Judge Nap Explains the 'Danger' in New SCOTUS Ruling on Police Searches
The Supreme Court has given police more leeway to enter homes and conduct searches without a warrant. The 6-3 ruling, stemming from a 2009 incident out of Los Angeles, now gives police the authority to enter a home as long as one occupant consents to the search.
Here's more from the LA Times on the ruling:
WASHINGTON — Police officers may enter and search a home without a warrant as long as one occupant consents, even if another resident has previously objected, the Supreme Court ruled Tuesday in a Los Angeles case.
The 6-3 ruling, triggered by a Los Angeles Police Department arrest in 2009, gives authorities more leeway to search homes without obtaining a warrant, even when there is no emergency.
The majority, led by Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr., said police need not take the time to get a magistrate's approval before entering a home in such cases. But dissenters, led by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, warned that the decision would erode protections against warrantless home searches. The court had previously held that such protections were at the "very core" of the 4th Amendment and its ban on unreasonable searches and seizures.
The case began when LAPD officers responded to reports of a street robbery near Venice Boulevard and Magnolia Avenue. They pursued a suspect to an apartment building, heard shouting inside a unit and knocked on the door. Roxanne Rojas opened the door, but her boyfriend, Walter Fernandez, told officers they could not enter without a warrant.
"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.
In Tuesday's decision, the high court said Fernandez did not have the right to prevent the search of his apartment once he was gone and Rojas had consented.
In the past, the court has frowned upon most searches of residences except in the case of an emergency or if the police had a warrant from a judge.
But Alito said police were free to search when they get the consent of the only occupant on site.
"A warrantless consent search is reasonable and thus consistent with the 4th Amendment irrespective of the availability of a warrant," he said in Fernandez vs. California. "Even with modern technological advances, the warrant procedure imposes burdens on the officers who wish to search [and] the magistrate who must review the warrant application."
Judge Andrew Napolitano stopped by Fox and Friends this morning to break down what this ruling means for civil liberties and the Fourth Amendment. He outlined what he believes is "the danger" in the justices' decision and where the potential for abuse by police comes into play.
"The police can arrest the person who says 'no' [to the search], get him off the scene and they are left with the person saying 'yes' and use that as a means to get on the property," said Napolitano.
The judge said he's discouraged by the decision because it represents to him a "U-turn" by the court away from privacy.
Watch his full analysis in the video above, and check back on Fox News Insider each day for all of the judge's analysis!