The intrepid Instapundit has noted a string of such incidents across the country over the last few months. I support law enforcement, but this is not about supporting law enforcement, because it crosses the line into abuse of power and callous disregard for the rights of private citizens.
You know, I’m no lawyer, but it seems self-evident to me that conducting a no-knock raid of the wrong house would fall into the “unreasonable search and seizure” bucket of the Fourth Amendment. But if somehow it does not, due to precise legal wrangling and parsing of language, then it is insufficiently protective of private citizens, and needs to be changed.
The wrong house?! How does this continue to happen so much? We have advanced technology today, you’d think basic mistakes like raiding the wrong friggin’ house would be pretty simple to correct. So is it pure incompetence at execution time, or bad sources, or failure to investigate properly, or …. all three?
One incident, OK. Mistakes happen even to the best of us. Two or three incidents, hmmm, better keep an eye on that. But when a blogger — who is also a lawyer and a libertarian law professor — can link to such stories every week for months on end, then something is very seriously wrong with the state of our laws in this country. Somehow, a sense of entitlement has become entrenched within local law enforcement, and it is regularly impinging directly on the constitutional rights of private citizens. As he notes in this post about a new Indiana self-defense law:
Police should not enjoy any special privileges in the use of force, or in the unlawful entry to private property. In my opinion, they shouldn’t even enjoy official immunity, a doctrine that is as clear an example of judicial activism as anything in the law. Well, except maybe judicial immunity.
This kind of abuse of power is what the U.S. Constitution is designed to protect us from. And it needs to be stopped. Quickly.