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Old 03-28-2004, 05:00 PM   #1
zenbabe
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Anybody else see this getting abused?

Court Opens Door To Searches Without Warrants

POSTED: 3:55 pm CST March 26, 2004
UPDATED: 4:36 pm CST March 26, 2004

NEW ORLEANS -- It's a groundbreaking court decision that legal experts say will affect everyone: Police officers in Louisiana no longer need a search or arrest warrant to conduct a brief search of your home or business.

Leaders in law enforcement say it will provide safety to officers, but others argue it's a privilege that could be abused.

The decision was made by the New Orleans-based 5th Circuit Court of Appeals. Two dissenting judges called it the "road to Hell."

The ruiling stems from a lawsuit filed in Denham Springs in 2000.

New Orleans Police Department spokesman Capt. Marlon Defillo said the new power will go into effect immediately and won't be abused.

"We have to have a legitimate problem to be there in the first place, and if we don't, we can't conduct the search," Defillo said.

But former U.S. Attorney Julian Murray has big problems with the ruling.

"I think it goes way too far," Murray said, noting that the searches can be performed if an officer fears for his safety -- a subjective condition.

Defillo said he doesn't envision any problems in New Orleans, but if there are, they will be handled.

"There are checks and balances to make sure the criminal justce system works in an effective manor," Defillo said.
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Old 03-29-2004, 04:02 PM   #2
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Privilege that MIGHT be abused? Do you know anything about the lawsuit in Denham?
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Old 03-29-2004, 04:57 PM   #3
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The ruling came from a Baton Rouge case which was heard first in U.S. District Court then appealed to the 5th Circuit Court.

The Associated Press reported on Friday that the decision came in the case of a Denham Springs, La. man, Kelly Donald Gould, who was arrested in October 2000 on federal gun charges. He allegedly threatened to kill unidentified judges and police officers.

East Baton Rouge Parish sheriff's deputies went to Gould's trailer without a search or arrest warrant, but were invited into the trailer by another resident. Gould, authorities were told, was asleep in a bedroom at the time the deputies arrived.

Because of the Gould's threats and criminal history, the deputies said they looked for him under the bed and in two closets, where they found three rifles. They later found Gould hiding in the woods and seized the weapons after they got him to sign a permission for the search.

U.S. District Judge James Brady ruled that the guns could not be used as evidence because they were obtained illegally. A three-judge panel of the 5th Circuit upheld that decision, but encouraged prosecutors to request a hearing before the court to reconsider the legal precedent on which it was based.

Dissenting justices argued the ruling establishes another exception to constitutional protections against unlawful search and seizure.

The AP story goes on to report that Judges Harold DeMoss Jr. and Carl E. Stewart writing for the court, said "I have no doubt that the deputy sheriffs believed they were acting reasonably and with good intentions. But the old adage warns us that ‘The road to hell is paved with good intentions."'

Any evidence discovered during that search is now admissible in court as long as the search is a "cursory inspection," and if police entered the site for a legitimate law enforcement purpose and believed it might be dangerous.

What's a "cursory inspection?" Who defines what is "dangerous?" Would they define a "legitimate law enforcement purpose" after they enter and then find evidence to support a crime? Are these terms left up to local law enforcement to define and interpret as they want? One would hope not.

What does this mean for local residents?

Well, it wouldn't matter if a person lived on Nelson Street, Bayou Road or VFW Road, any police officer can now enter your house without a warrant if he/she felt it was for a legitimate law enforcement purpose and, then, basically go on a fishing expedition for evidence.

And the police can say, well, it was a dangerous situation and we had to enter to protect ourselves.

This is surely a case to go to the U.S. Supreme Court, where one would hope the constitutional rights of individuals against unlawful searches and seizures would be upheld.
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Old 03-30-2004, 12:33 AM   #4
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Old 03-30-2004, 08:00 PM   #5
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I guess that is why Beale is so busy these days!
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Old 04-25-2004, 02:39 AM   #6
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We all ready lost that right post 9-11. its called the patriot act.
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Old 04-25-2004, 03:07 AM   #7
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patriot act = such massive bullshit
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Old 04-25-2004, 02:49 PM   #8
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That really is quite worrying, but I'd have faith in the Supreme Court to ban that, Patriot Act notwithstanding.

Beale, what do you say?
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