Affirming the 4th: Scalia nails it
Again reaffirming the Fourth Amendment's protection against unreasonable search and seizure, the U.S. Supreme Court made it clear that police who lack probable cause — and have neither a warrant nor permission to search — can't base an arrest on a dog sniffing drugs from a home's front porch.
That's what police did at the Florida home of Joelis Jardines before charging him in a marijuana-growing operation. The U.S. Supreme Court agreed with the trial court and the Florida Supreme Court that marijuana plants seized after the dog indicated their presence in Mr. Jardines' home couldn't be used as evidence against him because the search violated the Fourth Amendment.
Writing for the majority in the 5-4 decision, Justice Antonin Scalia noted that case law holds that the Fourth Amendment's “right of the people to be secure in their ... houses” takes in the immediate surrounding area, such as a front porch, and includes the right to be free from “unreasonable governmental intrusion” at home.
“This right would be of little practical value if the State's agents could stand in a home's porch or side garden and trawl for evidence with impunity,” Mr. Justice Scalia wrote.
That's a welcome reminder that police must follow the Fourth Amendment, by demonstrating probable cause and obtaining a warrant from a judge before searching a home — and that Americans remain protected against the sort of “fishing expedition” that Florida police carried out at Jardines' home. Period.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- The EPA: Mop, please
- Sunday pops
- ObamaScare: The mess grows
- U.N. Watch: Elect a reformer
- Another holiday dump: The regulations parade
- The Box
- Greensburg Laurels & Lances
- Operation Santa Claus: The best deal of the Christmas season
- U.N. Watch: Iranian showdown
- Saturday essay: Thanking Dad
- Thanksgiving 2014: Pausing in unison