Blog on the Run: Reloaded

Tuesday, June 14, 2011 8:40 pm

Your home: SO not your castle


I don’t know what’s more bothersome about this recent Indiana Supreme Court decision, the fact that it “violates the Fourth Amendment against illegal searches and centuries of common law precedent regarding homeowners’ rights” or that it is “bringing Indiana in line with most other states”:

INDIANAPOLIS — A public defender has asked the Indiana Supreme Court to rehear a case she lost when the court ruled homeowners should not resist police officers who illegally enter their homes, a decision bringing Indiana in line with most other states but met here with widespread disapproval.

Vanderburgh County public defender Erin Berger filed a petition with the court seeking a rehearing, court spokeswoman Kathryn Dolan said Friday. Berger’s client, Richard Barnes, was convicted of resisting law enforcement for shoving a police officer who tried to enter his home after he told the officer he could not enter.

Critics argue the court’s 3-2 ruling upholding Barnes’ conviction violates the Fourth Amendment against illegal searches and centuries of common law precedent regarding homeowners’ rights. Some have called for the removal of Justice Steven David, who wrote the decision and faces a November 2012 retention vote following his appointment to the high court last year by Gov. Mitch Daniels.

“The ruling on its face appears to give police officers unfettered rights to enter any residence, for any reason, and dispenses with the occupant’s Fourth Amendment rights,” Berger wrote in her petition filed Thursday.

Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller, for whose office the court’s ruling marked a victory, also has said the case should be reheard “to allow for a more narrow ruling that would continue to recognize the individual right of reasonable resistance to unlawful entry.” But Zoeller said the court still should uphold Barnes’ 2007 convictions for resisting, disorderly conduct and battery on a law enforcement officer, all misdemeanors.

Freedom. I miss it so.

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