17 May 2011

The Police State


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.
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.

Many online commentators and bloggers have made a great to-do over how this violates the fourth amendment of the United States constitution.  I, for one, disagree with this assessment, mostly because I view the United States constitution as being primarily concerned with limiting federal power, except where explicitly stated.  Furthermore, the Indiana Supreme Court is supposed to interpret state laws within the framework of the state constitution.  As such, it is obvious that the Indiana Supreme Court has ruled against its own state’s constitution.

Article I, Section 11 clearly states:
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable search or seizure, shall not be violated; and no warrant shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the person or thing to be seized.

If this sounds familiar, it’s probably because it bears more than a passing resemblance to a certain amendment in the federal 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.

Now, I’m no constitutional scholar.  However, unlike the three of the justices on the Indiana Supreme Court, it appears that I have actually read the Indiana state constitution.  And, from what I can gather, no government agent can enter someone’s house and arrest him or her without first obtaining a warrant.

Furthermore, the amendment affirms the citizen’s right to be secure in his own home.  In plain English, this means that each person has the right to be secure in his own home.  Police officers can’t barge in willy-nilly.  Government agents can’t just waltz in and order people around.  People have the right to be secure in their own homes.  Period, end of discussion, amen.
"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."

I’m not sure what rock this panty-waist liberal has been living under.  Police have demonstrated a willingness to bully people (just ask anyone who has ever been pulled over), to abuse their power and authority (by, say, soliciting sexual favors), and to kill innocent people (search Google using the term “police accidentally kill”).  Does David expect this ruling to decrease or increase hostilities?

Perhaps an example will help clarify the question.  Suppose, Justice David, that someone knocks on your door one day.  You answer, and the person knocking on your day says let me in.  You ask why, then he shoves the door open and pulls out a piece of metal wrapped in leather and says that the government has given him permission to enter your home for any reason whatsoever and you need to do what he says.  Do you, Justice David, feel hostility or amicability towards this person?  Why, then, do you suppose normal people would feel anything other than hostility towards this person as well?

(Also, since we’re asking questions, why are you unable to understand the clear language of Article I, Section 11 of the Indiana Constitution, Justice David?  Are you illiterate? Or are you lazy?  Or are you stupid?)

Also, being prohibited from resisting might cause criminals to think that it would be a good idea to pose as police.  Should people resist them?  And what if they mistake police for criminals and thugs (which, let’s face it, is not exactly beyond the realm of possibility)?  This may be a real, serious question later on, but no one seems to have considered it.  It’s as if there are some who strangely believe that criminals will behave with honor and that police will behave circumspectly, and that no one will ever mistake one for the other.  Talk about living in a fantasy world.

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.

Because people now have strong reason to believe that the court will uphold their pre-established, unmistakably clear rights.  Oh wait, they don’t.  If the Indiana Supreme Court is incapable of understanding the clear, direct language of the Indiana state constitution, what confidence can any Indiana citizen have in expecting the state Supreme Court in understanding and properly applying any other part of the constitution?  What confidence can any Indiana citizen have in expecting the state Supreme Court to defend and uphold their rights?  And what confidence can any Indiana citizen have in expecting the state Supreme Court to correctly interpret any other state law?  Somehow, I doubt that Indiana citizens will find David’s promises reassuring.

And so, this how the police state begins in America.  Those who do not resist it will get exactly what they deserve.

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