Courts Overturn 4th Amendment
By Michael Kleen
If there was any lingering doubt as to whether federal or state governments would act against constitutional or common law when it served their interests, that ambiguity has been dispelled. Just days apart, two Supreme Court decisions, one state and one federal, directly attacked the individual right against unreasonable searches and seizures as spelled out by the 4th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Since the 18th Century, with some exceptions, police have been required to obtain a search warrant or the permission of the owner before being allowed to enter a person’s home. In an 8-1 decision on May 16, however, the Supreme Court of the United States swept that away.
Now, according to the U.S. Supreme Court, police may enter a home if and when they “hear sounds suggesting evidence is being destroyed.” What evidence, you ask? What kind of sounds? Perhaps the sound of a toilet flushing or someone lighting a match or turning on a document shredder? What qualifies as this “sound”? Moreover, what prevents police officers from simply saying they thought they heard evidence being destroyed? The specific case involved proves enlightening.