By March 1, 2014 4 Comments Read More →

Supreme Court Rules Police DO NOT Need A Warrant To Search Your Home

4th Amendment Warrants Police Raids

This week the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of expanded law enforcement leeway in searching without warrants. Justice Samuel Alito wrote for the majority, saying that: “A warrantless consent search is reasonable and thus consistent with the Fourth Amendment irrespective of the availability of a warrant.”

The ruling came down 6-3 in favor of law enforcement in Tuesday’s Fernandez v. California decision. This case stemmed from a 2009 arrest and search related to a robbery in Los Angeles.

The girlfriend of an occupant gave law enforcement access to her apartment even after her boyfriend refused the search. But police arrested the man and then returned to the apartment. The girlfriend felt intimidated and consented to the search, even after police had already been told that they did not have permission to search.

Roxanne Rojas opened the door initially but Walter Fernandez told officers they could not enter if they did not have a warrant. The Los Angeles Times reported:

“You don’t have any right to come in here. I know my rights,” Fernandez shouted from inside the apartment, according to court records.

Fernandez was arrested in connection with the street robbery and taken away. An hour later, police returned and searched his apartment, this time with Rojas’ consent. They found a shotgun and gang-related material.

But in the case eight years ago, the Supreme Court ruled the refusal should have stopped the police from entering, or returning and pressing the issue. “A physically present inhabitant’s express refusal of consent to a police search [of his home] is dispositive as to him, regardless of the consent of a fellow occupant,” the court determined then.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was joined by Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan in writing the dissenting opinion to the ruling. They accused the majority of eroding the Fourth Amendment and giving police a frightening amount of latitude.

“Instead of adhering to the warrant requirement,” Ginsburg said, “today’s decision tells the police they may dodge it, never mind ample time to secure the approval of a neutral magistrate.” This ruling, she charged, “shrinks to petite size our holding in Georgia v. Randolph.”

(Article by M.B. David)

4 Comments on "Supreme Court Rules Police DO NOT Need A Warrant To Search Your Home"

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  1. David Starkey says:

    The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
    THAT is the 4th Amendment.
    [Ignore the part after “no Warrants shall issue”, because they are saying you don’t need one.]
    Our “right to be secure against unreasonable search & seizure shall not be violated.”

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