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Standing Up to Unwarranted Police Power [View All]

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groovedaddy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-25-11 11:24 AM
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Standing Up to Unwarranted Police Power
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Whats wrong with the police kicking in the door of an apartment after they smell marijuana drifting from it, if they knock hard, announce who they are and then hear what sounds like evidence being destroyed?

Some lower courts have said the answer is pretty much everything, because the police themselves created the pretext for barging in. But the Supreme Court ruled last week that such a warrantless search does not necessarily violate the Fourth Amendment, according to a vague new standard for determining whether the police violated the protection against unreasonable search, or threatened to do so.

They sent the case back to the Kentucky Supreme Court, which is going to have a hard time understanding the new standard and in any case never resolved whether any evidence was, in fact, destroyed.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the lone dissenter in this strange decision, wisely warned that the new rule gave the police a way routinely to dishonor the constitutional requirement that they obtain a warrant, by manufacturing an exception to it. There are already exceptions for exigent circumstances, emergencies like an imminent risk of death or a danger evidence will be destroyed. But the urgency usually exists when the police arrive at the scene. In this case, the police caused the exigent circumstances themselves.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/25/opinion/25wed2.html?nl=todaysheadlines&emc=tha211
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