17 May 2011

You are not your own

On November 18, 2007, Richard Barnes got into a fight with his wife, Mary. She called 911, and police were dispatched to the scene to respond to a "domestic violence in progress" call. When the police arrived, they spotted Mr. Barnes in the parking lot outside his apartment and began to question him. Mr. Barnes told the officer(s) that he was leaving and that they were not needed. An argument between Mr. Barnes and the officers ensued during which Mrs. Barnes arrived from inside the apartment and threw a duffle bag at Mr. Barnes, telling him to take the rest of his stuff. Mrs. Barnes then returned to the apartment, followed by Mr. Barnes who was followed by the two officers on the scene. Mr. Barnes blocked the officers from entering his apartment, and Mrs. Barnes had not explicitly invited the officers into the residence. When one of the officers attempted to enter the apartment, Mr. Barnes resisted, shoving him against a wall. Mr. Barnes was then subdued by the officers with a choke hold and a taser and arrested for assault (on the officer) and resisting an officer among other charges.

At trial, Mr. Barnes wanted to present an instruction to the jury that he had the right to resist the officers' entry into his home because the entry was unlawful. The judge refused to issue the instruction offered by Mr. Barnes nor any other similar instruction. Mr. Barnes was convicted by the jury, but he appealed the decision. The Court of Appeals agreed that the failure to allow the jury instruction was "not harmless error" and ordered a new trial. Last week, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled against Mr. Barnes:
Now this Court is faced for the first time with the question of
whether Indiana should recognize the common-law right to reasonably resist unlawful entry by police officers. We conclude that public policy disfavors any such right. ... We believe [...] that a right to resist an unlawful police entry into a home is against public policy and is incompatible with modern Fourth Amendment jurisprudence. Nowadays, an aggrieved arrestee has means unavailable at common law for redress against unlawful police action. ... Here, the trial court‘s failure to give the proffered jury instruction was not error. Because we decline to recognize the right to reasonably resist an unlawful police entry, we need not decide the legality of the officers‘ entry into Barnes‘s apartment. [Emphasis added]

Many sites across the web have their various takes on whether on not the officers' entry was justified. I don't intend to take up that debate. The court didn't, so there doesn't seem much sense in my doing so. Instead, I want to focus on the fact that the court has decreed that people have no right to resist the police. Let's be very clear about this point. The Indiana Supreme Court unequivocally stated that the right to resist an unlawful police entry does not exist. It's a very short step to change "entry" to "action".

Essentially, what the court said in its ruling is that when the police enter your home with or without a warrant, with or without announcing themselves as police, with or without even any suspicion of anything, you must simply lie down and take it. Eventually, the courts will sort things out for you. This, of course, assumes that you survive your encounter with the police. You can read all kinds of stories on CopBlock or by William Grigg about people who were unlucky enough to have run-in's with the local authorities. That one should have the right to defend himself and his property against unwanted and illegal aggression should go without saying. The nanny-state and the police-state have officially merged. The government will determine what is best for you. When the government suspects (or even when it doesn't) that you're not acting in your government-determined best interests, it can and will enter your house to find out. And there's nothing you can do about it; the courts will sort it out for you later. Those are the same courts, by the way, that just told you that they can do whatever they want with your home.

There are further reaching effects/implications of this ruling. If the government can enter your home whenever it wishes, who owns your home? Certainly not you because the government has decreed that it can enter whenever it likes, even against your wishes. It would seem then that the government owns your home. How long before your car becomes government property? That already happened when the courts ruled that they can install GPS tracking on it without a warrant.

To be honest, I really don't know how to sum up/conclude this post. I'm having a hard time even writing it because what's wrong with all of this is so innately obvious that I can't even put my thoughts into words. I can't suggest using the courts as a remedy because the courts are the very place(s) where this "law" is being made/handed down.

God help us all. Neither our elected officials, nor the courts, nor even the Constitution which is supposed to protect us from this kind of tyranny are of any use any longer.


  1. Welcome to the Sheriff of Nottingham's America

  2. I couldn't agree more. I can't believe more has not been said about this case in the media. Police officers can now legally enter homes without warrants? Let's just shred the Constitution because it no longer applies to anything the government does.


Please be relevant, civil, and brief... in that order.