5/13/2011

In Indiana, there is no right to resist an illegal entry by police

Police make mistakes and they have a very difficult job, but still it would seem that people should still have the right to resist and illegal entry by police. Apparently not in Indiana.

Overturning a common law dating back to the English Magna Carta of 1215, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled Thursday that Hoosiers have no right to resist unlawful police entry into their homes.
In a 3-2 decision, Justice Steven David writing for the court said if a police officer wants to enter a home for any reason or no reason at all, a homeowner cannot do anything to block the officer's entry.
"We believe ... a right to resist an unlawful police entry into a home is against public policy and is incompatible with modern Fourth Amendment jurisprudence," David said. "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."
David said a person arrested following an unlawful entry by police still can be released on bail and has plenty of opportunities to protest the illegal entry through the court system. . . .

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2 Comments:

Blogger Chas said...

I'm thinking that this court ruling has little to do with what actually takes place during an illegal police raid, and everything to do with how the legal issues are settled afterwards.
With a right to resist, one has a good legal position after having resisted an illegal raid. With it illegal for private citizens to resist even an illegal raid, all the weight of the law is on the side of the government in the aftermath.
Oh, well. That's how a court in the Soviet Union would have ruled. We did win the Cold War, didn't we? Did we?

5/14/2011 6:20 AM  
Blogger John A said...

In the particular case, I lean toward the olice having been in the right - they were, after all. asked in by the principal resident.

But the court's ruling is ridiculous, not least for ignoring that point. The "raid" (it was not) may have been legal but the ruling states that any [government agency] entry is legal. Even were that technically true it would not be correct.

And yes, I am aware (and leery) of other laws in this area, which try to carve out emergency exceptions. One example: I have gas heat, and by law a gas company repair person can enter at any time - and if I refuse entry may call upon police to effect entry by force. Actually seems sensible, I just worry about possible abuse via a sort of Trojan-Horse strategy.

5/14/2011 5:39 PM  

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