In addition to laws already well-established requiring the arrest of ‘controlled substance’ violators, police personal in the States of Indiana and Kentucky have just been granted ‘carte blanche’ in deciding whether to enter a suspect’s place of residence. Warrants no longer need requesting, and any ‘presumption’ otherwise has been made clear by the Supreme Court for all Americans to know and learn from: If ever police become curious of what’s inside your home, there will exist a permanent set of ‘exigencies’ that overrule the Fourth Amendment.
This comes in the wake of two historic court rulings. The first, Kentucky vs. King, started in October of 2005 when Lexington police conducted a ‘buy-bust’ operation in which dealers of crack cocaine would be indicted after selling dope to an undercover cop. After following one such entrepreneur back home, officers were overcome with the aroma of burnt Ganja emanating from the apartment complex, and, believing those inside to be destroying vital evidence – the stated exigency – exercised pure jackboot strength, kicking in the door. It happened to be the wrong one.
Instead of their presumed drug dealer, police found three people sitting on a couch, one of whom was smoking marijuana. Crack cocaine, scales, and several cellphones were adjacent to them. According to High Times, Hollis King was sentenced to 11 years for intention to sell dope. The Supreme Court of Kentucky soon overturned Hollis’s conviction because the evidence was illegally obtained, due to the absence of a warrant.
The U.S. Supreme then pronounced the final judgment, agreeing that it was legal for police to enter due to the ‘circumstances.’ Justice Scalia, speaking for the majority, stated that “Everything done was perfectly lawful” asking snidely, “It’s unfair to the criminal? Is that a problem? I really don’t understand the problem.” Scalia added, “The one thing that it (law enforcement) has going for it is that criminals are stupid.” Stupid, yes, but not treacherous.
Justice Ginsberg, the lone dissenter, wrote “How ‘secure’ do our homes remain if police, armed with no warrant, can pound on doors at will and, on hearing sounds indicative of things moving, forcibly enter and search for evidence of unlawful activity?”
In the Hoosier State, officers were responding to a domestic dispute at the residence of Mr. Richard Barnes. Barnes, refusing to the let unauthorized police enter his home, eventually shoved an officer who believed himself exempt for 4th Amendment principles. Predictably, Barnes was tasered, arrested and charged. In this case, the final ruling came from State. After unanimously agreeing that the police were in violation of the law and had no business in the home, the court decided in a vote of 3-2, that the “right to resist an unlawful police entry into a home is against public policy and is incompatible with modern Fourth Amendment jurisprudence” – so says Justice Steven David.
Justices Rucker and Dickson dissented: “In my view” said Rucker, “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.” (I.E. smelling or hearing anything unusual) Indiana Sheriff Hartman has mused that “he would use random house to house searches if he believed it was necessary.”
These new appendages of the Police State have given ammunition to an already well-equipped Drug War. A formidable opponent, who, according to the documentary work of Charles Shaw, has a current employment of 2.4 million people – more employees than Wal-Mart and McDonalds combined. The prison syndicate strangleholding this once free land might soon find out once and for all that the mission of stopping drug use has been compromised from within. The recently arrested Sinaloa cartel member Jesus Vicente Zambada Niebla has listed in a sworn affidavit his true employers: The U.S. Department of Justice, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Immigration and Customs, and, my favorite, the Department of Homeland Security. Niebla is expected to testify against them.
Even more so, the ‘higher-up’s’ have dissolved any hope for drug sentence reform and have instead decided to amplify provisions of the Patriot Act; just given a 5-year extension. These policies, which constitute life here in “New” America, show yet again that the ruling caste of America in the year 2011 is no different than any other administration that came before it. And, perhaps, much worse.
A Call to Action: So what can you – the average American-tax payer in the freest democracy known on earth – do to stop this madness? Begin by writing letters to your congressman and senators. Starting next week, your favorite, fearless cannabis journalist – me! – will start a letter campaign to representatives and legislators in the Golden State. Do the same. Tell your leaders that they lead only because you allow them to do so, and that sensible drug policy is the end game. Also, make sure to check out my upcoming adventure on the California Highways; an epic piece of investigative video reportage. Freedom must be exercised and the consent of the governed must be acknowledged.
Written by Kevin Patten