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SCOTUS Decides Kentucky vs. King
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SCOTUS Decides Kentucky vs. King:

 1 darksidevoid, Wed, 18th May '11 8:46:17 PM from Palace of Friendship Relationship Status: Maxing my social links
Everyone's Friend
Before I say anything else: The US Supreme Court decided a case on Wednesday concerning the 4th Amendment right against searches and seizures without warrants, as well as whether evidence obtained without a warrant is illegal (and therefore impermissible in court) or not. In case anyone has forgotten from their highschool Civics class, the text of the 4th Amendment reads thusly:

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.

Here are the facts of the case.

The majority opinion (PDF). Justice Ginsberg's lone dissent starts on page 20.

In summary, the Court held that what the police did was legal and that the evidence could be considered in court. Unless I'm completely mistaken, I'm pretty sure this effectively shreds 4th Amendment protections and the current standard for probable cause.

Discuss.
"I have a very terrible announcement to make to you all today. The world is coming to an end very, very soon."
 2 Hungry Joe, Wed, 18th May '11 9:49:07 PM from Under the Tree
Gristknife
Doesn't seem so bad. If the cops are making a bust and have the wrong room and instead of a crack dealer they find an unrelated methlab, they ought to be able to admit that evidence.
Charlie Tunoku is a lover and a fighter.
 3 del diablo, Wed, 18th May '11 10:01:47 PM from Somewher in mid Norway
Den harde nordmann
This is quite funny.
If we allow it, it will lead to chaos and misery.
I guess it would have been legal if they had just knocked and waited ironically.....
A guy called dvorak is tired. Tired of humanity not wanting to change to improve itself. Quite the sad tale.
 4 storyyeller, Wed, 18th May '11 10:04:43 PM from Appleloosa Relationship Status: RelationshipOutOfBoundsException: 1
More like giant cherries
IIRC there is precedence with the hot pursuit rule.
Life is simple: it has no nontrivial normal subgroups.
 5 Deboss, Wed, 18th May '11 10:07:49 PM from Awesomeville Texas
I see the Awesomeness.
Didn't they decide on the door based on smelling Mary Jane from it while in pursuit (meaning they had the legal right to be there)? I thought that was considered "probable cause" or something.
Unless I'm completely mistaken, I'm pretty sure this effectively shreds 4th Amendment protections and the current standard for probable cause.

Care to say why you think it does these things? From what I'm reading, it's clearing up the applicability of an already established exception to the need for a warrant.

edited 18th May '11 10:18:12 PM by petrie911

Belief or disbelief rests with you.
 7 Barkey, Wed, 18th May '11 10:19:45 PM from Bunker 051 Relationship Status: [TOP SECRET]
War Profiteer
"Under the Fourth Amendment, authorities are prohibited from entering a home and making an arrest without a warrant unless so-called "exigent" circumstances are present. Those include "hot pursuit" of a fleeing felon, imminent destruction of evidence and the risk of danger to the police or other persons inside or outside of a house, among others."

Well, they had "Hot Pursuit" justification and imminent destruction of evidence was possible and also cited as a justification. This case is only controversial because the apartment that got busted was the wrong one, even though there were people committing a crime in the building.

This is not the first precedent established allowing the police to enter a home without an arrest warrant, it's not particularly controversial. The only thing about this that needs to be debated is that if police do end up in the wrong home and witness something illegal, if they can press the charges they witness from a crime they were not originally aware of and would not have been if they had not entered the home.

edited 18th May '11 10:21:23 PM by Barkey

The AR-15 is responsible for 95% of all deaths each year. The rest of the deaths are from obesity and drone strikes.
 8 storyyeller, Wed, 18th May '11 10:40:49 PM from Appleloosa Relationship Status: RelationshipOutOfBoundsException: 1
More like giant cherries
^ It is debateable, but usually, there's a "good faith" exception, so I think a mistake like this is covered.
Life is simple: it has no nontrivial normal subgroups.
Pro-Freedom Fanatic
They've shredded Fourth Amendment protections. They don't care about the right to privacy at all!

They've wanted to do that for a long time... Apparently, now, we smelled weed creates an emergency that authorizes the warrantless search of a home. This is completely fascistic, and effectively kills privacy protections for those that live in apartment blocks.

edited 19th May '11 12:18:09 AM by SavageHeathen

You exist because we allow it and you will end because we demand it.
Mentor
The hot pursuit exception is so you can arrest a perp who has fled onto private property, it's not so you can bust other people in the same building. That being said, they had grounds to be on the property and hand grounds to search the apartment so it's not technically breaking the fourth, just walking a very thin line between illegal and legal.

[up] You're not helping.

edited 19th May '11 12:23:34 AM by thatguythere47

 11 inane 242, Thu, 19th May '11 5:53:10 AM from A B-Movie Bildungsroman
Anwalt der Verdammten
[up][up]Well then move. And I completely support the court on this one.

edited 19th May '11 5:53:32 AM by inane242

 12 Hungry Joe, Thu, 19th May '11 6:45:50 AM from Under the Tree
Gristknife
"Hey Bob, smells like a slaughterhouse in here, don't it?"

"Sure does, Frank. Maybe we should knock on this apartment with the stains on the carpet in front of the door."

"Aren't we looking for a dealer?"

"Yeah, but he might be in here."

"OPEN UP IT'S THE POLICE!"

chainsaw revs up

"Wait Bob! Don't go in, we don't have probable cause!"
Charlie Tunoku is a lover and a fighter.
Pro-Freedom Fanatic
[up]Someone being murdered is the very definition of exigent circumstances. It is unclear which definition of urgency the SCOTUS considers when they say a guy perhaps lighting up a joint inside a house is cause enough for a no-warrant kick on the door.
You exist because we allow it and you will end because we demand it.
The real crime is possession and use of a relatively minor substance is considered a crime.

