June 15, 2006

News that worries me

Posted in Civil rights, News at 12:47 pm by The Lizard Queen

Police don’t have to knock, justices say: “WASHINGTON (CNN) — A split Supreme Court ruled Thursday that drug evidence seized in a home search can be used against a suspect even though police failed to knock on the door and wait a ‘reasonable’ time before entering.”

In case anyone’s curious, here’s the text of the Fourth Amendment: 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.

It seems to me that it would be difficult to be secure in one’s person, house, etc. when knowing that police don’t even have to knock before serving a warrant. Gee, I can’t think of any way in which that could be abused…

(In other news, it seems I’m feeling more cynical than usual today…)



  1. Caracierge said,

    It’s kind of hard for me to feel bad for people who weren’t given enough time to flush or hide their drugs before the police came in and found them….

    I know it’s probably a blow to citizens’ rights (but hello- we approved the Patriot Act!), but so we knock down a few doors a little more quickly… and catch a few more drug dealers before their drugs end up in the hands of 13 year olds, or another kid gets shot because of them… well, I can live with that. Call the ACLU on me!

  2. DavidD said,

    To get a warrant against you, all someone has to do is to tell a credible lie against you. The Constitution can’t protect against that. The Constitution does protect us from what the gullible minions of the state do to you after they administer a search warrant or arrest warrant. Nitpicking over exactly how a warrant is served, though, is like rules over whether they can hit me on the left side or the right side first. Once there is reasonable suspicion that I’m a bad guy, false as it might be, true as it might be, I’m in for a rough time no matter what details SCOTUS lays out 5-4. Have you seen what it like on Cops on TV? The Constitution lets me get out of this eventually, but we’re all one denouncement away from being on the wrong side of legal procedures. “Secure” doesn’t mean absolutely secure, especially if you get on the wrong side of someone with high credibility, especially if you’re not the sort of damsel in distress for whom cable TV would rally to support. Hey, Liz, maybe you are! Does that make you sleep better? The Constitution is just a piece of paper, but cable TV is an audience ready to help you, if you’re worthy in their eyes.

    It’s like your great-grandfather judge said about what to do should his child get in trouble. “Don’t get in trouble.” Once you’re in trouble, the only options are what kind of trouble it is. Being king of your castle at that point is not an option.

  3. Okay, you both have good points. This was a knee-jerk post, which is something I generally try to avoid. I still think this is evidence of the SCOTUS’s shift to the right–which everyone was expecting, of course–and that’s what I think makes me jittery. But. No sense counting our civil rights limitations before they hatch, I suppose…

    (Also, I must say I’m thoroughly amused by the idea that cable TV viewers might defend me were I in distress…)

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