On June 10, 1215 AD, after prolonged rebellion and frustrating negotiation, a group of England’s most influential barons entered London to force the disastrous King John Softsword into accepting a revolutionary charter of individual freedoms.
Five days later in the Runnymede meadow of Surrey County, John affixed his royal seal onto what became known as the Magna Carta. It still exists on the books today in England and Wales.
This document was one of the more important antecedents to the US Constitution; its proclamations ended the absolutism of England’s monarchy and spelled out very clear rights and freedoms, including, among others, the right of a man to enjoy his private property without trespass from government officials.
Over 550 years later, the framers of the Constitution codified this right in the 4th Amendment to be secure in one’s private property. Last week, the Indiana Supreme Court effectively rejected both documents in two separate cases.
In the first case of Lacey v. State of Indiana, the Court ruled that police officers serving a warrant on a private home may simply walk right in without knocking.
The second case of Barnes v. State of Indiana is far more startling. The case deals with one Richard Barnes, a regular Joe citizen of Indiana, who was in the midst of marital problems with his wife one evening in 2007. The couple was arguing when police arrived to the scene and attempted to enter the home.
Barnes made it very clear to the officers that they were not to enter his home. The officers did not have a warrant, and they did not have probably cause to believe that anything illegal was happening. But they entered regardless.
Barnes tried to block the door, and as the police officers muscled their way past him, he shoved one of them against the wall in defense of his property. Barnes was choked and tasered in his own home, subsequently hospitalized, then charged with misdemeanor battery on a police officer.
The case went to court, and the Barnes defense team cited a private citizen’s right to resist unlawful entry into one’s home. They lost. The case was appealed, all the way up to the Indiana Supreme Court. Here’s where it gets interesting.
The Court agreed that the police officers entered the Barnes home illegally. The Court further agreed that one’s right to resist illegal entry has existed since the Magna Carta. The Court further agreed that the US Supreme Court has reaffirmed this right to resist unlawful entry in numerous court cases.
Seems pretty cut and dry, no?
So there is of course a lot of op-ed in this piece post snip. I can understand the basis of arguing that there was probable cause under a situation of possible domestic disturbance if he was yelling. I mean, the police did tell him they were going to enter, and he refused. If there was an obvious sign of a fight they can intercede -- right?