The War on Drugs has cost us enough blood and treasure

by wfgodbold

Now it’s taken some of our liberties, as well.

Orin Kerr summarizes:

In this case, officers entered an apartment without a warrant after smelling marijuana inside, knocking, and hearing noises inside.

They heard noises after they knocked? And that was good enough to enter?

I imagine even if the knocker hadn’t been the police, he could have heard noises inside; most people don’t take pains to move in silence in their own homes, especially if they’re startled by banging on the door.

I don’t claim that they were innocent, or that they weren’t using illegal drugs (which is a subject for a whole ‘nother rant). I don’t know if the officers “demanded” entry, as the defendants claim, or if they merely announced that they were the police, as the judge in the initial case claimed.

At The Agitator, guest-blogger Peter Moskos says this:

And the logic of court has been consistent. When it comes to policing and warrantless searches, here are the rules:

1) Anything police come across is fair game. In other words, if police are there legally, they never have to close their eyes to something illegal (even if it’s not what they first came to look for).

2) “Exigent circumstances” give police the right to skip the warrant requirement.

3) Police are allowed to make honest mistakes if they’re acting in good faith.

4) Police have the rights to look for weapons that could be used against them.

5) The Court has no desire to read the minds and intentions of police officers (or concern themselves with how hard police knock). It just wants police behavior to be legal.

Taken individually, it’s hard to see any of these rules as unreasonable. Taken collectively, it means arrests are almost never, as the Founding Fathers intended, conducted with a court-issued warrant. It’s strange to me, since the 4th Amendment–unlike, say, the 2nd Amendment–is pretty unambiguous.

He’s right. Especially when combined with the recent Indiana ruling.

I’m a big fan of law and order. I don’t go around breaking laws willy-nilly, just because I can, or because I want to stick it to the man, or anything like that.

But the entire point of the Bill of Rights was to constrain government power, and now we’ve gone almost completely in the opposite direction.

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