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With regard to Barnes’s right to inform the original jury of Fourth Amendment constraints, the Court held that since “the right to reasonably resist an unlawful police entry into a home is no longer recognized under Indiana law” (as per this ruling), “the trial court‘s failure to give Barnes‘s proffered jury instruction on this right was not error.” The Court thus concluded, “Barnes‘s conviction and sentence are affirmed.”
Justices Brent Dickson and Robert Rucker dissented from the decision, with Dickson stating that “the wholesale abrogation of the historic right of a person to reasonably resist unlawful police entry into his dwelling is unwarranted and unnecessarily broad,” insisting that the Court could have taken “a more narrow approach, construing the right to resist unlawful police entry, which extends only to reasonable resistance, by deeming unreasonable a person’s resistance to police entry in the course of investigating reports of domestic violence.” Justice Rucker who called the decision a “breathtaking” erosion of the Fourth Amendment, contended there is is “simply no reason to abrogate the common law right of a citizen to resist the unlawful police entry into his or her home. ” Rucker then cut to the heart of the case: “At issue in this case is not whether Barnes had the right to resist unlawful police entry into his home–a proposition that the State does not even contest–but rather whether the entry was illegal in the first place, and if so, whether and to what extent Barnes could resist entry without committing a battery upon the officer.”
The fallout from the ruling has been produced starkly contrasting reactions. One one hand, Indiana State Police are investigating several threatening phone calls and emails which Supreme Court spokeswoman Kathryn Dolan said were directed “primarily” at police officers. ”We obviously want to protect the safety of our employees and alert police to individuals who might be dangerous, so we contacted Capitol Police,” she said. “Because they are investigating, I am not able to give more specific information.”
On the other hand, radio host Mike Church has reported on his website that Newton County Sheriff Department head, Don Hartman Sr., contends the ruling means that random house to house searches are now possible, and that people would welcome them if it means capturing a criminal. The Sheriff did not return calls to verify this quote.
Will this case reach the Supreme Court of the United States? Oddly enough on Tuesday, SOTUS made a ruling of it own on a similar case. In an 8-1 decision the Court held that if police officers, after knocking loudly on someone ‘s door, hear sounds they construe as evidence being destroyed, they can knock down that door and enter without a search warrant. The lone dissenter in the case was Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg who contended that ”[P]olice officers may not knock, listen and then break the door down without violating the 4th Amendment.” Justice Samuel Altio disagreed. “When law enforcement officers who are not armed with a warrant knock on a door, they do no more than any private citizen may do,” he wrote. ”Destruction of evidence issues probably occur most frequently in drug cases because drugs may be easily destroyed by flushing [them] down a toilet.”
One might be forgiven for thinking the Fourth Amendment itself is being subjected to the same treatment in Indiana.
Arnold Ahlert is a contributing columnist to the conservative website JewishWorldReview.com.
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