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Old 04-17-2013, 06:09 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Court: No right to resist unlawful police entry

Court: No right to resist unlawful police entry

Now this really bothers me
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Old 04-17-2013, 06:17 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Soooo...basically home owners may not resist people illegaly breaking into their home if those people are police officers. Because "allowing resistance unnecessarily escalates the level of violence and therefore the risk of injuries to all parties involved without preventing the arrest."

Aight. So I guess resisting a burglar breaking into the home is also not allowed, because resistance might unnecessarily escalate the level of violence.

Also, what a peculiar choice of the term 'unnecessarily'.
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Old 04-17-2013, 06:32 AM   #3 (permalink)
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So, we are basically enabling criminal actions because the actions are connected to the State apparatus?

I'm pretty darned sure this one will be overturned. Not only does it legalize something that has long been illegal adding a "special exception" to unlawful entry due to the state employee connection, it also places a tremendous burden on the homeowner in destabilizing the right to their "castle" but also makes the homeowner responsible for determining at that point in time if the police committing an unlawful act are acting as police or acting as criminals.

Bullshit either way.
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Old 04-17-2013, 06:35 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I haz a confused. It's unlawful to prevent something that's unlawful? Ummm......
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Old 04-17-2013, 07:31 AM   #5 (permalink)
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I haz a confused. It's unlawful to prevent something that's unlawful? Ummm......
Because the current governments of today no longer recognize the 'rule of law' - the tyrants think they are above it.

The problem is - that we will move further and further into this - they add more laws, but people will start to consider if government doesn't have to follow it's laws; why should they?

The 'tyrants' flex their muscle and use their thugs to intimidate the populace - because they MUST keep people thinking that the 'government' is the real power not the people. Never mind the fact that police and military are outnumbered probably 50,000:1

Don't think one country is better than the other, that's just more BS meant to keep people 'under control' - people are the same most everywhere, it's governments that are the problem - not people from the US, Canada, UK, Nepal - wherever..

You can even bring up the subject of guns, but in who's hands have guns taken the most lives?

In the hands of 'Citizens'?
In the hands of 'Criminals'?
or... In the hands of 'Governments'?
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Old 04-17-2013, 07:36 AM   #6 (permalink)
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"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."
You see, the police can avoid this issue by not illegally entering people's homes.
Problem solved.
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Old 04-17-2013, 07:37 AM   #7 (permalink)
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How do you know if the person breaking into your house in a uniform is a real cop or a fake?

People impersonating police to commit crimes is not unheard of. Actual police committing crimes is also not unheard of.

If I was a parent of a teenage girl and three men broke into my house and headed in the direction of my child's room, do you think I'm going to wait or grab my shotgun?
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Old 04-17-2013, 07:49 AM   #8 (permalink)
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While I'm not thrilled with this ruling, I think its important to mention that it doesn't give the police the right to enter homes unlawfully. The homeowner can still take them to court for it and I assume any evidence gathered under such circumstance would still be inadmissible.

I also have to point out that the cop who entered the home was responding to a domestic disturbance and might have been worried about the safety of whoever was inside. It was wrong of him to go in without a warrant, but I'm not sure that it should be against the law for the police to enter a home where domestic abuse might be ongoing - especially if the person answering the door is showing signs of violent behavior.

I agree with what the dissenting justices said, which is that the ruling should have been limited to cases like this one (suspected domestic abuse) and not such a blanket statement.
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Old 04-17-2013, 08:04 AM   #9 (permalink)
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The details of the case become clear towards the end of the article:
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The court's decision stemmed from a Vanderburgh County case in which a man yelled at police and blocked them from entering his apartment to investigate a domestic disturbance. The man shoved a police officer who entered anyway and was shocked with a stun gun and arrested.

Valparaiso University School of Law professor Ivan Bodensteiner told The Times that the court's decision is consistent with the idea of preventing violence.

"It's not surprising that they would say there's no right to beat the hell out of the officer," Bodensteiner said. "(The court is saying) we would rather opt on the side of saying if the police act wrongfully in entering your house your remedy is under law, to bring a civil action against the officer."
In this case there doesn't seem to have been any question about whether or not the defendant knew, or believed, the police officers were, in fact, police officers.

The question seems to have been whether the fact he believed, or may have believed, that they were acting unlawfully in entering his house without a warrant in the course of investigating this domestic disturbance gave him the right to use force to prevent their gaining access to the property.

