Indiana Court Says Can’t Fight Illegal Police Entry
Recently, the Indiana Supreme Court held that if the police enter a home illegally, the person whose home has been illegally entered has no right to resist the police. In the decision the Court notes that the law for centuries has considered a person’s home to be a protected place subject to defense by the occupier of the home. The decision appears to come out against the Fourth Amendment which clearly states that “[t]he right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.” However, the decision is unusual, because the police were called to the home over a domestic dispute and argued with the homeowner outside the home. The homeowner then went inside the home to seek refuge and the police followed and the homeowner then allegedly resisted arrest. The language of the decision suggests that police can enter a person’s home for any reason – or no reason, or an unlawful reason – and the homeowner must stand aside and let them do whatever they desire. Writing for the majority of the high court, Justice Steven David stated, “[a] right to resist an unlawful police entry into a home is against public policy and is incompatible with modern Fourth Amendment jurisprudence” (emphasis added). He also opined that, “allowing resistance unnecessarily escalates the level of violence and therefore the risk of injuries to all parties involved without preventing the arrest.” — While many argue that the decision oversteps the bounds of the Constitution, and quite likely it does, unless overturned by the federal courts or the state legislature, Indiana residents would do well to consider the consequence of resisting properly identified police officers who enter the home without a warrant or probable cause, at least until the decision has been further reviewed.