High Court Expands Warrantless Search Provisions

The boys and girls over at the big court gave the green light today to federal and local law enforcement with respect to search and seizure and the attendant warrantless search provisions.

Police officers can now enter a residence without a search warrant when they knock on the door, announce their presence and believe evidence is being destroyed, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled Monday.

By an 8-1 vote, the high court ruled that entering a residence in such emergency-like circumstances does not violate the constitutional protections against unreasonable searches and seizures of evidence.

This is long overdue and a huge benefit to innocent citizens while making the very bad people very nervous.  Authorities have long been handcuffed by restrictive interpretations of the 4th Amendment by primarily liberal courts.  This ruling changes that and provides agencies with another tool with which to take out the bad guys and make the neighborhoods safer.

Here is the story from the Chicago Tribune:

The Supreme Court on Monday gave police more leeway to break into residences in search of illegal drugs.

The justices in an 8-1 decision said officers who loudly knock on a door and then hear sounds suggesting evidence is being destroyed may break down the door and enter without a search warrant.

Residents who “attempt to destroy evidence have only themselves to blame” when police burst in, said Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr.

In a lone dissent, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said she feared the ruling in a Kentucky case will give police an easy way to ignore the 4th Amendment. “Police officers may not knock, listen and then break the door down,” she said, without violating the 4th Amendment.

In the past, the court has said police usually may not enter a home unless they have a search warrant or the permission of the owner. As Alito said, “The 4th Amendment has drawn a firm line at the entrance to the house.”

One exception to that rule involves an emergency, such as screams coming from a house. Police may also pursue a fleeing suspect who enters a residence. Police were attempting to do that in the Kentucky case, but they entered the wrong apartment, raising the issue of what is permissible in situations where police have reason to believe evidence is being destroyed.

It began when police in Lexington, Ky., were following a suspect who allegedly had sold crack cocaine to an informer and then walked into an apartment building. They did not see which apartment he entered, but when they smelled marijuana smoke come from one of the apartments, they wrongly assumed he had gone into that one. They pounded on the door and called “Police. Police. Police,” and heard the sounds of people moving.

At this, the officers announced they were coming in, and they broke down the door. They found Hollis King smoking marijuana, and put him under arrest. They also found powder cocaine. King was convicted of drug trafficking and sentenced to 11 years in prison.

But the Kentucky Supreme Court overturned his conviction and ruled the apartment break-in violated his 4th Amendment right against “unreasonable searches and seizures.” Police had created an emergency by pounding on the door, the state justices said.

The Supreme Court heard an appeal from state prosecutors and reversed the ruling in Kentucky vs. King. Alito said the police conduct in this case “was entirely lawful,” and they were justified in breaking down the door to prevent the destruction of the evidence.

“When law enforcement officers who are not armed with a warrant knock on a door, they do no more than any private citizen may do,” he wrote. A resident need not respond, he added. But the sounds of people moving and perhaps toilets being flushed could justify police entering without a warrant, he added.

“Destruction of evidence issues probably occur most frequently in drug cases because drugs may be easily destroyed by flushing down a toilet,” he added.

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

Ginsburg, however, said the court’s approach “arms the police with a way routinely to dishonor the 4th Amendment’s warrant requirement in drug cases.” She said the police did not face a “genuine emergency” and should not have been allowed to enter the apartment without a warrant.

What do you think?  Let us know in the comments section.


Enhanced by Zemanta
Click here for reuse options!
Copyright 2011 MadMikesAmerica
Did you like this? Share it:
Posted by on May 16, 2011. Filed under Crime,News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.
Back to Main Page

44 Responses to High Court Expands Warrantless Search Provisions

  1. Jihad punk

    May 16, 2011 at 4:35 pm

    Is this related to flushing your toilet in the post before this?

    If you are a ‘bad person’ flushing your toilet then you may well be ‘flushing’ evidence away so fair enough.

    If the police get it wrong (again) and go to the wrong house (again) then what happens if an innocent man/women blows their stupid heads off for interrupting them in the middle of a ‘number two’?

    As an ‘innocent’ I would shoot any cop who interrupted me in my ablutions as he/she had no right to be there.

    I agree in principle but what happens when/if the cops screw up?

