something happens. Police often knock on doors without a warrant, so your best move is just to stay calm and make an informed decision about how to handle the situation.

    If you prefer not to answer, which is your legal right, then do so by waiting silently for the officers to leave. If you choose to speak with them, stepping outside is a smart way to keep them from claiming to detect criminal evidence within your home. Unless they have a warrant, they may not search or even enter the home without your permission. Don't give it to them. Finally, understand that if the officers do have a warrant, your legal options are limited to the point that you should just focus on not getting hurt. In the event of any kind of negative outcome, remain silent and discuss your options with an attorney.

    It's a shame that we even have to prepare people for situations like this in what's supposed to be a free society, but modern drug enforcement practices are so prone to error and abuse that every citizen should know how to protect their constitutional rights in an emergency situation. As the Supreme Court continues to reduce the scope of our 4th Amendment protections, understanding how to properly exercise our remaining rights becomes more important than ever before.

    Phillip S. Smith and Scott Morgan,
    Drug War Chronicle
    May 18, 2011

  15. trdofbeingtrd
    Here is a related article, seems that this "we can do what we want, and you have no rights" theme is going strong. However, in this case, and other cases when it comes to children, it gets ify. This is a case that a poster gave a strong argument for. What do you think?

    [SIZE=+1]Appellate Briefs Filed in Arizona Illegal-Search Case[/SIZE]
    Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) ^ | January 24, 2011 | HSLDA
    Posted on Wednesday, January 26, 2011 7:07:55 AM by Sopater
    In March of 2005, two social workers and six deputy sheriffs descended on the home of John and Tiffany Loudermilk to “investigate” a two-month-old anonymous tip that their house was unsafe for children. After almost an hour of threats, the social workers finally threatened to take all of their children into custody if not allowed inside. The Loudermilks reluctantly agreed. The assembled officials took less than five minutes to determine that the allegations in the anonymous report were false.

    HSLDA reviewed the case and sued the social workers, their attorney, and four of the deputies for violating the Loudermilks’ Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable searches. We also sued the social workers for threatening to remove their children without justification.

    The judge denied the defendants’ motions to dismiss in September 2007, and then denied their motions for summary judgment in March 2010. The deputies appealed, claiming that they should be immune from liability because, they said, the right to be free from unreasonable searches was not clear enough for them to realize that threatening to remove a child if not allowed inside the home violated the Fourth Amendment.

    Click here to read their brief to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (requires Adobe Acrobat Reader).

    In HSLDA’s answering brief, we argued that the law has been clearly established for at least 10 years, ever since we successfully sued social workers on behalf of the Calabretta family in a similar case. We also demonstrated that any reasonable officer should know that threatening to remove a child to gain the “cooperation” of the parents is inherently coercive and that the officers should have known so at the time.

    Within the next few weeks the appellate court will either decide the case or will schedule oral argument. In the meantime, proceedings in the trial court are on hold.
  16. kailey_elise
    *blink blink*

    So, ignorance of the law isn't a valid excuse for citizens, but somehow it should be for Law Enforcement, who, you know, should know the laws they're charged with upholding?!?!

    Also, c'mon, did they really think that would work? They know DAMN well that threatening people to get them to do what you want is coercion! *sigh* Dammit, I hope they lose that case! If it was SO imperative that they check to see if the house was unsafe...why did it take them 2 months to, you know, go check? Hell, if it were THAT dangerous, one of the kids could have DIED! *mumbles something about idiots*

    I don't think the kid that got caught up in the shuffle should have gotten in trouble. As soon as the cops didn't see their suspect in the residence, they should have left. They had no real reason to be in there, so they shouldn't have seen what they saw, kwim? I also like how they assumed the apartment they "smelled marijuana" coming from was assumed to be where the suspect was. Seriously? Did they really think that some dude was running from the cops...and once he got out of their sight & found a hiding place, would spark a fucking bowl? C'mon - he was probably still out of breath from running from them! ;)

  17. trdofbeingtrd
    Kailey, I agree with you all the way. Sadly there are people who think this is a justified move, and when you disagree you are seen as a paranoid nut. I completely agree with having laws and authority to enforce them, but I don't agree with rights being taken away because of bullshit claims.
  18. Wayne Brady
    How long before we have telescreens in our homes? Any bets?
  19. trdofbeingtrd

    Like I said, give it a few more months and it will be 1984.

    It is scary isn't it. Something that is even more scary is how people who do not see the dangers are the one's helping it happen. There are a LOT of those.
  20. Logitech
    That's because they have nice catchphrases such as this: "I am not doing nothing wrong and therefore have nothing to hide"

    These measures are pushed through with excuses of fighting evil terrorists (it has become synonym for muslim, hasn't it?), pedophiles, drug dealers etc. And for some reason people are willing to trade off their liberties and privacy for security theater. Lets face it: you're much more likely to die from cardiovascular diseases or traffic accidents than from terrorist attacks or bad-tripping psychonaut going nuts and even if terrorist attacks were that common, what evidence is there that TSA and alike could successfully prevent the attacks?

    Sorry about drifting off the topic, but I'm a bit passionate on this topic.
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