18 May 2011

Humpday Happenings...
Wednesday already?
Geez, how the time does fly, hmm?
In our fair city, it's another morning of light rain, which postpones the mowing of our lawn yet again... (this is becoming a bit too routine for me)
But I DO like getting things done around here BEFORE the natives get restless, which is somewhere around 1100 hrs.
And since I happen to use a COAL-powered lawn mower (better living through electricity), I don't take much to dragging that power cord through anything WET.
Yeah, better to refrain from yard work and not become another "shocking" statistic.
Common sense rules out here.

At least we have a street-sweeper come by AND got an overgrown lawn cut by the city!
(let's see HOW LONG it takes before the locals get back to their littering habits, eh?)
Funny thing...the fact that this week is National Police Week has gotten a lot less "press" than I would have imagined.
Wonder why that is?
Whenever (and how infrequently) I hear about it, it's always "in passing", and nothing close to being a lead story.
But yet, we all seem to find out all about Oprah's leaving the airwaves and what SHE has got planned...like that is somehow MORE important than our very own public safety and those that prowl our streets 24/7/365 in order to uphold the law and arrest the bad guys.
I keep telling you...we're on the wrong planet...seems like a "counter-Earth" these days.
Now, I've always been someone who questions that which needs questioning.
That's the way my folks brought me up.
"You'll never learn if you don't ask anything of anyone" was what they would say (and often enough).
And Mom & Dad were right.
Along that line of thinking, THIS has been troubling me since I heard about it.
Here's the *411* as presented:
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.
The court's decision stems from a Vanderburgh County case in which police were called to investigate a husband and wife arguing outside their apartment.
When the couple went back inside their apartment, the husband told police they were not needed and blocked the doorway so they could not enter. When an officer entered anyway, the husband shoved the officer against a wall.
A second officer then used a stun gun on the husband and arrested him.
Professor Ivan Bodensteiner, of Valparaiso University School of Law, said 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."
Justice Robert Rucker, a Gary native, and Justice Brent Dickson, a Hobart native, dissented from the ruling, saying the court's decision runs afoul of the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
"In my view the majority sweeps with far too broad a brush by essentially telling Indiana citizens that government agents may now enter their homes illegally -- that is, without the necessity of a warrant, consent or exigent circumstances," Rucker said. "I disagree."
Rucker and Dickson suggested if the court had limited its permission for police entry to domestic violence situations they would have supported the ruling.
But Dickson said, "The wholesale abrogation of the historic right of a person to reasonably resist unlawful police entry into his dwelling is unwarranted and unnecessarily broad."
This is the second major Indiana Supreme Court ruling this week involving police entry into a home.
On Tuesday, the court said police serving a warrant may enter a home without knocking if officers decide circumstances justify it. Prior to that ruling, police serving a warrant would have to obtain a judge's permission to enter without knocking.
I totally agree that this "law" was painted with a VERY wide brush (perhaps even a fan-nozzle SPRAY GUN), and needs to be reworded to protect the truly innocent, and ASAP.
The original case states that the officer was shoved. That immediately constitutes the "hampering or interference of an ongoing investigation", which the officer was called to.
And the police had every right to "detain" him at that point.
If you (as an officer) are NOT in control of any situation to which you're called into, then maybe that shield on your chest doesn't "fit" as well as you wanted it to, and you might want to reconsider your career choices.
That shield (and sidearm) GIVES you the authority, but sometimes, people can't get that through their thick skulls, so YOU have to back that up. It might be verbally or even physically, but the officer needs to get control in order to get the bottom of the problem to which he/she has been called into. It's that simple.
What I find disturbing is that police can enter any home "unlawfully", and that DOES smack around our 4th Amendment...a lot!
And any officer does NOT "have to have a reason" to enter...that's just wrong.
An officer's "need" to enter a dwelling is totally dependant upon each situation. There is not "one size fits all" here.
That would be akin to an authoritarian state with hob-nail booted Gestapo tactics being employed, and I don't believe our officers want to be saddled with such a Sword of Damocles hanging over their heads.
All actions by law-enforcement have to be JUSTIFIED (even gut-feelings).
And most every time, they indeed ARE, because something or someone precipitates the resulting actions OF that officer.
