Warning: “Moving Around,” Flushing in Your Home Justifies Warrantless Entry

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Greenlight is a writer and educator who believes in the best of humanity, but dedicates much time to studying people at their worst.
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I consider myself a private person, and I’m not usually one to welcome unannounced company. In fact, my typical response to an unexpected visitor is to duck into a dark room until the salesperson/politician/Jehovah’s Witness has moved on to the next house. (I make an exception for Girl Scouts, or any other guests bearing cookies.)

I understand that things are different if the unexpected knocker happens to be law enforcement. Generally speaking, they don’t bring cookies, but I understand that ignoring their knock is simply distasteful. Nonetheless, my non-drug-using, generally straight-laced self likes the idea of having the luxury of a few moments to clean up my appearance or set some dishes into the sink on my way to the door.

Today, there is bad news for private, hanging-out-in-their-boxers type folks nationwide. No longer is it wise to grab for some pants on your way to the door, or even to flush if you happen to be–er, indulging in a moment of privacy in your “reading room.” The Supreme Court just ruled that police may use the sound of “moving and perhaps toilets being flushed” as justification to forcibly enter a home in pursuit of drug evidence.

I thought that the nation had come a long way in respecting privacy rights when the Supreme Court ruled on Lawrence v. Texas, which recognized the protection to sexual privacy in one’s home. Now, it appears that one need not do more than “move” in their own home to surrender their claims to privacy.

Read the full, troubling story here.

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Posted by on May 16, 2011. Filed under Commentary,News,Political,Social Issues. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry
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8 Responses to Warning: “Moving Around,” Flushing in Your Home Justifies Warrantless Entry

  1. Jihad punk Reply

    May 16, 2011 at 4:26 pm

    Jesus H Bloody Christ!!!! Good job I don’t live over there!!!!

    Anyone busts me when I’m closeted with my newspaper and there’d be so many dead cops they’d have to start a recruiting campaign!!!….and with my ‘home defence’ system I ain’t kidding…

    You come through my front door uninvited you are TOAST….er…don’t tell eh?….ta…England is a bit odd about this sort of thing…I still believe ‘an Englishman’s home is his castle’….

    America is clearly going over the edge of madness.

    Someone pull back eh?

    …please?

  2. lazersedge Reply

    May 16, 2011 at 4:50 pm

    G.L. I just posted my thoughts on this on another post. I think this is just another ridiculous step in peeling away our fourth amendment rights in the so called “war on drugs”. I am one of those folks that prefer to walk around my house anyway I happened to be dressed at the time. When someone knocks on my door I usually try to get some semblance of decent clothing on. I guess this gives me an excuse to start answering the door in the nude now. It ain’t gonna be a pretty picture.

  3. Jess Reply

    May 16, 2011 at 4:55 pm

    I think I am going to start wearing my 4th amendment tee everywhere I go now, get a couple others to sleep in and change around. This is getting ridiculous.

  4. greenlight Reply

    May 16, 2011 at 5:30 pm

    The Court in this case actually ruled on whether it was allowable to justify a warrantless entry on the basis of exigent circumstances that stem from a response to police action–they were careful NOT to comment on whether the specific facts of the case (the smell of marijuana, and then the sound of movement) actually met the threshold of exigent circumstances.

    Still, in focusing on the question of whether one can justify exigent circumstances based on actions that follow police action, the Court seems to be accepting that exigent circumstances in this case did not exist PRIOR to the police action (of knocking on the door and identifying themselves)–in other words, that neither the police pursuit of the original suspect in this case, nor the smell of marijuana, would have justified warrantless entry. In fact, they furthermore specifically state that it would have been within the apartment dweller’s rights to refuse to answer the door, leaving the only matter in question the sound of movement.

  5. Jihad punk Reply

    May 16, 2011 at 7:03 pm

    I can’t actually imagine a cop over here in Blighty even considering doing this…they know they’d be badly hurt/dead as soon as they walked through any door around here – and that comes from a law abiding citizen!!!!

    MY home, MY family, MY place.

    You’re invited or you’d better not come in.

    And I thought the USA was violent!

    When it comes to ‘hearth and home’ nobody….and I mean nobody…gets through an English door unscathed if uninvited!!!…and we’re a friendly race!!!!

  6. Eddie Reply

    May 16, 2011 at 11:14 pm

    Yo, right wing militants pretending to be liberals, answer me this: What is the statistical probability of having to make rushed noises, flush the toilet, be on the first floor (so cops can hear said flush, be an innocent man/woman, and have the cops are hammering on your door concerning an escaped druggie? Does this warrant the paranoia?

    • lazersedge Reply

      May 17, 2011 at 2:42 am

      Yo, Eddie, have you actually read the history of the fourth amendment. If you want to let police bust in your door, fine. Personally, I sort of like the idea of them having more than rustling sounds from behind a closed door as probable cause. It just be me putting away my rattlesnakes.

      • Eddie Reply

        May 17, 2011 at 12:09 pm

        Oh, please. The only alternative was to lock the apartment building down and flood it with policemen while waiting for an warrant. Do you really want that? Because if that had happened, what you would say would probably go like this.

        “Oh, those INCOMPETENT little assholes that call themselves cops! It was CLEAR where the criminal could be! They could even SMELL the drugs. They could had just followed through with their pursuit on their doughnut fat legs and taken him down! Now look at this mess! The entire neighborhood is traumatized!”

        And eventually the non-original criminal would be discovered and you would blow a casket.

        So I guess the cops just have to live with people taking the court’s permission to barge in when they have damn good evidence that evidence is being destroyed and twist in Limbaugh style.

        I see that you could not even respond to the original scenario. Guess what that tells me?

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