Court: No Right to Resist Illegal Cop Entry into Home

“Fourth amendment? We don’t need no stinkin’ fourth amendment“. So ruled the Indiana Supreme Court, in effect.

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.

“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.”

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.

So apparently, now the police can enter your home for any reason. Of course, you can sue them afterwards, after spending the night in jail, and if you can afford a decent lawyer.

In fairness, though, I should mention the context:

The court’s decision stems from  a Vanderburgh County case in which police were called to investigate a husband and wife arguing outside their apartment.

When the couple went back inside their apartment, the husband told police they were not needed and blocked the doorway so they could not enter. When an officer entered anyway, the husband shoved the officer against a wall. A second officer then used a stun gun on the husband and arrested him.

I agree that the man should not have shoved the officer. That was assault and reason enough to arrest him. And yet, if there was no obvious crime involved, why did the officer have the right to enter this man’s apartment?

In his dissent from the ruling, Justice Robert Rucker said:

In my view the majority sweeps with far too broad a brush by essentially telling Indiana citizens that government agents may now enter their homes illegally — that is, without the necessity of a warrant, consent or exigent circumstances

And Justice Brent Dickson added:

The wholesale abrogation of the historic right of a person to reasonably resist unlawful police entry into his dwelling is unwarranted and unnecessarily broad

I agree. Whatever the merits of this particular case, this decision could well be used as a precedent for the police to enter in a person’s home without a warrant , or any sign of a crime being committed.

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