    I shoot them ’cause they screwed up then I’m a criminal – and all I did was ‘take a dump’

    Life is rarely as simple as ‘the law’ seems to think old bean.

    Britain isn’t America of course so circumstances may differ from here to there but….any cop over here who came into my house – and I live in a ‘high crime’ area – without my consent as a law abiding citizen would be leaving his wife a widow before he knew what hit him….

    The protection of MY home and family takes precedence over all.

    Just a point to consider over there…

  2. lazersedge

    May 16, 2011 at 4:42 pm

    Mike, I am sure you see this as a win for the good guys, but I am not sure how. Now police officers can just walk down hallways until they smell marijuana (or until they say they can smell marijuana) knock on a door, say they heard someone moving around around (you know, like trying to get some clothes on) and kick in the door. I see it as peeling away another layer of our four amendment rights to be secure in our homes. The oddity in this is that it resulted in a marijuana bust which is one thing we really don’t need more of in this country. The guy is sitting in his home smoking a joint, not bothering anyone and suddenly the cops break down his door and arrest him. How is this a win for the good guys?

    • greenlight

      May 16, 2011 at 5:12 pm

      Lazer–this case was almost exactly as you describe. The police had attempted to follow a suspect, but weren’t sure which apartment he had entered, and based on the marijuana smell, they knocked on the wrong door. The defendant in this case had no connection to the original reason for police to be in the area; he was sitting in his apartment enjoying a joint with friends. As it turns out, the Supreme Court wasn’t ruling on whether the sound of movement meets the reasonableness threshold for exigent circumstances, but rather upon whether any actions prompted by police action can then be used to justify a warrantless entry…but as Ginsberg appropriately pointed out in his dissent, this sets a dangerous precedent.

      As you state, in practice this means that police knocking on a door for any reason–mistaken address, notification of an illegally parked car, follow-up on a barking dog complaint, or merely passing by–could reasonably attempt to justify a pursuant forcible entry upon hearing noises that they suspect indicate the destruction of evidence. The problem is that I’m not sure what the destruction of evidence “sounds” like relative to any other movement within the house, but I guess the police think they do.

      • Peter Lake

        May 16, 2011 at 5:22 pm

        Your second paragraph is a huge stretch. You know that’s NOT what this ruling says. The fact is the cops have to be able to convince the court that they had reasonable grounds to believe that evidence was in fact being destroyed, and that there was reasonable grounds to believe those destroying the evidence were, in fact, bad guys.

        • greenlight

          May 16, 2011 at 6:08 pm

          Peter–You are right to some extent, and I just posted some clarifications and further thoughts on my posting about this ruling. As I wanted to better understand the case, I went directly to the Supreme Court’s opinion on this As it turns out, the Chicago Tribune article misstated the decision a bit–the Court was careful to specify that they were NOT ruling on whether the specific facts of this case met the threshold of reasonable suspicion. Rather, their entire consideration of this case was focused on the question of whether warrantless entry could be based upon exigent circumstances that did not exist prior to police action (in this case, knocking on the door and announcing their identity).

          I actually agree with much of the Court’s reasoning in this case, but it brings up serious concerns nonetheless–where I stand by my second paragraph is that the Court seems to acknowledge that this case hinged on the question of exigent circumstances that did not arise until after police action. In other words, they didn’t justify their entry on the basis of pursuing a fleeing suspect, nor on the smell of marijuana, but rather on the sounds that came from the apartment pursuant to their knock. The Court furthermore acknowledges that the resident would have had the option of simply not answering the door–so that also was not the issue; rather, it all comes down to the sound of motion. Police cannot enter based on smelling marijuana, and the person has the right to refuse to answer the door, but the police hear movement pursuant to a knock they can bust their way in? I’m not sure how the rustling noises produced in the hiding of drugs would differ substantially from the sounds of digging for some clothes, or moving aside some papers or other items to get up to answer the door. This doesn’t seem right. I hope that the lower courts take on the issue of whether the facts of this case truly met the threshold of reasonable suspicion…

        • lazersedge

          May 17, 2011 at 2:25 am

          Peter, this type of case hails back to the Bivens decision of the “no knock” era. All the police had to do there was convince the court that they had made an honest error until they had drug the wrong parties into the floor handcuffed and humiliated them only to find out they had the wrong house. OH YES, I forgot, they had warrants then. When will people learn that all police officers do not play by the rules, they play the rules. I am a former police officer and I have saw it done. This is bad law that will be misused over and over again.

