Ind. High Court Supports Warrantless Searches of Homes

Monday, 16 May 2011 04:37 PM

By Martin Gould

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Police have a right to enter a person’s home without a warrant, for any reason at all, Indiana’s highest court has ruled, seemingly throwing out Fourth Amendment rights. The court overturned common law going back to the signing of the Magna Carta in 1215 by a 3-2 majority, the Northwest Indiana Times reports.

“A right to resist an unlawful police entry into a home is against public policy and is incompatible with modern Fourth Amendment jurisprudence," Justice Steven David wrote in his ruling. "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."

Police were called when a married couple were having a domestic dispute outside their home in Vanderburgh County in November 2007. When the officers arrived, the woman went inside, and the husband blocked the door, telling police to go away, while his wife told him to let them in. After a tussle, an officer used a choke hold on the man and tased him.
The man was arrested and later found guilty on three of four charges, but he appealed on the grounds that his constitutional rights were violated.

The two dissenting judges said the assault on the Fourth Amendment was too broad, although they said they would have sided with the majority if they had limited their decision to domestic violence cases.

"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," said Justice Robert Rucker. "I disagree."


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