ETA Eunoli beat me to it.
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Old 04-17-2013, 08:23 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Eunoli Rain View Post
While I'm not thrilled with this ruling, I think its important to mention that it doesn't give the police the right to enter homes unlawfully. The homeowner can still take them to court for it and I assume any evidence gathered under such circumstance would still be inadmissible.

I also have to point out that the cop who entered the home was responding to a domestic disturbance and might have been worried about the safety of whoever was inside. It was wrong of him to go in without a warrant, but I'm not sure that it should be against the law for the police to enter a home where domestic abuse might be ongoing - especially if the person answering the door is showing signs of violent behavior.

I agree with what the dissenting justices said, which is that the ruling should have been limited to cases like this one (suspected domestic abuse) and not such a blanket statement.
Absolutely, and if it was a case-by-case basis I would be less inclined to be upset as well. I also understand that in such cases its usually easier to attribute stupidity rather than violence in these decisions but this kind of unfortunate and lazy jurisprudence does contribute to the appearance of a police state which even if its just appearances has the effect (in my opinion) of being a destabilizing force. That's unfair to both reasonable civil servants (the police) because it makes their job harder and unfair to the citizenry because it contributes to a lack of trust in LEOs.

Someone should have smacked the crap out of the affirming judges for making such a blindly ham-fisted argument.
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Old 04-17-2013, 08:29 AM   #11 (permalink)
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The main problem...and the thing that makes this whole ruling so absurd is, it basically is:

'You may not resist police officers who unlawfully enter your home'.
A law is being made that protects people in the process of unlawful behavior. Even if the intent behind the breakin in this case was good and just, the absurdity of the ruling is just absolutely amazing.

A -good- ruling would have been to make break n enter for police officers lawful if they suspect somebody's life and wellbeing to be in danger. There. That'd have been a good addition (with strict wording).
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Old 04-17-2013, 08:35 AM   #12 (permalink)
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I'd be curious to see the full ruling and whether they're limiting this to cases where police are entering due to exigent circumstances. There is an exception for entering a home without a warrant if probable cause exists (in other words, you could have obtained a warrant) and certain specific exigent circumstances exist, such as a reasonable concern that someone inside is in danger. The classic example would be if a police officer hears gunfire and screams coming from a house. There are other exigent circumstances as well, such as fear that evidence might be destroyed, but that is ore rare and courts tend to give police far less leeway on that as compared to a potentially violent situation.

I can also understand their concern about preventing people from deciding that they will decide whether they think that a specific search is legal or illegal. The Waco standoff comes to mind, for example, where the Branch Davidians insisted that the federal government had no right to enter their compound, and shot and killed federal agents who attempted to enter. Obviously it would be better for everyone involved if questions over the legality of a search were determined in a court of law.

Still, I wish that they had ruled more narrowly. There is a world of difference between resisting an identified police officer who may legitimately believe that exigent circumstances exist due to reports of domestic violence, and a no-knock raid in the middle of the night.

On the bright side, because this was a decision by the state court, it only applies to the state of Indiana, rather than to an entire multi-state federal circuit or to the nation as a whole. If several other state courts come to different decisions, that might encourage SCOTUS to grant cert and hear one of these cases so as to issue a ruling that would apply to the whole country.
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Old 04-17-2013, 09:02 AM   #13 (permalink)
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I think the story should be taken with a grain of salt, especially since it does not provide a link to the whole ruling.

Is the ruling really that citizens cannot resist unlawful entry of police (so that police can do whatever they want whenever they want and nothing can stop them) or is it really about citizens not being able to use their interpretation of illegal searches as a reason to resist police since they really could not know for certain if the police have a legal right to be there or not. An unlawful police search really is something that can only be determined after the fact due to there being a lot of technicalities, such as probable cause, which is something a judge has to decide and something that is primarily up to the police officer's discretion (to act on in the field).

I imagine the true idea behind the ruling is that people are supposed to trust that police are doing the right thing and that the courts are where citizens are supposed to challenge police abuse and illegal actions, not through physical confrontation with police officers in the field.
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Old 04-17-2013, 09:07 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Chalice Yao View Post
The main problem...and the thing that makes this whole ruling so absurd is, it basically is:

'You may not resist police officers who unlawfully enter your home'.
A law is being made that protects people in the process of unlawful behavior. Even if the intent behind the breakin in this case was good and just, the absurdity of the ruling is just absolutely amazing.

A -good- ruling would have been to make break n enter for police officers lawful if they suspect somebody's life and wellbeing to be in danger. There. That'd have been a good addition (with strict wording).
It needs, I think, to be stressed that good rulings are ones that accord with existing laws and precedents rather than with what the judges -- possibly correctly -- think the law should be.