  3. Jess

    May 16, 2011 at 5:01 pm

    How can this be a win in any way, I am really not seeing it? I’m certain we are not forgetting the whole, granny got shot last year in Florida after police went into the wrong home. Oops, sorry we killed your (insert whatever relative here) isn’t cutting it anymore with me.

  4. Jihad punk

    May 16, 2011 at 5:17 pm

    As Jess said Mike…..Cops choose my house by mistake then I’m entitled to kill the bastards as they burst in….I’m innocent therefore defending my family from invaders….

    I have no idea they’re cops so defending my family takes precidence and if I kill a cop I don’t know I have…I’m defending my family from someone invading my home…

    I think you need to think again on this one…

    The principle is certainly sound but I suspect the practice is anything but…cops are human and might get it wrong…

    In my house they might end up dead…or I might…and that would be wrong.

    The law needs to recognise that the law isn’t absolute.

  5. Jihad punk

    May 16, 2011 at 5:22 pm

    I’m actually making sense here…this is a worry….

  6. Jihad punk

    May 16, 2011 at 5:26 pm

    …and incidentally…I couldn’t ‘shoot them’ as guns are illigal here…I do have a rather large bayonet collection though…and several are ‘ready to hand’….

  7. MLH

    May 16, 2011 at 6:20 pm

    NO Police entries into a Home without a warrant, emergencies or otherwise. Period. The Founding Fathers made it that way for a reason. Cops “create” “Emergencies” … barge in … and plant evidence if they want to. Everyone needs to read New York Vs. Peyton.

    • Peter Lake

      May 16, 2011 at 6:28 pm

      So let me get this straight. You think your neighbor is having a heart attack or some evil has befallen him because you hear a moaning and groaning coming from his house. You call the police. The police arrive and can’t enter the house because they don’t have a search warrant? That is known as an exigent circumstance but you don’t like them so your neighbor dies. WTF?

      • Jihad punk

        May 16, 2011 at 6:55 pm

        Earth calling Pete…The police are human and prone – like us all – to human error…

        The circumstances you state are clearly different to the circumstances otherwise stated…

        The police have every right to enter a house were they – and the neighbours – believe their assistance is required.

        A flushing toilet hardly fits into that category.

        The police need to make a sensible judgement call.

        Me flushing my toilet is not a good or sensible judgement call.

        Common sense Pete. Everything has to be modified by common sense.

        Bursting into someone’s house because they are flushing the toilet and have the misfortune to live in a drug pushing area is not common sense.

        I live in one.

        The police come in after I’ve had a dump and one of my bayonets will be protruding from a cops neck – not if I realise he/she is a cop clearly but because he/she will be an intruder and I will be protecting my family.

        My home is my castle and nobody – including the police – will enter without my permission.

        living in a ‘high crime’ area does not make you a criminal and the police have no right to enter my home unless I ask them. End of.

        My bayonet in an officers neck because he/she barged through my door without good cause is the late officers fault…not mine.

        Laws must not make criminals out of us all…even unintentionally.

        I take your point…but the police can’t dive into anyone’s home because they think they can.

        Your scenario is a justified reason for the police to go in.

        A flushing toilet is not.

        • MLH

          May 16, 2011 at 7:20 pm

          You have Probable Cause to believe that a crime was committed confused with a medical emergency. You would call Paramedics carrying defibrillators and blood pressure cuffs, Not Police carrying guns. Cops can get a warrant with a phone call to a Judge and a printout with a wireless fax in minutes. Besides, what happens in a neighbor’s house is their business and not mine. People have to take responsibility for their own security in a free country. I prefer a free country that has police with LIMITED Power and not a Police State with police having Unlimited Power.

          • Peter Lake

            May 16, 2011 at 8:05 pm

            You would be mistaken. The number of people who call the police for a “suspicious” incident might surprise you and the scenario I gave was just that, not someone calling for medical because you had no idea what was going on. Regardless, let’s change it up:

            Your neighbor has been dealing drugs for some time. You know it but can’t prove it. You would love to get his sorry ass out of the neighborhood, but short of making him disappear there is little you can do but call the police.

