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We didn't really need the 4th Amendment anyway, right?

Discussion in 'Politics' started by Nukular Winter, May 17, 2011.

  1. Nukular Winter

    Nukular Winter The Chosen One DLP Supporter

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    http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/10pdf/09-1272.pdf

    The SCOTUS ruled 8-1 that police can enter your house without a warrant in response to "exigent circumstances" that they create.

    Basically, cops came by, smelled weed and knocked on the door, then heard some "shuffling noises" which they interpreted to be "destruction of evidence." (Hello: "exigent circumstances" and goodbye: " having to get a warrant.") They entered the house and found drugs, which the defense got tossed as the result of an illegal search.

    Not so fast, says SCOTUS:

    tl;dr: Alito is a cock.

    I'm with Justice Ginsburg (the lone dissenting vote):

    In other words, Ginsburg is saying that there was nothing keeping the officers obtaining a warrant to search the apartment.

    They smelled the smoke, which gave them probable cause, so they should have called for a warrant while watching the place. The "exigent circumstances" would have never arisen had the police not tried to enter the apartment.

    She's right. The other seven eight are wrong.

    /Math fail, FTFM
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2011
  2. Giovanni

    Giovanni God of Scotch

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    But Elena Kagan and Sonya Sotomayor are great civil libertarians!!!!!1!!!ONE!! Just like the one who nominated them . . .
     
  3. Zennith

    Zennith Pebble Wrestler ~ Prestige ~

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    So... I don't see how this is at all legal, or how anybody in their right fucking mind could support this ruling. Good lord, I'm amazed at my country sometimes. And not in a good way.
     
  4. ItsAProcess

    ItsAProcess Fourth Year

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    Yeah, saw this coming eventually. After the fiasco that was the Patriot Act it was only going to be a matter of time.

    So, any bets on how long it is until someone up high decides that Warrants are for Pussies and that real, honest American citizens have no need to require them? Only criminals have any reason to hide from the law, after all.
     
  5. Portus

    Portus Heir

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    Christ, not this again. We get it, all right? Obama isn't the Hope and Change everyone but you expected, and we're retardedly moronic for not listening to you.

    Stop fucking trolling all the Politics threads, and stop trying so fucking hard. It's not endearing you to anyone, ass-kisser.
     
  6. Shouldabeenadog

    Shouldabeenadog Auror

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    I'm disturbed by this. The dissenting opinon has a lot of valid points, which is why I'm confused on the split. When decisions are 8-1, thats nearly unanimous. What is being withheld about the case, or what don't we know that would help this make sense?
     
  7. Giovanni

    Giovanni God of Scotch

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    Hey man, I'm just saying concerns were raised and then ignored.

    It is endearing him to me.

    You're looking at a case based on its merits instead of looking at it based on the politics of those who decided it. This is a fundamental error.
     
  8. Grinning Lizard

    Grinning Lizard Supreme Mugwump

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    Don't exigent circumstance clauses exist to help prevent crimes that are in progress? If so... what exactly was wrong about this? That they knocked on the door without a warrant?
     
  9. Zennith

    Zennith Pebble Wrestler ~ Prestige ~

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    No. The problem is that they entered without a warrant, and somehow the SCOTUS says that's okay.


    Protip: It isn't.
     
  10. Nukular Winter

    Nukular Winter The Chosen One DLP Supporter

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    Let's see:

    Step 1: knock on door
    Step 2: *hear some kind of noise* (really, this step could be just about anything)
    Step 3: enter because of "exigent circumstances"

    Yeah, I see no possible way that could ever be abused. I'm totally fine with limiting the 4th Amendment in this way...

    /Slavery is freedom
     
  11. Styx0444

    Styx0444 Minister of Magic

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    Unless I'm completely missing something, it's that they broke into the dude's house because they thought they smelled weed, and decided that 'shuffling noises' meant that he was destroying evidence despite the fact that he was probably unaware that the cops were there.

    They can knock on the door all they like, but smells and shuffling noises don't count as exigent circumstances. Not unless you want police to bust down the door every time someone watches a slasher flick to loudly.
     
  12. Grinning Lizard

    Grinning Lizard Supreme Mugwump

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    What if they'd heard a guy trying to kill his wife? These sorts of laws exist because in some situations, there isn't enough time to go and get a warrant - and these guys may well have been flushing the drugs when they heard 'Knock Knock it's the Po-lice' at the door. If the cops can't prove that the circumstances called for it, sure, they're fair game... but if a crime is in progress, police enter and then can prove that yes, it was happening (by actually finding marijuana, or a guy trying to kill his wife), and no, finding a judge isn't practical in the timeframe provided, I think it makes a fair amount of sense for that to be A-Ok, and your Supreme Court seems to too. Exigent circumstances are always going to be subject to the officers involved anyway - if you're not going to trust your police to make a decision like that, it's a whole seperate issue, and virtually unrelated to this one.

    Limiting these sorts of powers because they can be abused is like taking kitchen knives off shelves. There's an awful lot more abuses of power to justifiably be worried about than exigent circumstances, and this could actually, y'know, help some people.
     
