Thursday, March 23, 2006

SCOTUS Rules On Searches

It seems that the Supreme Court of the United States has decided to weigh in on searches.

The Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that police cannot search a home when one resident invites them in but another tells them to go away...

Unfortunately, we didn't get to hear from Alito, who didn't participate in this particular case. However, the decision was 5-3, meaning that the ruling would have been the same. There was dissent from the new chief justice, but with some understandable reasoning:

Chief Justice John Roberts wrote his first dissent, predicting severe consequences for women who want police to come in but are overruled by abusive husbands.

This ruling, however, does not impact an officer's ability to enter a home to prevent violence. Rather, it decides whether or not police can search a home without a warrant if one person says that they can enter but another says that they cannot. In any case, probable cause can always be invoked. It's just harder to prove. Most prosecutors will tell you that they'd rather have a warrant anyway because it's just a lot less sloppy and legally sound.

The reason why I'm so interested in this case in particular, though, is because I think it shows how the court might rule regarding government wiretapping without a warrant. If they are this strict on enforcing privacy in a situation where one person consents and another does not, I have some idea as to what might happen in a situation where there is no consent, no knowledge, and no warrant. I'm thinking that it could go either 5-4 or 6-3 against the wiretapping if it is brought before the Supreme Court. If it shows anything, it shows that the court isn't nearly as right-leaning as some would have hoped.

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