            The officers arrive and you tell them that you believe your neighbor is dealing drugs and maybe even cooking meth, which could pose a serious threat to you and your family should the whole place blow. There is a smell, and the dirtbags that occupy the residence are up all night. There is a continuous amount of traffic, dirt bags, coming to their door and you have seen money exchange hands.

            The police don’t have enough for a search warrant. You are not a reliable informant and the information you have is not sufficient for the officers to obtain a warrant. So, mainly to placate you and to satisfy their curiosity, the officers call for backup, just in case, and knock on your neighbor’s door. You hear a tremendous ruckus coming from the house, like people running, toilets flushing and etc. There are loud shouts heard through the walls. The cops, knowing that something untoward is going on, kick down the door, and find dirt bags everywhere, along with huge quantities of methamphetamine, and all sorts of other controlled substances.

            They now have a case. The evidence is seized and the dirtbags are arrested. The threat to your neighborhood no longer exists.

            A search warrant could not have been obtained without a lot of additional investigation, and yet a warrantless search was conducted based on exigent circumstances and a whole bucketload of scumbags are now going to jail.

            Mission accomplished.

            As to your living in a place with less police intervention you may consider living in a country with less crime. America is a dangerous place and you need the cops.

            • Jihad punk

              May 16, 2011 at 8:19 pm

              …as much as I respect and admire cops…they are human and can ‘get it wrong’ as can we all…

              They burst into the wrong house and one gets killed or injured by the ‘innocent’ householder who is protecting his/her own does the ‘innocent’ householder have a case to answer?

              No.

              The dead/injured cop is collateral damage against the law which allowed them to burst into the wrong house.

              The ‘law’ can’t have it all ways.

              Any other route is a police state old bean. It can’t be any other way.

            • MLH

              May 16, 2011 at 8:55 pm

              First off, I wouldn’t want a busybody neighbor like you; as you should learn to mind your own business … not minding your own business in a free society can get you killed. You had enough probable cause to make a citizen’s arrest, so why didn’t you? You admitted the Police didn’t have enough probable cause so their correct action should be to take your tattle-tale assessment under advisement and steak the property out until they did have enough probable cause that a crime was being committed and that you were not just trying to make up a story to have your neighbor, that you don’t like, messed with and arrested by police. Instead of being a tattle-tale, next time take photographs and draft a proper affidavit of probable cause to file at your police department’s narcotics division. If you did it that way, not only would the police arrive with probable cause, but they would have their warrant too. You need to learn how to be a MAN in this free society.

              • Peter Lake

                May 16, 2011 at 8:58 pm

                OK! You don’t have the slightest idea of what you are talking about? A “citizen’s arrest.” You are kidding right? You don’t have a clue as to the law MLH. Not a clue.

      • lazersedge

        May 17, 2011 at 2:33 am

        Peter, if me moving around after someone knocks on my door is a reason for the police to burst into my home then we are all in trouble. Even if they scream police, I would still like to put some clothes on before I answer the door. And, what would happen if they break down my door and my dog doesn’t appreciate it, since he doesn’t read the U.S. Reporter. And this is reality, would they kill my dog because he is protecting my home. Does no one remember why we have the fourth amendment. It was exactly because British troops would burst into peoples homes prior to and during the Revolutionary War. That is what the amendment was intended to do.

        • --anonymous--@cox.net

          May 17, 2011 at 2:58 am

          Very Good and correct responses above Lazersedge!! I totally remember what the 4th Amendment was for. This bad decision will precisely have the effects you stated. I have had my 4th Amendment rights stepped all over and on by a Federal Magistrate in a Suppression Hearing. The Judges will lie to help law enforcement make a case … so don’t expect a judge to protect you from violations. Exactly what happened to unfortunate SUSPECT number two! 😉

  8. Jihad punk

    May 16, 2011 at 7:49 pm

    MLH is now something of a hero of mine. I couldn’t have put it better myself….

    Given my track record on MMA he/she may wish it wasn’t so…but it is…

    so there!…;-)

  9. Jihad punk

    May 16, 2011 at 7:50 pm

    oh…er…yes…I was off to bed…sorry…had one for the road…nite MMA…sleep tight…JP x

  10. Eddie

    May 16, 2011 at 8:51 pm

    Before all you guys hyperventilate, check out the case. Police chase criminal. Criminal escapes. Cops charge into the only possible unit he could be in based on the clues available. Found a different criminal. Criminal gets arrested.

