Monday, May 23, 2011

Supreme Court's Fourth Amendment ruling gives police too much discretion

"A U.S. Supreme Court ruling fragments the force of the Fourth Amendment. The ruling leaves the Constitution's protection against warrantless searches as a symbolic right, easily sidestepped in practice by police.

Two Kentucky police officers sparked the case when, in search of a suspect, they broke into an apartment smelling of marijuana for fear of evidence being destroyed. They got the wrong place but still found illegal drugs.

The Fourth Amendment once emphasized the right to the security of one's home. The U.S. Supreme Court now confirms that police who smell drugs, knock loudly and listen may find the circumstances necessary to enter a home before obtaining a warrant"

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