    Last edited: May 18, 2011
  13. Tenages

    Tenages Order Member DLP Supporter

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    The issue is not exigent circumstances as a whole. Ginsburg did not argue the exigent circumstances doctrine should be eliminated entirely. The argument is that it should be limited. The argument is that if the cops cause the exigent circumstances by their own behavior, the warrant requirement should not be waived. The exigent circumstance in this case was the "shuffling noises" heard. These noises weren't going on prior to the cops arrival. They existed because the cops knocked. Ergo, it shouldn't waive the warrant requirement.

    And if they hear what they think is "flushing the evidence" due to their arrival....then too fucking bad. The burden to obtain a warrant is ridiculously low, and if they couldn't obtain one beforehand they don't get to enter because they "think they heard something."
     
  14. Portus

    Portus Heir

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    @GL: AFAIK, there's always been the provision of "probable cause" wherein, say, someone screaming inside the house is enough to warrant (pun intended) breaking down the door, etc. It's just that this instance is a step too far, and as much as "screaming woman" was already prone to abuse, this will be orders of magnitude worse.
     
  15. Nukular Winter

    Nukular Winter The Chosen One DLP Supporter

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    Are you honestly suggesting that the legal principle at work here should be "the ends justify the means?"

    :facepalm
     
  16. Airilife

    Airilife Not Equal

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    Who cares about the Constitution it's just some old piece of paper!
     
  17. Zombie

    Zombie John Waynes Teeth Moderator DLP Supporter

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    I'll let you read what Zennith said again.

    They entered the house without a warrant. They're using the kind of probable cause that highway patrol uses to bust drunk drivers. If you swerve then you're automatically subject to being pulled over, having your car searched, etc.

    They're going beyond the power that they've been given, and its fucking wrong. Its stupid to use the example of a woman screaming because in this case it wasn't a fucking woman screaming, they were shuffling around. Shit, I'm sure I make more noise than they do when I come to the door. I don't want them busting my door down because of it.
     
  18. ItsAProcess

    ItsAProcess Fourth Year

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    So let me see if I can both clarify this and be exact at the same time.

    Having read the document, the argument in play is whether or not 'exigent circumstances', in this case they could "hear people inside moving" and "it sounded as though things were being moved inside the apartment." that were caused by the actions of the Police themselves were probable cause to ignore the fourth amendment and perform a warrant-less search so as to stop the destruction of evidence.

    Previously, the law (and the constitution) said no. That was not enough. In some, lesser, state courts there had and have been cases and precedent set for cops to ignore exigent circumstances rules and law and be able to search and seize, but the issue was largely undefined in many cases and there were no federally approved, or even universally state-approved tests to determine whether or not the exigent circumstances were indeed within the scope of those 'exception' precedents.

    When the issue came before the first, two, lower courts in Kentucky they made the decision to uphold the first judgement that the police had the right to enter, search and seize despite the fact that the "exigent circumstances" were caused by the actions of the police themselves, specifically because this was a drug case and there is a precedent for that.

    But the plaintiff, the man accused of being a drug dealer continued to appeal, until it reached the Kentucky Supreme court, who upheld the previous conventions and precedents of the Constitution and Federal Law, stating that Exigent Circumstances reasonably, forsee-ably caused by the actions of the police themselves were NOT reason to conduct a warrant-less entry, search and seizure.

    The state didn't like this, so they brought it to the Supreme Court, who then decided to go against the intention and previous interpretation of the Fourth Amendment as well as scads of Precedent to the contrary and reversed the decision, most likely sending that man to jail (which is probably a good thing, drug dealer and all that). And also setting the precedent for a police officer to enter your home at any time that he or she hears or witnesses something which could possibly be construed as destruction of evidence or overly suspicious actions, so long as he announces himself first when the case is not one of violence or felony destruction.

    Am I right? I think I summarized it rather well while still touching upon the important parts without getting too ridiculously wordy.

    Cause If I am? Fuck.

    Doublefuck.
     
  19. The Berkeley Hunt

    The Berkeley Hunt Headmaster

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    We all knew all of what you just said. Go away.
     
  20. Grinning Lizard

    Grinning Lizard Supreme Mugwump

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    This is basically what I meant by these situations being subject to (read: entirely reliant on) the officers involved. If the officers' presence makes a person begin to behave suspiciously, that person is by definition suspect. By your logic the police could knock on the door for any purpose imaginable, and if they hear a gun cock and a man scream 'get away from my door or I'll kill everyone in here', not go inside because, well, shucks, this only happened because they knocked... and they don't have a warrant.

    If the exigent circumstances that the police 'create' is people beginning to act very suspiciously when informed of their presence, how on earth could you not want your police to be able to act on that? Taking that to extremes, it's like a guy spots a copper, panics, and swallows his 8-ball. Should the copper who spots it move to search him? Nah - the guy only behaved suspiciously because he saw him. He'd be behaving like a model citizen - with an 8-ball in his sock - if the copper hadn't been there.
     
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