 
Pro-Freedom Fanatic
So now the cops can go sniffing at the door of every house in an apartment block?

Without as much as asking for a warrant before they raid someone's house? They did gut privacy protections.
You exist because we allow it and you will end because we demand it.
 16 Lawyerdude, Thu, 19th May '11 8:00:53 AM from my secret moon base
Citizen
Their conduct looks consistent with existing protections. They were following a suspected drug dealer. While doing that, they smelled marijuana, an illegal substance, inside another apartment. They knocked on that apartment door and announced their presence. They then heard sounds consistent with somebody destroying evidence. This gave the police legal justification to enter the apartment.

It sounds like the people inside the apartment are the ones that screwed up. The police weren't demanding entry; they knocked and announced who they were. The people inside then panicked and tried to flush the stash. The police heard this and entered, finding drugs out in plain sight. The occupants could have told the cops to go away, or demanded to see a warrant. They didn't. If somebody tries to destroy evidence, then legally the police can enter and search without a warrant.
What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly.
Pro-Freedom Fanatic
[up]We've went from a inadmissible unless proven otherwise for evidence obtained on fishy circumstances to an admissible unless proven otherwise one.

Also, since when is the government allowed to appeal an acquittal? The evidence was already dismissed on first appeal. Charges should have been dropped.

edited 19th May '11 8:04:31 AM by SavageHeathen

You exist because we allow it and you will end because we demand it.
 18 Lawyerdude, Thu, 19th May '11 8:27:46 AM from my secret moon base
Citizen
[up]Applications for Certiorari to the Supreme Court are not the same thing as appeals. The particular legal reasons are a bit too complex to get into here.

Regarding searches, a warrantless search is legally presumed to be unreasonable. The burden is then on the police to show that their search fit one of the recognized exceptions. This case dealt with the "destruction of evidence" exception. Modern police forces, are trained to know every exception and how to exploit them.

Lesson: Never consent to a search. If an officer knocks on your door without a warrant, tell him to go away. If an officer asks to enter your house, say no. If you are told you have the right to remain silent, then shut your mouth. You have rights, so you'd better well use them.
What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly.
 19 Karkadinn, Thu, 19th May '11 8:32:30 AM from New Orleans, Louisiana
Karkadinn
Here's the thing, Lawyerdude - you're never going to be able to educate people in general to be as well-informed on the law (and how to exploit the law) as the actual police. That's a non-starter. And you're especially not going to get stoners to act with consistent rationality and analytical cool-headedness when one moment they're chillin' and munching Doritos, and the next they're terrified that they'll be thrown in the slammer.
Furthermore, I think Guantanamo must be destroyed.
 20 Lawyerdude, Thu, 19th May '11 8:36:59 AM from my secret moon base
Citizen
[up]If they had paid attention in their high school civics classes, they'd have learned a lot. But it's every individual's responsibility to know his rights. The police can't and shouldn't hold their hand if they're not going to stand up for themselves. Besides, the issue here is that they were in fact breaking the law. If you break the law, you'd better be prepared to face the consequences.
What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly.
Pro-Freedom Fanatic
Dude. Law or no law, them cops've got no business getting in someone's home unless someone's been murdered.

No life or limb is currently at risk: Weed might be more or less serious a crime, but it can hardly be described as an emergency situation. It shouldn't justify a warrantless search.
You exist because we allow it and you will end because we demand it.
 22 Karkadinn, Thu, 19th May '11 8:41:14 AM from New Orleans, Louisiana
Karkadinn
I don't know where you went to high school, but where I went, you didn't really learn practical things like that. At all. And 'it's your responsibility to know your rights' is a nice sentiment, but it's purely an impractical ideal due to the breadth of law in the modern world. No one can know everything that's relevant to them. That's why lawyers exist.
Furthermore, I think Guantanamo must be destroyed.
 23 del diablo, Thu, 19th May '11 8:47:52 AM from Somewher in mid Norway
Den harde nordmann
Lawyerdude: And then we got self defence, which is per defintion breaking the law against someone that broke it towards you, and it is legal.
There should be a equal legal terms for this, because it needs to exist.
A guy called dvorak is tired. Tired of humanity not wanting to change to improve itself. Quite the sad tale.
 24 Lawyerdude, Thu, 19th May '11 8:57:31 AM from my secret moon base
Citizen
The emergency situation here wasn't the fact they were smoking weed. The emergency situation was that the police suspected that evidence of a crime was about to be destroyed. Regardless of your opinions on the criminalization of marijuana, I would agree with the police that evidence being destroyed is exigent circumstances.

Change the facts a little, and think about it this way: The police are following a guy they suspect is a drug dealer. While doing so, they smell chemicals in another apartment that they suspect would be used to make a bomb. They knock on the door to that apartment and announce that they're the police. From inside, they hear the sound of equipment breaking, being thrown out the window, and people saying, "It's the police, run!" The police, believing that evidence of a crime is being destroyed, enter the apartment and find bomb-making equipment everywhere. They then arrest the occupants.

Would you agree that their entry into the bomb-makers' apartment was justified?
What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly.
Pro-Freedom Fanatic
[up] Not at all. If they smelled bomb-making chemicals they should have gotten a warrant instead of announcing their presence.

Announcing their presence so the occupants freak out, then sidestepping the warrant-getting obligation? This is a deliberate test case to make warrantless searches routine.

edited 19th May '11 8:59:33 AM by SavageHeathen

You exist because we allow it and you will end because we demand it.
Total posts: 72
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