    Why are you on the side of the criminal?

    • Peter Lake

      May 16, 2011 at 9:00 pm

      Eddie I couldn’t agree more. When some liberals bleed they bleed all over themselves, as in falling on their own swords or being hoisted on their own “petards.” Although I have liberal leanings I have a clear sense of the difference between bad guys and good guys, and I won’t shed a tear over the bad guys.

    • MLH

      May 16, 2011 at 9:04 pm

      Everyone is innocent until proven guilty in this free society Eddie, that’s why. A person is only a suspect until adjudicated guilty in a criminal court. I want all the Liberty that can be possibly had for me, you, and everyone else. Encroaching on someone’s Liberty in a free society can get you killed.

      • Eddie

        May 16, 2011 at 9:19 pm

        I see….a situation where a cop makes a mistake that bagged a different criminal… situation where NO ONE here is alleging that the cops acted incompetently by connecting the dots wrong…is the perfect excuse to side with criminals…

        And do you morons know that you guys sound EXACTLY like the right wing militias?

        • MLH

          May 16, 2011 at 10:46 pm

          First thing Eddie, is I take exception to you calling anyone here a Moron without any of us calling you a derogatory name. An apology to the group is in order … IF (the biggest little word in the English Language) you don’t want to offer an apology, THEN I would have to deem you a “Jaggovv”.

          Just want you to know that Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Paine, Patrick Henry, Benjamin Franklin, Nathan Hale, and George Washington, but not limited to, all sounded like “Right-wing Militia” also. I’m pretty sure that is a good thing, Eddie.

          Anyone that has studied Law, History, and the Constitution, usually sounds like “Right-wing Militia”. As I stated supra., I’m pretty sure that is a good thing.

          You are probably a member of The Militia and don’t even know it! See Title 10 USCA Chapter 13 Section 311 (a), (b) (1)&(2). “THE MILITIA”.

          It has been the Law of the USA since June 3, 1916. 😉

          • Eddie

            May 16, 2011 at 11:02 pm

            Are my eyes working fine? Someone posting on a left wing website proudly associating themselves with the scum like the Oklahoma bomber? Well, proud militant, orders have come from above and I mean all the way above. Going to bomb them now in defense of liberty?

    • greenlight

      May 16, 2011 at 10:05 pm

      Eddie–The thing is, this wasn’t the only unit the suspect could have been in. There was also the unit next door, which, coincidentally, is where the original suspect actually was.

      If the police were arguing forcible entry in pursuit of a suspect, I would actually agree with it–I’m not anti-police, nor anti-policing, nor (it’s true, Peter) am I pro-criminal. It sounds like in this case, though, the police wouldn’t have entered the apartment without hearing the movement inside, and that sounds to be weak justification.

      As a private resident, I have the right to refuse police entry into my home, and the burden is on them to secure a warrant or make an argument for exigent circumstances. If they hear someone’s dying screams, but all means, they should bust their way in. If they see a suspect run into my home–why, I’d provide them with the battering ram. (Or simply open the door for them, but you get the point–I’d support their right to force entry.)

      What I don’t care for is the idea that I–or my parents, or anyone’s parents, or some kids playing in a random living room somewhere–can have the police bust in on them because “there might be something going on, and they heard movement.”

      I know that I’m excessively private–I once felt violated when a hotel’s housekeeping crew cleaned my room despite the “privacy please” sign on the door–but I have to believe that having police bust down your door is just a tad traumatic, particularly if there was no indication they were coming, nor a clear impetus for their presence. Police cannot force entry without a warrant based solely on the basis of probable cause, barring exigent circumstances, and “movement” should not be sufficient to negate the need for a warrant.

      • Eddie

        May 16, 2011 at 10:18 pm

        What shit are you sprouting? The article clearly stated that they smelled drugs coming from THE UNIT THEY BARGED IN. You give no evidence that the police had clues that the original drug dealer was more likely in a different unit. You are STILL trying to justify RIGHT WING MILITIA TALKING POINTS for the most stupid of paranoid delusions. What is the statistical probability of you having to make hurried noises and flush the toilet when cops are hammering on your door for a drug dealer? Zilch. Morons got on my property before. Based on the majority of the above comments, I have a right to kill the fuckers…or does it only apply to unfortunate cops?

