Supreme Court Cripples the Fourth Amendment

Posted on May 19, 2011 in Drugs, National Issues

The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which protects against unreasonable search and seizure, was weakened this week when the Supreme Court ruled on Kentucky v. King. The ruling supported the Kentucky Police’s decision to kick in the door of Scott King despite a suspicious probable cause.

Photo Courtesy of laapush.org

Police had pursued and lost a drug suspect in the vicinity of King’s residence, and when they smelled marijuana coming from his apartment, they demanded entry. After knocking loudly the police heard movement from inside the apartment and fearing the occupant was destroying evidence broke the door down.

King challenged the officers’ right to break into his house without a warrant, but the Supreme Court decided that since the attempted “destruction of evidence” was a result of their legal request to enter, the forced entry was justified. Civil libertarians are outraged over this new precedent that is so susceptible to abuse. They theorize that law enforcement can easily “smell” marijuana and “hear” an attempt to destroy evidence to break into any residence. Online petitions have begun to pop up in defense of the fourth amendment.

While abuse of this ruling is possible, the fear that police will be ignoring the fourth amendment entirely is unfounded. The fact police were in the process of chasing a drug suspect played a major role in the decision, so while this is certainly an injury to the fourth amendment, it is not a fatal wound.

If you feel that law enforcement conducted an illegal search of your property, legal representation can help protect your rights. Bloom Legal, a New Orleans law firm specializing in criminal defense, can be contacted at 504-599-9997 for a case consultation.

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