Monday, May 16, 2011

A man's home is NOT his castle

Why do I rail so much against the emasculation of the 4th Amendment when it comes to people accused of driving while intoxicated? What's the big deal about lowering the standard to stop a car? So what if a drunk driver isn't afforded the opportunity to consult with an attorney before being asked to blow into the state's black box? What's the big deal about "No Refusal" Weekends?

It's because every time we make an exception to the 4th Amendment, we lose just a little bit more of the freedom  we fought so hard to obtain in the 1770's.
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. - 4th Amendment
Note that there is nothing in the text of the 4th Amendment that says "except when..." or "unless..." or "under exigent circumstances." The courts have been only too happy over the years to turn the 4th Amendment into a piece of swiss cheese - so riddled with holes and exceptions that its protections are meaningless.

When we turn a blind eye to the 4th Amendment in a DWI case we make it easier for the next judge to take away the rights of someone accused of some other crime. When we allow the police to stop a car because the officer has "reasonable suspicion" that some criminal activity might be afoot - then we allow an officer to arrest a motorist and search his car with less evidence to support his decision that would be required to obtain a search warrant. You allow a judge to sign a warrant authorizing a forced blood draw when the arresting officer can't point to anything that the driver did that was illegal - he just had a hunch.

Last week the Indiana Supreme Court said to hell with your right to be safe inside your home from unwarranted government intrusion when it found a homeowner had no right to use force to prevent the police from entering his house unlawfully.

Just think about that for a second.

Let it soak in.

If you happen to live in Indiana, you are no longer secure in your house from "unreasonable searches and seizures." You have just lost your reasonable right to privacy in your home. In Indiana, the 4th Amendment is but a meaningless sentence on an old piece of paper. It means absolutely nothing.

This decision comes from the folks who brought you that canard about "liberal" judges and their activism in "expanding" constitutional rights and privileges. It comes from the same folks who told you that judges should honor precedent. It comes from the same folks who told you that judges shouldn't make law from the bench.

Your reliance on politicians who told you they were for limited government has been betrayed.

Do you really want sobriety checkpoints on the roads? Do you really want government mandated ignition interlock devices on cars? Do you really want the government to have access to your text messages, voice mails and e-mails through your cell phone or internet provider?

Are you ready for an era in which the police will be allowed to stop a motorist for no reason whatsoever?

As Billy Joel once sang:
This is what you wanted; ain't you proud?
'Cause everybody loves you now.

See also:

"Resistance is futile," Simple Justice (May 14, 2011)
"Indiana cops get the keys to the castle," Defending People (May 15, 2011)

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