Green Room

Indiana Supreme Court rules Hoosiers have no right to resist unlawful entry of their homes by police

posted at 9:14 am on May 14, 2011 by

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.

Remember the 4th Amendment to the US Constitution?

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.

One has to wonder what part of “unlawful” Justice David doesn’t get. 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 into any home he wants to “for any reason or no reason at all?”

The given reason by the  Justice is resistance is “against public policy?” What policy is that?  For whatever reason, most believe our public policy as regards our homes is set by the 4th amendment to the US Constitution. Since when does Indiana’s “public policy” abrogate the Constitutional right to be “secure in our persons, houses, papers and effects”?

Additionally, most would assume it is the job of the police not to “escalate the level of violence”, not the homeowner. Like maybe a polite knock on a door to attempt an arrest instead of a battering ram and the violent entry of a full SWAT team to arrest a suspected perpetrator of a non-violent crime. 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.

Now citizens in Indiana are to give up their 4th Amendment rights because it might “elevate the violence” if  they attempt to protect themselves from unlawful activity?  Sounds like the “don’t resist rape” nonsense that was once so popular.

And check out this “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,” is that it?

One hopes the decision is destroyed on appeal and if the Justices are in an elected office they become very “insecure” in their 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 does one say “it runs afoul of the Fourth Amendment” and then later agree to a partial abrogation of the 4th under certain circumstances?  What part of “shall not be violated” don’t they understand?  It doesn’t say “shall not be violated except in case of domestic violence” does it?

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 the police actually justify a no-knock entrance to a judge, wouldn’t it?

Amazing.

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

This is why.

Bruce McQuain blogs at Questions and Observations (QandO), Blackfive, the Washington Examiner and the Green Room.  Follow him on Twitter: @McQandO

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What’s next? We have no rights at home or at the airport. This is a community advisor move. Is this the path to seize our firearms, ala BHO?

ericdijon on May 14, 2011 at 9:34 AM

We’re regressing back to Roman soldier days, when they could come into any house, kill and steal what they wanted. What a bunch of hand wringing wusses. In saying they want to prevent violence, they just committed it against the Constitution. How does the good governor stand on this? He seems to be waffling on running for president, only waiting for permission from the little woman. Don’t we have any real men left in this country?

Kissmygrits on May 14, 2011 at 9:57 AM

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Ed Morrissey on May 14, 2011 at 2:01 PM

Nothing to see here … please move along … those crazy right wing nuts trying to stir up trouble again. It’s doesn’t mean what you think it means … Liberals honor the Constitution as much as anyone. Really, they just think deeper and have higher moral values. It’s just like resisting the Borg, it just makes more trouble and all that trouble isn’t really necessary, just submit. Give in. Really you will feel more safe and secure. //sarc

Glad I don’t live there, I would hate to have to make the choice between give me liberty or give me death. But that seems to be the choice that is coming to all of us. God help us.

odannyboy on May 14, 2011 at 10:05 AM