Police dont need to knock, justices say...

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    Quote Originally Posted by yeahright
    New York Times
    June 16, 2006
    Editorial
    The Don't-Bother-to-Knock Rule
    You know that's an editorial, which is opinion, not fact, right?

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    I know this is my fourth post in a row in this thread, and I apologize, but how many here have actually read the opinion itself, and not just incomplete and biased reports about it?
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    Quote Originally Posted by jrkarp
    Not even close to that simple.

    In most states, you cannot shoot someone simply because they are in your home or on your property. They have to pose a threat to your life or the life of someone else in your presence. Deadly force cannot be used to protect property alone. There must be a threat to human life. I think Texas and maybe another state or two allow more of a shoot first response. Obviously if the home intruder is armed, feel free to open fire.

    It is true, though, that a person in their own dwelling or place of business usually has no duty to retreat.
    Of course it's not that simple but I simplified it for folks who aren't lawyers.

    What you didn't mention is that homeowners are entitled to assume that anyone breaking into their dwelling means them bodily harm and is not just there to steal the DVD player. The homeowner doesn't have to wait around to see whether the intruder into the home is there to hurt them. Under this assumption, the homeowner is entitled to use deadly force to repel the attack. Only if it's obvious that the intruder doesn't mean harm, does the scale of proportional response shift downward to prohibit deadly force.

    The after action analysis will determine whether the homeowner acted reasonably (Ex. was the assailant shot in the chest or in the back?, Did it happen quickly or did the homeowner have time to sort out his/her options?, Did the intruder appear to be armed or act in any threatening way?).

    1000 years of common law gives the homeowner a lot of leeway to use force against an instruder in the home. As long as the homeowner acted reasonably under the circumstances, they're not going to be charged.
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    Quote Originally Posted by jrkarp
    You know that's an editorial, which is opinion, not fact, right?
    Umm, yes. Hence it being titled "editorial" and going on to give an opinion on the ruling.
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    Quote Originally Posted by jrkarp
    I know this is my fourth post in a row in this thread, and I apologize, but how many here have actually read the opinion itself, and not just incomplete and biased reports about it?
    Opinion, concurrence and dissent.
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    Quote Originally Posted by yeahright
    Of course it's not that simple but I simplified it for folks who aren't lawyers.

    What you didn't mention is that homeowners are entitled to assume that anyone breaking into their dwelling means them bodily harm and is not just there to steal the DVD player. The homeowner doesn't have to wait around to see whether the intruder into the home is there to hurt them. Under this assumption, the homeowner is entitled to use deadly force to repel the attack. Only if it's obvious that the intruder doesn't mean harm, does the scale of proportional response shift downward to prohibit deadly force.

    The after action analysis will determine whether the homeowner acted reasonably (Ex. was the assailant shot in the chest or in the back?, Did it happen quickly or did the homeowner have time to sort out his/her options?, Did the intruder appear to be armed or act in any threatening way?).

    1000 years of common law gives the homeowner a lot of leeway to use force against an instruder in the home. As long as the homeowner acted reasonably under the circumstances, they're not going to be charged.
    The presumption that you speak of is not available in all states, and I am not sure if I have ever heard of it being available in any state that did not have the "make my day" law.

    It is of course true that there are many factors, and in all honesty, prosecutions for killing in a home defense situation are few and far between. Believe me, if someone breaks into my home, they are going to be introduced to the shotgun under my bed in a hurry.

    I will say that the fact that most states now have statutes dealing with this sort of issue makes the common law somewhat less relevant than it used to be.
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    Quote Originally Posted by yeahright
    Opinion, concurrence and dissent.
    I applaud you, since most people do not read them before commenting.
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    The thing is, the title of this article is misleading, as are the headlines from articles about the ruling. The court doesn't say police don't have to knock, it says that in this case, it did not justify excluding the evidence.

    I think it's the right ruling here - had the police knocked, and given the requried time before entry, the evidence still would have been discovered. In other words, the illegal action by the police did not produce evidence that would otherwise have not existed.

    In the case of an illegal wiretap, for example, of course the evidence should be excluded, since it would not exist but for the illegal actions of the police.
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    For the benefit of those who will not bother to read the opinion:

    Quote Originally Posted by Justice Kennedy, concurring in part and concurring in the judgment
    Two points should be underscored with respect to today’s decision. First, the knock-and-announce requirement protects rights and expectations linked to ancient principles in our constitutional order. See Wilson v. Arkansas, 514 U. S. 927, 934 (1995). The Court’s decision should not be interpreted as suggesting that violations of the requirement are trivial or beyond the law’s concern. Second, the continued operation of the exclusionary rule,as settled and defined by our precedents, is not in doubt. Today’s decision determines only that in the specific context of the knock-and-announce requirement, a violation is not sufficiently related to the later discovery of evidence to justify suppression.
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    Quote Originally Posted by jrkarp
    I applaud you, since most people do not read them before commenting.
    Most people aren't lawyers so I don't expect them to wade through this stuff. I'm not a medical doctor, so I just read abstracts of studies (am I missing important nuances, of course, but it can't really be helped unless I want to go to medical school).

