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03-22-06, 06:16 PM #1
Top court rules against police in search case
In first dissent, Roberts says ruling lacked 'practical guidance'
The Associated Press
Updated: 3:16 p.m. ET March 22, 2006
WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that police without a warrant cannot search a home when one resident says to come in but another tells them to go away, and the court’s new leader complained that the ruling could hamper investigations of domestic abuse.
Justices, in a 5-3 decision, said that police did not have the authority to enter and search the home of a small town Georgia lawyer even though the man’s wife invited them in.
The officers, who did not have a search warrant, found evidence of illegal drugs.
The Supreme Court has never ruled on whether the Constitution’s ban on unreasonable searches covers a scenario when one home occupant wants to allow a search and another occupant does not.
The ruling by Justice David Souter stopped short of fully answering that question — saying only that in the Georgia case it was clear that Scott Fitz Randolph was at the door and objected to the officers entry.
In his first written dissent, Chief Justice John Roberts said that “the end result is a complete lack of practical guidance for the police in the field, let alone for the lower courts.”
The case fractured a court that has shown surprising unanimity in the five months since Roberts became chief justice. Justices swapped barbs in their writings, with Souter calling Roberts’ view a “red herring.”
Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas filed separate dissents, and Justice John Paul Stevens and Stephen Breyer wrote their own opinions to explain their votes in favor of the man whose home was searched.
Stevens said that “assuming that both spouses are competent, neither one is a master possessing the power to override the other’s constitutional right to deny entry to their castle.”
Georgia had asked the court to allow it to use evidence obtained in the 2001 search in Americus, Ga., that followed a police domestic dispute call.
Randolph and his wife, Janet, were having marital troubles. She led officers to evidence later used to charge her husband with cocaine possession. That charge was on hold while the courts considered whether the search was constitutional.
State court upheld
Georgia’s Supreme Court ruled for Scott Randolph, and the high court agreed.
“This case has no bearing on the capacity of the police to protect domestic victims,” Souter wrote. “No question has been raised, or reasonably could be, about the authority of the police to enter a dwelling to protect a resident from domestic violence; so long as they have good reason to believe such a threat exists.”
Justice Anthony Kennedy was the swing voter, joining the court’s four more liberal members.
Roberts’ dissent was unusually long — almost as long as the main opinion. He predicted “severe” consequences for women who invite police in only to be overruled by their husbands.
Justice Samuel Alito did not participate in the case, because he was not on the court when it was argued.
The case is Georgia v. Randolph, 04-1067.
© 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
© 2006 MSNBC.com
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It enriches those who receive it,without making poorer those who give.It takes but a moment, but the memoryof it sometimes lasts forever.
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03-22-06, 06:43 PM #2
03-22-06, 07:27 PM #3
How retarded is that.
What about if it's a DV situation, woman says "yes come in, I'm bleeding all over" and the guy says "F no, get out"?
And it's not like they searched the house, she showed them where it was!
Pretty soon you guys will have to get a form signed in front of three lawyers before you can enter a house.
03-22-06, 07:57 PM #4Originally Posted by Virginian
Looking at it a different way, I really don't think one spouse should have the right to give away the civil rights of the other regarding search without warrant. Although I have nothing to hide, I'd be pissed if my wife told the police they could come in and shake down our house w/o my consent.When I used to be somebody (I'm center top)
"A burning desire for social justice is never a substitute for knowing what you're talking about". -Thomas Sowell-
03-22-06, 08:32 PM #5
That's why you seperate them first thing, how can the husband tell you not to search if he is outside in the back of the car?www.alliedoddballs.com
I can't do this test when I am sober!
Respect My AUTHORITAE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
03-22-06, 09:55 PM #6Originally Posted by Retdetsgt
Good post sarge. My thoughts exactly.This message was brought to you by Tampons. We
aren't the best thing in the world but we are right up
there next to it.
To them its always 'scary and aggressive' driving. To us its at times a matter of life and death." -LawnMM
03-22-06, 10:01 PM #7Originally Posted by Retdetsgt"If anything worthwhile comes of this tragedy, it should be the realization by every citizen that often the only thing that stands between them and losing everything they hold dear... is the man wearing a badge." -- Ronald Reagan, in the wake of the deaths of 4 CHP troopers in the Newhall Incident, 1970
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