You’re probably quite familiar with the phrase “a man’s home is his castle.”
The root of this actually comes from the proverb “an Englishman’s home is his castle,” which became popular after Sir Edward Coke, the Attorney General for England during the early 1600s, said:
Every one is to him as his castle and fortress, as well for his defense against injury and violence as for his repose.
Coke spoke those words following what’s known as the Semayne’s case, which essentially acknowledged — all the way back in 1604 — that the king did not have unbridled authority to intrude on his subjects’ dwellings unless the purpose was lawful and a warrant had been obtained.
It is the Semayne’s case that actually laid the groundwork for the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which reads as follows:
The 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.
It’s pretty cut and dry — but leave it to government thugs in 2012 to find a way to circumvent this amendment by creating a smokescreen of confusion.
Illegal Search and Seizure
Last week the Supreme Court began hearing an argument that, if persuasive enough, would weaken the Fourth Amendment and allow law enforcement officials to search your home with an unlawfully obtained warrant.
You see, it all started back in 2006 when Florida police got a tip that there was illegal drug activity going down at Joelis Jardines’ home…
Police took a drug-sniffing dog to the front porch of the house where the determined K9 alerted for drugs. The police then obtained a warrant and searched the house. The Florida Supreme Court determined the dog sniff served as an illegal search and could not be used to justify a warrant.
Law experts believe this decision was somewhat based on a 2001 Supreme Court decision that ruled police could not used heat-detection systems outside of homes in order to detect illegal growing operations, as Justice Antonin Scalia ruled the use of the device violated the home dweller’s expectation of privacy.
Still, defenders of drug-sniffing dogs nosing around the perimeter of folks’ homes say the technique is effective.
And perhaps it is — but at what cost to law-abiding citizens?
Florida public defender Howard Blumberg argues the state’s support of this technique pushes the envelope beyond the Constitution’s ban on unwarranted searches, stating that if the Supreme Court allows this to continue, police would be free to walk up and down suburban neighborhoods, go up to each door, and see if the dog alerts to contraband.
They could do the same thing in apartment buildings, checking out each apartment door based on nothing, or an anonymous tip, or simply because that’s what they want to do that day.
And he’s right.
Think about this for a moment…
Can you imagine if you’re sitting at home one afternoon, enjoying a cold one, watching the game, and from the corner of your eye you see a couple of police officers and a drug-sniffing dog walking onto your property and sniffing around the windows and doors?
Well, you don’t have to imagine. All you have to do is be the unlucky person who, for whatever reason, gets targeted for “possibly” having illegal drugs on the premises.
And you better hope that the drug-sniffing K9 doesn’t turn up a false positive either, which is actually quite common.
The Constitution is NOT Optional
According to a Chicago Tribune investigation, a three-year analysis of data for suburban departments found that only 44% of alerts by dogs led to the discovery of drugs or paraphernalia.
Whether it’s a handler inappropriately guiding the dog, or a dog picking up the scent of old drug residue from previous tenants or neighbors, the track record of some of these searches is highly questionable — and certainly should not be used as the basis for what’s already an unconstitutional search.
And don’t think such a blatant violation of the Fourth Amendment couldn’t affect you, either…
Even if you have nothing to hide and there isn’t an ounce of drugs or drug paraphernalia in your home, once inside, law enforcement officers can still seize any assets that they believe are associated with illegal activity.
Got a gun in your home because you’ve been hunting since you were 12? Or maybe you just want to be able to defend your family from intruders?
Maybe the police think you bought it illegally off the street, or it’s the same model that was used in a recent robbery…
They can take it.
Got a safe filled with gold because you know that it’s an insurance policy against inflation and monetary destruction?
Well, maybe the police suspect it’s payment for a drug deal.
They can take that, too.
Sure, you may still be in the right — but it’ll be up to you to spend the time, frustration, and money (because yes, there will likely be court and lawyer fees), to get your gold and guns back.
And just hope you’re one of the lucky few who actually gets your property returned, as more than 75% of property forfeiture cases end up with the government keeping the property — and that’s even if you’re not charged with a crime!
Don’t get me wrong; I understand that the police have a very tough job to do. And I applaud all those reputable, hard-working officers who regularly do the jobs most of us would never even consider doing, especially for the compensation they receive.
But the Bill of Rights is not a list of suggestions that can be cherry-picked by law enforcement.
Plenty of criminals are arrested every year by law enforcement officers that conduct their investigations honorably, ethically, and legally.
Bottom line: There’s just no need to bypass the Fourth Amendment to get a search warrant.
Your home is your castle. And you do have every right to protect it against unreasonable searches and seizures.
Hopefully the justices of the Supreme Court agree and will honor their oath to defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies — foreign and domestic.
Live honorably, live free…
Jeff Siegel for Freedom Watch