    I was most disappointed in the concurrance. Scalia is clearly trying to make new law. Breyer is trying to preserve existing law. Kennedy's concurrence is a weasel. He allows Scalia's vision to move forward but admonishes people not to see this ruling as a diminishment of the knock and announce rule. I call bull**** on that.

    One can think this is a good thing. One can think this is a bad thing. But, one cannot treat this as an inconsequential ruling. The holding here says that even if the police admit violating the rule, the defendant's remedy is to file a civil rights claim. This in effect puts the knock and announce rule at the unfettered discretion of the police (nevermind that they ALREADY enjoyed exceptions to it if they thought they were in danger or that the evidence might be destroyed). This is a get out of jail free card for sloppy cops....and it's going to put a lot of people in danger IMO.
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    I see your point, but at the same time, I doubt that we are going to see a wholesale stoppage of knocking and announcing. Regardless of the laws on self/home defense, police are aware that they are generally going to have problems if they simply start knocking down doors every time they serve a search warrant. I also think that if we do start seeing every search warrant served with a battering ram and no announcement, the court will backpeddle.

    People also forget (although I am sure you have not) that there are already many circumstances in which police to not have to knock and announce.

    Anyway, I still think that the harmless error and inevitable discovery rules apply here. The evidence would have been discovered pursuant to the warrant regardless of the manner of entry. The Defendant was not really prejudiced, as he would have been convicted even if the entry had been legal.
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    Quote Originally Posted by yeahright
    Most people aren't lawyers so I don't expect them to wade through this stuff.
    Agreed, btw, but I get irritated with people commenting on such things without taking the time to find out more than what CNN or FOX News tells them.
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    Quote Originally Posted by yeahright
    Most people aren't lawyers so I don't expect them to wade through this stuff. I'm not a medical doctor, so I just read abstracts of studies (am I missing important nuances, of course, but it can't really be helped unless I want to go to medical school).

    I was most disappointed in the concurrance. Scalia is clearly trying to make new law. Breyer is trying to preserve existing law. Kennedy's concurrence is a weasel. He allows Scalia's vision to move forward but admonishes people not to see this ruling as a diminishment of the knock and announce rule. I call bull**** on that.

    One can think this is a good thing. One can think this is a bad thing. But, one cannot treat this as an inconsequential ruling. The holding here says that even if the police admit violating the rule, the defendant's remedy is to file a civil rights claim. This in effect puts the knock and announce rule at the unfettered discretion of the police (nevermind that they ALREADY enjoyed exceptions to it if they thought they were in danger or that the evidence might be destroyed). This is a get out of jail free card for sloppy cops....and it's going to put a lot of people in danger IMO.
    The ruling does allow for litigation in a civil court to preserve constitutional rights..So, if you are not a major felon hiding behind an illegal search and seizure defense, you can sue for damages(?) in a civil court. This in itself could(will) be a deterrent for overly assertive home searches. This can unbalance the enviroment of order and trust, within which the police need to operate successfully. Ofcourse it will take a few cases to go against the police in question to build enough precident to serve as a deterrent..but the legal pathway does exist.
    A jury of your peers(non cops) will imagine themselves in the same position
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    Quote Originally Posted by anabolicrhino
    The ruling does allow for litigation in a civil court to preserve constitutional rights..So, if you are not a major felon hiding behind an illegal search and seizure defense, you can sue for damages(?) in a civil court. This in itself could(will) be a deterrent for overly assertive home searches. This can unbalance the enviroment of order and trust, within which the police need to operate successfully. Ofcourse it will take a few cases to go against the police in question to build enough precident to serve as a deterrent..but the legal pathway does exist.
    A jury of your peers(non cops) will imagine themselves in the same position
    Good post. This is exactly right.

