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Discussion Starter #1
I wanted to start a thread like this for awhile, since there's some stuff I'd like to occasionally share that doesn't fit into drama/funny/local (to me)/etc. sections.

http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2011/05/warrantless-house-search

Supreme Court OKs Warrantless House Search

By David Kravets
May 17, 2011

Police do not need a search warrant to knock on a suspected drug dealer’s door and then kick it down when a suspicious bustling noise is heard from the other side, the Supreme Court ruled 8-1.

Monday’s decision seemingly settles a legal issue to which the justices have given little guidance in the past — what type of “exigent circumstances” allow warrantless entry into a house. In this case, a lower court had thrown out the police search on the grounds that the cops effectively created their own emergency — the police had banged on the suspect door without a warrant, and then crashed through it moments later for fear that their knocking had set the inhabitants to destroying evidence. The police could have gotten the warrant before knocking in the first place, a dissenting justice ruled.

The appeal concerned a 2005 crack cocaine sting operation in Lexington, Kentucky, in which an informant purchased cocaine from a suspect outside an apartment complex. The suspect then walked through a breezeway of the complex, and officers on foot lost track of him.

The police, however, smelled marijuana outside an apartment, which was not the apartment the suspect had entered. They knocked and yelled “police,” heard some noise inside and kicked down the door to let themselves in on a belief that drug evidence was possibly being destroyed. The suspect they were looking for was not there, but three others were arrested for marijuana and cocaine possession.

One defendant, Hollis King, challenged his arrest, claiming it was based on an illegal entry. He pleaded guilty on the condition of an appeal and was sentenced to 10 years. A local judge said the authorities had the right to enter his apartment based on the smell of marijuana and the rumbling sounds inside the apartment. The Kentucky Supreme Court reversed, saying the entry was a Fourth Amendment breach.

“The Kentucky Supreme Court held that the exigent circumstances rule does not apply in the case at hand because the police should have foreseen that their conduct would prompt the occupants to attempt to destroy evidence,” Alito wrote. “We reject this interpretation of the exigent circumstances rule. The conduct of the police prior to their entry into the apartment was entirely lawful. They did not violate the Fourth Amendment or threaten to do so. In such a situation, the exigent circumstances rule applies.” (.pdf)

The decision was an offshoot of a 1980 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that said the police may not enter a private residence without a warrant unless there was probable cause and so-called “exigent” circumstances.

The authorities in the case decided Monday claimed the exigent circumstance was a belief that drug evidence was being destroyed. Nobody disputes that the smell of marijuana created the probable cause.

But was there an emergency, an “exigent circumstance” where there was not enough time to obtain a court warrant? Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg believed the police needed a warrant before entering the apartment.

“The court today arms the police with a way routinely to dishonor the Fourth Amendment’s warrant requirement in drug cases,” Ginsburg wrote. “In lieu of presenting their evidence to a neutral magistrate, police officers may now knock, listen, then break the door down, never mind that they had ample time to obtain a warrant.”

The Kentucky Supreme Court found the potential destruction of evidence was an exigent circumstance, but ruled in January that it was unlawfully created by the police.

“Where police are observing a suspect from a lawful vantage point, and the suspect sees police, then the exigency is generally not police-created. But where police unnecessarily announce their presence, and this creates the fear that evidence will be destroyed, police have created their own exigency, (.pdf) and cannot rely on the fear of evidence being destroyed as a justification for a warrantless entry,” the Kentucky high court ruled.

At least 16 states had weighed in on the case, (.pdf) urging the justices to set a nationwide standard on the issue.
 

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So when i invent a silent toilet, i'll get rich by selling them to potheads?

I'm on it.

This doesnt bother me too much...druggies are breaking the law, so if they get caught in the end thats okay. But I'm a law abiding citizen so I'm biased in favor of catching criminals.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
One day, you could be on the can and the police would come in and search your place because they heard you flush--and you weren't even using drugs!
 

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One day, you could be on the can and the police would come in and search your place because they heard you flush--and you weren't even using drugs!
But if you never flush, your place will get so stinky they will assume someone died in there and break down your door anyway. So your [email protected] either way really.
 

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As I mentioned...they won't find anything illegal. They're welcome to come in.
Generally, when cops break down the door of someone who is innocent, they don't readily admit they made a mistake.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
So you don't care about privacy? They will also try to find something to avert embarrassment.
 

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Generally, when cops break down the door of someone who is innocent, they don't readily admit they made a mistake.
So you don't care about privacy? They will also try to find something to avert embarrassment.
Nope. honestly no. I'm not hiding anything. I consider it a very low probability, with medium impact (broken doors, damaged personal property, etc.) that I'd ever be in that situation in the first place, hence i assign it a very low risk rating. Hence my level of concern is appropriately very low. I can't think of a single thing in my house that would be illegal for them to "find" to avert embarassment.
 

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Nope. honestly no. I'm not hiding anything. I consider it a very low probability, with medium impact (broken doors, damaged personal property, etc.)...
Unless they see something in your hand that they mistake for a gun and blow your head off. Low probablilty, sure, but we don't need "I heard a toilet flush" to be a valid justification for a goon squad invasion.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
What is "secure tunneling" and why did it drop off the chart?
Secure tunneling is traffic that is encrypted from one point to another point. It dropped off the chart probably because, in total percentage, it wasn't even enough to compare with the other traffic types listed. It still is around and corporations and private individuals use it often.

A Virtual Private Network, or VPN, is one type of secure tunneling, and you may use one to access your internal company's network from your home, or have one corporation's location connected to another worldwide location via the internet, but privately encrypted. I don't know if the statistic is counting encrypted peer-to-peer (e.g., bittorrent) traffic, but it helps if you have someone shaping (modifying) your traffic because it's snooping on the data within the packets being transmitted.
 

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Nope. honestly no. I'm not hiding anything. I consider it a very low probability, with medium impact (broken doors, damaged personal property, etc.) that I'd ever be in that situation in the first place, hence i assign it a very low risk rating. Hence my level of concern is appropriately very low. I can't think of a single thing in my house that would be illegal for them to "find" to avert embarassment.
Oh yeah, that right. Your white. And live in CT.
 

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Secure tunneling is traffic that is encrypted from one point to another point. It dropped off the chart probably because, in total percentage, it wasn't even enough to compare with the other traffic types listed. It still is around and corporations and private individuals use it often.

A Virtual Private Network, or VPN, is one type of secure tunneling, and you may use one to access your internal company's network from your home, or have one corporation's location connected to another worldwide location via the internet, but privately encrypted. I don't know if the statistic is counting encrypted peer-to-peer (e.g., bittorrent) traffic, but it helps if you have someone shaping (modifying) your traffic because it's snooping on the data within the packets being transmitted.
Thanks.
 
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