posttrib
BRISK 
Weather Updates

Court: Residents have no right to resist unlawful police entry

Updated: September 24, 2012 6:25AM



INDIANAPOLIS — People have no right to resist if police officers illegally enter their home, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled in a decision that overturns centuries of common law.

The court issued its 3-2 ruling on Thursday, contending that allowing residents to resist officers who enter their homes without any right would increase the risk of violent confrontation. If police enter a home illegally, the courts are the proper place to protest it, Justice Steven David said.

“We believe ... a right to resist an unlawful police entry into a home is against public policy and is incompatible with modern Fourth Amendment jurisprudence,” David said. “We also find that allowing resistance unnecessarily escalates the level of violence and therefore the risk of injuries to all parties involved without preventing the arrest.”

Justices Robert Rucker and Brent Dickson strongly dissented, saying the ruling runs afoul of the U.S. Constitution’s Fourth Amendment against unreasonable search and seizure.

“In my view the majority sweeps with far too broad a brush by essentially telling Indiana citizens that government agents may now enter their homes illegally — that is, without the necessity of a warrant, consent or exigent circumstances,” Rucker said.

Both dissenting justices suggested they would have supported the ruling if the court had limited its scope to stripping the right to resist officers who enter homes illegally in cases where they suspect domestic violence is being committed.

But Dickson said, “The wholesale abrogation of the historic right of a person to reasonably resist unlawful police entry into his dwelling is unwarranted and unnecessarily broad.”

The court’s decision stemmed from a Vanderburgh County case in which a man yelled at police and blocked them from entering his apartment to investigate a domestic disturbance. The man shoved a police officer who entered anyway and was shocked with a stun gun and arrested.



© 2014 Sun-Times Media, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be copied or distributed without permission. For more information about reprints and permissions, visit www.suntimesreprints.com. To order a reprint of this article, click here.