        • greenlight

          May 16, 2011 at 11:00 pm

          Eddie – The police were faced with a 50/50 scenario–following a suspect after observing a drug deal, they weren’t sure which of two apartments the suspect had entered, so they went for the one with the smell of marijuana. (The case can be read here: http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/10pdf/09-1272.pdf)

          I would have fully supported the police justifying their entry based upon their pursuit. It appears that there was enough uncertainty of the location of the suspect, though, that they felt compelled to otherwise justify their entry–and they did so not based upon the smell of marijuana, but rather based upon the sound of movement after their knock.

          I’m far from right-wing militia, but unless most druggies are setting up flop houses right in front of their local police stations and then callng their local officers to invite them to watch, the number of druggies filling our prisons and jails appears to indicate that the state has assumed a pretty wide reach in enforcing drug laws.

          • Eddie

            May 16, 2011 at 11:06 pm

            Let me get this straight. They were in an emergency situation and they had two doors in front of them. One literally smelled like drugs…and you called it a 50-50 guess? Damn, I hope you don’t gamble.

            • greenlight

              May 16, 2011 at 11:32 pm

              I can’t mention the number of times I’ve smelled marijuana smoke drafting out of an apartment building, and I’ve never lived in a high crime area. That aside, if I had bet against the police here, I would’ve won–dude was in the other apartment. 🙂

              • Eddie

                May 17, 2011 at 12:12 pm

                You do know the action you just mentioned is a federal crime, right?

                • lazersedge

                  May 17, 2011 at 2:37 pm

                  What, smelling marijuana outside an apartment building? Or betting against the Cops? To my knowledge, neither of those actions violate any federal statute.

      • MLH

        May 16, 2011 at 11:01 pm

        Yes Greenlight, I have to say I strongly agree with you, as what you said is right out of Peyton v. New York (Supreme Court). There is a BRIGHT RED Line at the threshold of a Private Home or dwelling. The cops arrested a second incorrect subject, without any nexus of probable cause for being inside his dwelling (he wasn’t the guy they were following after). It simply was not a valid search or seizure of his private property (smoke) or his body. The 4th Amendment was to keep us safe from police with their itchy trigger fingers on their guns in our Homes. We have to keep a strong check on the police powers, or they will barge into our homes, kill family members, and get away with it.

    • lazersedge

      May 17, 2011 at 2:36 am

      The police only obtained said criminal through unconstitutional means Eddie. They were not looking for this person. He was in his home not bothering anyone. For Christ sake, the last thing we need is more pot users filling up prisons at $25,000 a year. He wasn’t selling anything, not robbing anyone, not driving.

      • greenlight

        May 17, 2011 at 11:32 am

        Well said, Lazer!

        MLH–The police did have probable cause (from the smell of smoke), but absent exigent circumstances, that only gives them the support for a warrant–not to barge in.

        • Eddie

          May 17, 2011 at 12:25 pm

          And guess who has the final say on what “unreasonable search and seizure” and “probable cause” means? I give you a hint, you can see their logo above the article.

          Now tell me…who just decided “officers who loudly knock on a door and then hear sounds suggesting evidence is being destroyed may break down the door and enter without a search warrant” is constitutional?

      • Eddie

        May 17, 2011 at 12:13 pm

        Read the fucking article. The SUPREME COURT in a SUPER MAJORITY decision said it was constitutional. You do know which branch has the sole right to decide what is and what isn’t unconstitutional, right? YOU do not get to pick and chose while Supreme Court ruling can be obeyed and when to threaten them. That makes you NO DIFFERENT than right wing militants.

