Indiana: “No right to resist illegal cop entry into home”

by Walter Olson on May 14, 2011

Your home no longer your castle: “Overturning a common law dating back to the English Magna Carta of 1215, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled Thursday that Hoosiers have no right to resist unlawful police entry into their homes.” [NWI Times] James Joyner rounds up outraged blog reaction, and Scott Greenfield has some thoughts on the gradual erosion of the right to resist.

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No Right to Resist Unlawful Police Entry: Indiana Supremes
05.14.11 at 8:16 am

{ 17 comments }

1 LisaMarie 05.14.11 at 11:28 am

ok, for a non-lawyer- does this mean that I cannot close the front door on a cop with no warrant who asks to enter my house?

2 John Burgess 05.14.11 at 12:18 pm

@LisaMarie: If you live in Indiana, then basically, no, you cannot. If the cop doesn’t try to keep the door open, then you probably could, but if he pushes against it, or puts his foot in, you’re using force against a law officer.

This court ruling is really offensive.

3 VMS 05.14.11 at 6:51 pm

This will go up to SCOTUS, and they will probably reverse. The decision is here: http://www.in.gov/judiciary/opinions/pdf/05121101shd.pdf

This decision flies in the face or Payton v New York: http://supreme.justia.com/us/445/573/case.html

4 SPQR 05.14.11 at 8:56 pm

The idea that a law-abiding homeowner’s property is a f’king free fire zone for the police is extremely offensive.

5 Liz 05.15.11 at 8:54 am

This will never stand up. SCOTUS will slap it down. Seriously though, this judge needs to be taken off the bench.

6 gitarcarver 05.15.11 at 1:04 pm

The ruling starts out with “We hold that there is no right to reasonably resist unlawful entry by police officers.”

The fallacy of that statement is monumental. Why should anyone comply with anything that is illegal or unlawful?

7 Mannie 05.15.11 at 1:36 pm

I’d be a lot less upset about this if Citizens could successfully have police criminally prosecuted for criminal trespass.

8 VMS 05.15.11 at 3:20 pm

@ Mannie

But the truth of the matter is that the homeowner’s “remedy” would be to file a civil suit against the police, which will inevitably get dismissed on qualified immunity grounds.

9 asdfasdf 05.15.11 at 5:56 pm

Can someone explain why in this suit there is no ex post fact issue?

Even the Court conceded that prior to its decision, there was a common law right to resist. Whether the Court was correct or not in removing that right, shouldn’t the defendant be judged according to the common law in effect at the time of his resistance?

10 J.T. Wenting 05.15.11 at 11:03 pm

@gitarcarver the text is ludicrous, but it clearly intents to state that whatever the police does IS the law.

11 mojo 05.16.11 at 10:37 am

Well, given that if you resist you’ll likely end up dead, I don’t think legal penalties will deter much.

12 GregS 05.16.11 at 11:28 am

So basically this ruling means there is no such thing as unlawful entry by a police officer in Indiana. Because if the police can enter any property they want without a warrant and suffer no legal penalty for doing so, and if you can’t legally resist them, then in what meaningful way is this police entry unlawful any longer?

13 asdfasdf 05.16.11 at 4:36 pm

GregS emotes: “So basically this ruling means there is no such thing as unlawful entry by a police officer in Indiana”

No, that is not what the ruling says. Read the ruling if you’re unclear.

14 asdfasdf 05.16.11 at 4:41 pm

Mannie 05.15.11 at 1:36 pm
I’d be a lot less upset about this if Citizens could successfully have police criminally prosecuted for criminal trespass.
One of the many flaws in this very strange Indiana Supreme Court opinion is the assumption that there are viable civil remedies available post facto for the homeowner whose rights are violated. This is simply not the case as a matter of law or practice. As a matter of law, the ever-increasing ambit of qualified immunity sharply limits any possible recovery by the homeowner; and as a matter of practice, the costs of litigating would be prohibitive in most cases.

Even more remarkably, the Court claimed that the exclusionary rule provides protection to homeowners. Anyone with even a passing familiarity with modern exclusionary rule jurisprudence would know this is absurd. The exclusionary rule nowadays has little practical weight, its exceptions overwhelm its nominal force, and judges in practice rarely even apply it.

15 asdfasdf 05.16.11 at 4:43 pm

(Ignore my last message, editing glitch, trying again)

I’d be a lot less upset about this if Citizens could successfully have police criminally prosecuted for criminal trespass.

One of the many flaws in this very strange Indiana Supreme Court opinion is the assumption that there are viable civil remedies available post facto for the homeowner whose rights are violated. This is simply not the case as a matter of law or practice. As a matter of law, the ever-increasing ambit of qualified immunity sharply limits any possible recovery by the homeowner; and as a matter of practice, the costs of litigating would be prohibitive in most cases.

Even more remarkably, the Court claimed that the exclusionary rule provides protection to homeowners. Anyone with even a passing familiarity with modern exclusionary rule jurisprudence would know this is absurd. The exclusionary rule nowadays has little practical weight, its exceptions overwhelm its nominal force, and judges in practice rarely even apply it.

16 asdfasdf 05.17.11 at 6:08 pm

Regardless of this silly Indiana ruling, I would venture to say anyone trying to enter illegally may need some help to leave. Constitutional rights would override this incredibly arrogant ruling. I loose more respect for officials every time they open their mouths and see their brains fall out.

17 asdfasdf 05.18.11 at 4:25 am

The preceding, semiliterate, 5/17 post by “asdfasdf” beginning “Regardless” was not written by me.

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