It's the whole CAUSALITY gig in effect here.
I would have worded it to mean that "IF" (big if, too) a particular scenario has presented itself in such a manner as to give any officer NO other recourse BUT to enter a dwelling in order to prevent possible harm to an individual (or even themselves), then they have little choice of either entering or not.
There is no "illegal" about it then (imho).
But, if an officer rips my door off it's hinges, and barges in with NO warrant and NO reason, with a "cuff and stuff" attitude while I'm watching Modern Marvels on the History channel this Thursday evening (with my cat in my lap)...well, that's just plain WRONG (and I might even be a tad on the "resisting" side myself). There HAS to be some level of PROBABLE CAUSE...SOMEWHERE.
Grab a copy of J. Shane Creamer's book "The Law of Arrest, Search, and Seizure" to know exactly what I mean.
You can also have REASONABLE CAUSE in order to enact such an intrusion.
But the operative word here is CAUSE...because there WILL no doubt be an EFFECT from that cause.
(and it best not be an illegal entry to a citizen's house or apartment).
Now, I'm sure the LEOs are just as confused by this law, as are the law-abiding citizens.
And I know the criminals must REALLY be bothered by it (good for them...they should be).
But the line that needs to be drawn here must be one that defines the boundaries between good policing and a "cowboy mentality".
There are many times when an officer rolls up and KNOCKS on a door to see what's the matter.
More often than not, the citizen is compliant with allowing the officer to enter.
Hell, I do that all the time. I feel lots better when a big guy with a shield and a gun is standing in MY living room...lol!
(because I know he's not gonna be there to take me away, but rather to hear my complaint)
That works well enough.
But there are those times when TIME is of the essence, and the police really do NEED to get inside, because someone is wailing the snot out of someone else (or worse). And I'm also OK with that as well.
Yet, the way this new law is worded opens the floodgates for possible abuse and misuse.
And the last thing ANY police department wants to see is a long line of plaintiffs in CIVIL LAWSUITS, replete with their attorneys at their side, salivating like Pavlov's dog. No city or department can afford that in THESE economic times.
Think of the payouts to those undeserving, or even to the few to whom it is. Another "lottery" waiting to happen.
This law is designed to produce it's fair share of MAJOR FAIL here, and that's not good for the citizens OR for law-enforcement.
I believe this can be part of a much bigger agenda, but I haven't enough evidence to support it yet.
There is nothing wrong with our Constitution the way it was written.
It might need a "tweak" now and then to iron out some bumps in the governing road, but otherwise, it serves us VERY well.
The last thing we in this nation need is something like this new law (as it currently stands) which will serve ONLY to drive a wedge between the law-abiding people and law-enforcement.
Now, maybe I'm wrong here, and I admit to not having a law "degree", but I do know what the hell makes SENSE.
This law does not, and needs to be properly worded in order to not trample upon the Constitutional rights of the citizens.
And those citizens include those who walk that thin blue line.
We have plenty of animosity to go around these days...God knows that all too well.
We need not toss such a large flammable log onto an already huge bonfire of angst.
For we may find ourselves with an out-of-control runaway burn that we cannot possibly hope to put out.
We need not look any farther than the brush fires out west to see how devastating THAT can be, right?
Our society doesn't need anything so volatile to add to it's problems.
Alright then, I'll get off my soapbox for the time being and let you all think on this yourselves.
But remember to question with boldness that which requires questioning...
You'll all thank yourselves for doing so.
Be well, make a difference to someone, and...
Stay safe out there, America.


CWMartin said...

Excellent take on the court decision. You really should ( in the spirit of public service) get this out to a wider audience, say by (bite my tongue) turning it into a letter to the editor for the urinal-gazette.

"Counter-earth"? You mean the High Evolutionary and Adam Warlock are responsible for all this crap? Why, I oughtta...

See if you'd come up to Woodbridge, you wouldn't have to worry about the lawn- we have lackeys for that!

Bob G. said...

Thanks for the encouragement...
I haven't sent in a "letter" to the editor in some time.
Maybe I should revisit that (if I can cut it down enough...they have this "limit" (or thye used to anyway).

Having been a collector of many of the WARLOCK series, it didn;t occur to me about the connectron until THIS minute...LOL.
(good call w/ the High Evolutionary...must have been SUBLIMINAL on my part.)

Living down here is not for the "faint-of-heart", that's for sure.
I don't mind the lawn, just having to wear a pistol while do so...lol.

Thanks a lot for taking time to drop on by.
Much appreciated.

Stay safe up there.