Indiana High Court Says No Right to Resist Illegal Police Entry

By Jon E. Dougherty at 14 May 2011

(Newsroom America) -- The Indiana Supreme Court ruled Friday that state residents have no right to resist an illegal police entry, overturning a Common Law that dates back to the English Magna Carta of 1215.

Writing for the court's 3-2 majority, Justice Steven David said if a police officer wanted to enter a home for any reason - or for no reason - homeowners could do nothing to block the officer's entry.

"We believe ... a right to resist an unlawful police entry into a home is against public policy and is incompatible with modern Fourth Amendment jurisprudence," David wrote, according to the Northwest Indiana Times. "We also find that allowing resistance unnecessarily escalates the level of violence and therefore the risk of injuries to all parties involved without preventing the arrest."

He said persons arrested after an illegal police entry are still entitled to post bail and can seek remedies through the legal system.

The ruling stems from a case involving an argument between a husband and wife that took place outside of their apartment, the report said. When police arrived, they both went back inside and the husband told officers they weren't needed.

When one officer tried to enter the apartment the husband attempted to block him. An officer entered anyway and the husband then shoved him against a wall, prompting a second officer to use a stun gun on the husband and arrest him.

Ivan Bodensteiner, a professor at the Valparaiso University School of Law, said he agreed with the court's decision, the report said.

"It's not surprising that they would say there's no right to beat the hell out of the officer," he told the paper. "(The court is saying) we would rather opt on the side of saying if the police act wrongfully in entering your house your remedy is under law, to bring a civil action against the officer."

Justices Robert Rucker and Brent Dickson dissented, saying the ruling violates the U.S. Constitution's Fourth Amendment.

"In my view the majority sweeps with far too broad a brush by essentially telling Indiana citizens that government agents may now enter their homes illegally -- that is, without the necessity of a warrant, consent or exigent circumstances. I disagree," Rucker wrote, according to the report.

© 2010 Newsroom America.

Contact Jon E. Dougherty

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