I would also stress that I don't know what the American law might be and I don't even know what the householder was charged with, and still what the judgment actually said. Having said that, I don't see that the ruling can affected the householder's Fourth Amendment rights against unlawful search and seizure. I think -- from the comment in the article -- that it concerned the defenses available to him against (since the report mentions he shoved the officer) a charge of assault.

If American law is similar to English law, it's generally illegal to assault people -- that is, touch them without their consent -- but there are a number of exceptions to this. One of them is, under certain circumstances, if I believe someone's trying unlawfully to enter my property.

What the court seems to have said here is that if you know the person trying to enter your property is a police officer on duty, then you can't use force to keep him out and then say this was because you believed he was acting unlawfully. You still have civil remedies available (that is, sue him for trespass later) and you can still -- presumably -- apply to have evidence dismissed on the grounds it was the product of unlawful search and seizure.

Presumably, in the normal course of events, police officers will want to continue to apply for warrants and so on, since they still won't want to compromise prosecutions with arguments about unlawful search and seizure.
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Old 04-17-2013, 09:24 AM   #15 (permalink)
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It probably wasn't an easy decision for the judge, but I do think the judge was trying to reiterate the checks and balances of the legal system. That it is not the citizen's job to make sure police are acting lawfully, that is the job of the current laws, the legislature (to make new laws and refine existing laws when applicable), and the courts to uphold those laws. It is the job of the police to enforce those laws and keep the peace.
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Old 04-17-2013, 10:12 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Old 04-17-2013, 11:53 AM   #17 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Chalice Yao View Post
Soooo...basically home owners may not resist people illegaly breaking into their home if those people are police officers. Because "allowing resistance unnecessarily escalates the level of violence and therefore the risk of injuries to all parties involved without preventing the arrest."

Aight. So I guess resisting a burglar breaking into the home is also not allowed, because resistance might unnecessarily escalate the level of violence.

Also, what a peculiar choice of the term 'unnecessarily'.
Also, if the homeowner cannot determine whether the intruder is a police officer they could possibly he held liable. For that matter any common thug could say they are and get free entry. Yea, go to court later, if you're still capable.

So much for that whole 'Revolution' thing.

EDIT: Ahh, read the thread first, doofus. . .

Last edited by Gabriell Anatra; 04-17-2013 at 12:18 PM.
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Old 04-17-2013, 11:58 AM   #18 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Gabriell Anatra View Post
Also, if the homeowner cannot determine whether the intruder is a police officer they could possibly he held liable. For that matter any common thug could say they are and get free entry. Yea, go to court later, if you're still capable.

So much for that whole 'Revolution' thing.
I've not seen the judgment, of course, but the report suggests to me that the issue was whether or not the fact the defendant believed, or may have believed, that the police officer was acting unlawfully provided a defence, not whether or not the police officer was, in fact, a police officer or whether the defendant believed he was.
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Old 04-17-2013, 12:14 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Innula Zenovka View Post
It needs, I think, to be stressed that good rulings are ones that accord with existing laws and precedents rather than with what the judges -- possibly correctly -- think the law should be.

I would also stress that I don't know what the American law might be and I don't even know what the householder was charged with, and still what the judgment actually said. Having said that, I don't see that the ruling can affected the householder's Fourth Amendment rights against unlawful search and seizure. I think -- from the comment in the article -- that it concerned the defenses available to him against (since the report mentions he shoved the officer) a charge of assault.

If American law is similar to English law, it's generally illegal to assault people -- that is, touch them without their consent -- but there are a number of exceptions to this. One of them is, under certain circumstances, if I believe someone's trying unlawfully to enter my property.

What the court seems to have said here is that if you know the person trying to enter your property is a police officer on duty, then you can't use force to keep him out and then say this was because you believed he was acting unlawfully. You still have civil remedies available (that is, sue him for trespass later) and you can still -- presumably -- apply to have evidence dismissed on the grounds it was the product of unlawful search and seizure.

Presumably, in the normal course of events, police officers will want to continue to apply for warrants and so on, since they still won't want to compromise prosecutions with arguments about unlawful search and seizure.
It seems to be an odd way of referring to exigent circumstances.

Here an officer can enter if he has cause to think a crime is being committed. In practice that means it's up to a judge to determine whether or not that was accurate.

That is to say that the referenced case would have been an open and shut affair in any state that currently has such a law. I don't know if Indiana is such a state, but I'd be very surprised if it isn't.

