Wednesday, May 18, 2011


Picture this: It is 3 a.m. and you are sound asleep. The house is dark. Your kids are asleep down the hall. Suddenly and without any warning, the front door of your home is kicked in and several men enter the house. You can’t see them because the house is dark. What would you do?

If you own a gun and you can get your hands on it quickly, you’d probably use it, right? You would do whatever it takes to resist the intruders and protect your home and your family, right? Instinctively, you switch on a light to see who you’re dealing with. It turns out your unwelcome intruders are cops. What are they doing there and what can you do about it? Well, as it turns out, if you’re in Indiana, there is absolutely nothing you can legally do about it. This week, the Indiana Supreme Court sent down two outrageous rulings: First, last Monday the court ruled police serving a warrant may enter a home without knocking if officers decide circumstances justify it. (Previously, police serving a warrant had to obtain a judge's permission to enter without knocking). Then, three days later the court said this:
"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."
In simple terms, your home in Indiana is no longer a sanctuary. It is fair game for law enforcement officers to simply barge in and do what they wish. If you put up a fight, you are viewed as potentially violent and therefore in violation of the law. Oh, and that Fourth Amendment they mentioned? Just as a refresher: The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution ensures this legal right -- “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.”

Indiana evidently feels secure in its imaginary power to defy the U.S. Constitution. I can’t help wondering: Since when is the U.S. Constitution negotiable? So, you may wonder why this came about. It seems that recently in Vanderbergh County (the county seat of Evansville), police were called about a domestic disturbance. When they arrived at the home, the male resident resisted their entry and shoved a cop. He was subsequently neutralized with a stun gun. Indiana apparently doesn’t take kindly to cop shoving, so a brouhaha ensued that went all the way to the Indiana Supremes, who issued the aforementioned rulings.

So here’s the problem (besides the Constitutional fuzziness here): What if, for example, you are a single woman in the house by yourself and suddenly the cops burst into your house? What if it turns out they actually had the wrong address and they were supposed to be investigating the house next door? Do you have a right to resist or are you suddenly a criminal if you do? Or, consider this: What if an intruder who is not a cop bursts into your house and announces he is a police officer? Suppose his goal is rape and/or robbery and he accomplishes one or both of his aims?

How is Indiana Supreme Court (left) going to justify that? Here’s how: The prevailing wisdom of the Indiana Supremes is that you have a legal right to file a civil suit against the above-mentioned cop with the wrong address or the robber/rapist who defiles you and your property. Seriously, that is what Indiana says you can do about it. First, how far do you think you’re going to get by suing a cop who entered your home with the full blessing of the highest court in the state? And if you sue the robber/rapist, hasn’t the harm already been done? What good will a law suit do?

The bigger implication here is even scarier. We have already lost almost our last shred of privacy in this country. Whether you know it or not, you are on camera almost every time you go anywhere in public. Security cameras on private properties and businesses share intrusion of privacy rights with city-owned cameras used in the name of public safety and security. So, the last bastion of privacy you had was your home. Indiana has now taken that away from you with the full blessing of the judicial system. What if their actions are emulated by other states and ultimately sanctioned by the highest court in the land?

Make some noise, America. Speak up now. If you don’t, you’re about to be reduced to a caged animal in your own space, and the only ones with the keys will be the men and women in blue. Is it just me or is there something distinctly un-American about this? Oh, by the way: In Evansville, IN, you can join the police department at age 21 with a GED. You don’t even have to have really gone to high school. This might be who knocks down your door in the middle of the night. I don’t know about you, but it makes me just a little bit uneasy.


Beauty504 said...

It makes me feel uneasy, luckily I live in Louisiana for now. I agree it is unconstitutional. I am all about privacy and the right to it. Also, how ironic is it a police officer can do something unconstitutional yet they can reply it's the law.

seoinheritx said...

i enjoy such nice post.

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Igor Kopmar said...

I am not agree with your post.
Indiana in a great place to live and nice place to visit, I have been there for 4 days and love it a lot.

Igor Kopmar,
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