        • lazersedge

          May 17, 2011 at 2:34 pm

          Eddie, the swing to and fro of the Supreme Court is legend. I am guessing you are a bit younger than some of us and have yet to witness some of the extremes that law enforcement might push these things. Agreed that in many cases cops are folks trying to do do a tough job. I know because I used to be one. But I also know that they will push this a bit beyond this ruling to see how far they can go until, years from now, another ruling will have to clarify what “rustling around” means. If you would do some research on how far the police pushed the “no knock” searches (to the point where innocent people were being shot and killed in their homes) you would understand why this is a bad precedent. In the present case I doubt that you even understand the intricacies of the how and why they were even able to make the arrest of the non fleeing person. The saddest part of this scenario is that the police were trying to get a drug dealer off the streets, which they did not, and failing to to that, only got a pot head sitting in his home smoking grass. Something that in some states is not even illegal.
          One other thing, the issue of whether it is a federal or a state crime really makes no big difference except how many of us taxpayers are footing the bill for this guy’s incarceration. The old “federal crime” thing doesn’t carry much weight these days since most states have more severe penalties and worse prison conditions for similar crimes in the country.

          • Eddie

            May 17, 2011 at 3:23 pm

            I find it amusing that NONE of you are responding to the stated scenario and STILL making up paranoid hypothetical and still siding with a proven criminal. Hey, I disagree with the Supreme Court ruling that students can be searched by the school without a warrant, but you don’t see me making paranoid posts about being stripped searched on a daily basis for drugs. You want me believe that you were a cop and that you think that most cops are good people, but you also want me to believe that due to the lack of super precision in their words (which a real cop would know is both a pain in the ass and impossible given the various ever changing situations), the problems of cops rampaging will be bad enough that the Supreme Court, not whoever is in charge of disciplinary measures, has to deal with the problem again? You are either a lying fake or someone trying to blame someone else for the incompetence of your former force.

            I will also like to add that based on REAL personal experience, I am more than fine with the decision. Last year, a robber was chased and caught on my family’s property. No warrant, 9/11 caller was not interviewed, no emergency, did not even inform or seek the real owner of the house. Drunk brat was hauled away, his parents called, and the excessive amount of cop cars and boots went away.

            • greenlight

              May 17, 2011 at 4:52 pm

              Eddie–Our entire government is based on checks and balances, and the common law system is based on the foundational concept that the Constitution and subsequent laws are subject to human interpretation. The general public can disagree on the legal reasoning and Constitutional meaning of rulings–just as members of the Court often do among themselves–without being paranoid delusional militants. I don’t think Ginsberg is a paranoid delusional militant, and he disagreed with the “Super Majority.”

              I do not believe that I will be strip-searched daily as a result of this decision. I believe it’s highly unlikely that I would ever have the police barge through my door for any reason, much less due to this ruling. I do, nonetheless, disagree with some (not all) aspects of this ruling (the vast majority of the legal reasoning surrounding exigent circumstances was sound), but nonetheless find the Court’s silence on the facts of this case troubling (they were specific in stating that they were not determining whether the facts of this particular case met the legal threshold), and generally feel that the Supreme Court’s tendency in recent years has represented a slow retrenchment of rights that has very real and detrimental effects on our nation.

              This isn’t talking from some right-wing perspective–we incarcerate more of our citizens than any other industrialized nation, by a fairly wide margin. Even if you point out that the vast majority of us are NOT behind bars…many states spend more on criminal justice now than they do on education, and this has been a recent development. The more we feed people into the criminal justice system (and often for nonviolent crimes–apparently, even those nonviolent crimes committed in the privacy of their own homes), the more money it takes to maintain, and the less we have for education, health care, or basic maintenance to our nation’s infrastructure. Right now, more than two million people are wasting away behind bars–which is great for those who pose a genuine threat to society, but we are paying to keep a substantial number of nonviolent, potentially taxpaying, productive, contributing members off the streets.

              The more our educational system deteriorates, the more likely people are to turn to crime…Oh, sorry, is it extremely militant of me to think that I’d rather have our government pay a teacher’s salary (or for a drug treatment clinic) than to have them paying thousands each year for the next eleven years to keep this guy in prison because he was using drugs in his livng room? Then just label me Glenn Beck, I guess.

            • lazersedge

              May 18, 2011 at 4:18 am

              I feel very safe in saying, Eddie, that you will one day see the over reach of this decision. Perhaps not personally, but it will come to pass. I have dealing with the Criminal Justice System for over 40 years and my experience tells me that this decision will pushed to the point that it will have to be modified severely. As I said, there is a swing to and fro with the Supreme Court and it is going to be swinging the other way soon.