I'm not sure why this is needed, and it is open to 'creative re-interpretation'.

This is going to make things worse, in the unlikely event that it stands.
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Old 04-17-2013, 12:23 PM   #20 (permalink)
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It seems to be an odd way of referring to exigent circumstances.

Here an officer can enter if he has cause to think a crime is being committed. In practice that means it's up to a judge to determine whether or not that was accurate.

That is to say that the referenced case would have been an open and shut affair in any state that currently has such a law. I don't know if Indiana is such a state, but I'd be very surprised if it isn't.

I'm not sure why this is needed, and it is open to 'creative re-interpretation'.

This is going to make things worse, in the unlikely event that it stands.
To my mind, the question is what the Indiana law on self-defense is. I don't know, of course, but I'm speculating that this guy found himself accused of assault (shoving the police officer). He tried to argue that he believed the police officer was acting unlawfully in entering the premises and that he therefore attempted to use reasonable force to remove him, as he would any other trespasser.

All the court seems to me to have said, from the report, is that even if you think that "exigent circumstances" don't apply in a particular set of circumstances, if the police officer nevertheless insists they do and he's coming in anyway, then you should let him in, without offering physical resistance, and let a court sort it out later.
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Old 04-17-2013, 12:40 PM   #21 (permalink)
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The standard advice is tell the police you do not consent- early and often- but do not tell them that you are resisting (and do not in fact resist). Every time they make you do something you do not want to do, repeat that you don't consent, but you are not resisting. That kicks in your various legal protections but keeps you out of the hospital or spending the night in jail.
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Old 04-17-2013, 12:42 PM   #22 (permalink)
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"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."

You know what else escalates the level of violence?

Some dude bursting through my door at all hours of the night, shining a flashlight in my face, yelling incomprehensibly and waving a gun around. Someone's going to end up hurt.
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Old 04-17-2013, 03:27 PM   #23 (permalink)
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Apparently the law has been changed so that now it is legal to forcibly prevent a police officer from entering your home. “Right To Resist” Police Entry Bill Passes | News - Indiana Public Media

I have to say I'm a bit concerned about this, considering that the other article mentioned that it was a domestic disturbance call that started the whole thing. I could be wrong, but to me "domestic disturbance" carries an implication that there is a threat of violence to somebody inside the home. (I know that that's not true of every domestic disturbance call, but it still seems like this could end up aiding abusers.)
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Old 04-17-2013, 03:43 PM   #24 (permalink)
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I've just found a transcript: http://www.in.gov/judiciary/opinions...5121101shd.pdf

From page 5 of this document:
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Further, we note that a warrant is not necessary for every entry into a home. For example, officers may enter the home if they are in "hot pursuit" of the arrestee or if exigent circumstances justified the entry. E.g., United States v. Santana, 427 U.S. 38, 42–43 (1976) (holding that retreat into a defendant‘s house could not thwart an otherwise proper arrest made in the course of a "hot pursuit"); Holder v. State, 847 N.E.2d 930, 938 (Ind. 2006) ("Possible imminent destruction of evidence is one exigent circumstance that may justify a warrantless entry into a home if the fear on the part of the police that the evidence was immediately about to be destroyed is objectively reasonable."). Even with a warrant, officers may have acted in good faith in entering a home, only to find later that their entry was in error. E.g., Arizona v. Evans, 514 U.S. 1, 11 (1994); United States v. Leon, 468 U.S. 897, 922–25 (1984). In these situations, we find it unwise to allow a homeowner to adjudge the legality of police conduct in the heat of the moment. As we decline to recognize a right to resist unlawful police entry into a home, we decline to recognize a right to batter a police officer as a part of that resistance.

Here, the trial court‘s failure to give the proffered jury instruction was not error. Because we decline to recognize the right to reasonably resist an unlawful police entry, we need not decide the legality of the officers‘ entry into Barnes‘s apartment. We note, however, that the officers were investigating a "domestic violence in progress" in response to a 911 call. A 911 call generally details emergency or exigent circumstances requiring swift police action. In these cases, the officers are responding to rapidly changing or escalating events, and their initial response is often based on limited information. The officers cannot properly assess the complaint and the dangers to those threatened without some limited access to the involved parties. It is unrealistic to expect officers to wait for threats to escalate and for violence to become imminent before intervening. Here, the officers acted reasonably under the totality of the circumstance
(my emphasis).
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Old 04-17-2013, 03:46 PM   #25 (permalink)
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