    Some people are bellyaching as if the SCOTUS ruling amounts to no warrant needed. And even went as far as proclaiming that cops are no longer serving LE purpose. Good grief, the hysteria.
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    Quote Originally Posted by anabolicrhino
    The ruling does allow for litigation in a civil court to preserve constitutional rights..So, if you are not a major felon hiding behind an illegal search and seizure defense, you can sue for damages(?) in a civil court. This in itself could(will) be a deterrent for overly assertive home searches. This can unbalance the enviroment of order and trust, within which the police need to operate successfully. Ofcourse it will take a few cases to go against the police in question to build enough precident to serve as a deterrent..but the legal pathway does exist.
    A jury of your peers(non cops) will imagine themselves in the same position
    Damages in such cases are likely to be limited to actual damages (cost to repair the door) and not punitive damages. So, there's no actual restraint. Only if one could prove a pattern of civil rights violations would a police force be looking at a judgment which would have a fiscal impact. Moreover, there are all sorts of complicated issues involving sovereign immunity, venue, good faith defenses, etc. For all practical purposes, the individual citizen really has no recourse to right such a wrong through civil rights litigation.
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    Quote Originally Posted by yeahright
    Damages in such cases are likely to be limited to actual damages (cost to repair the door) and not punitive damages. So, there's no actual restraint. Only if one could prove a pattern of civil rights violations would a police force be looking at a judgment which would have a fiscal impact. Moreover, there are all sorts of complicated issues involving sovereign immunity, venue, good faith defenses, etc. For all practical purposes, the individual citizen really has no recourse to right such a wrong through civil rights litigation.
    I would agree that the citizen will not be reaping a great windfall.
    However, the opportunity to seek damages from a loss provided from a non-felonious, but still erronous police entry would be "caus celeb" for a defamation or harassment suit. That a news organization could pick up such a story in an election year could provide some apprehension for any general police department policy concerning "no-Knock" entries.
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    What bothers me is the progression. The police already had no knock priveleges under certain circumstances where knocking would be obvious idiocy. It's Cato, the special, particular power becomes a general power over time. This works without exception unless something obstructs the forward motion.
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    Quote Originally Posted by yeahright
    This would be wise. In all honesty, my first thought when I heard the ruling was "****, cops and civilians are going to die because of this."

    Told ya so. 92 year old woman scared out of her mind when her door gets kicked in by plainclothes cops shoots at the cops and gets gunned down. No drugs found (so she wasn't a granny drug dealer).

    SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER
    Woman, 92, dies in shootout with police

    Wednesday, November 22, 2006 Last updated 4:25 a.m. PT

    Woman, 92, dies in shootout with police

    THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

    ATLANTA -- A police official said narcotics officers were justified in returning fire on a 92-year-old woman they shot to death after she shot them as they tried to serve a warrant at her house.

    Neighbors and relatives said it was a case of mistaken identity. But police said the woman, identified as Kathryn Johnston, was the only resident in the house at the time and had lived there for about 17 years.

    Assistant Chief Alan Dreher said the officers had a legal warrant and "knocked and announced" before they forced open the door. He said they were justified in shooting once they were fired upon.

    As the plainclothes Atlanta police officers approached the house about 7 p.m., a woman inside started shooting, striking each of them, said Officer Joe Cobb, a police spokesman.

    One was hit in the arm, another in a thigh and the third in a shoulder. The officers were taken to a hospital for treatment, and all three were conscious and alert, police said.

    Sarah Dozier, identified as a niece of the woman, told WAGA-TV that there were never any drugs at the house.

    "My aunt was in good health. I'm sure she panicked when they kicked that door down," Dozier said. "There was no reason they had to go in there and shoot her down like a dog."

    Rev. Markel Hutchins, a civil rights leader, said Johnston's family deserves an apology.

    "Of the police brutality cases we've had, this is the most egregious because of the woman's age," Hutchins said.

    Hutchins said he would try to meet with Atlanta Police Chief Richard Pennington and would also meet with lawyers.
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    What's one dead granny when compared with the glorious onward march of the War on Some Drugs and the advancement of state power in general? **** her. Maybe she didn't derserve to die. Maybe a family has been destroyed. Maybe people are srill smoking crack, weed, and snortting and injecting everything they feel like. Maybe kids are still getting killed in gang wars. But it's the law. There is no higher moral or ethical goal than to enforce the law, YR. Those officer are heros!, and Kathryn Johnston is at best a tragic but necessary loss. Quite frankly I'd say the **** probably did something in her life she deserved to die for anyway. I mean, this is America. It's not like we have the right as citizens not to have jack booted Rambo wannabes barging into our houses with automatic weapons firing if we're slightly slower in getting to the door to let them in than they figure is necessary.

    And so what if you and other people who actually give a **** about freedom and quaint notions like that predicted this kind of thing happening? It's not like you've made a point or anything. Better the ***** died than we lose a couple kilos of coke or something. I mean you don't want the officers to be in danger or the case to be lost, do you? Of course if they weren't enforcing bull**** laws to begin with that wouldn't be a problem, but **** that. It's the law now and that's all that matters.

    Quote Originally Posted by yeahright
    Told ya so. 92 year old woman scared out of her mind when her door gets kicked in by plainclothes cops shoots at the cops and gets gunned down. No drugs found (so she wasn't a granny drug dealer).

    SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER
    Woman, 92, dies in shootout with police

    Wednesday, November 22, 2006 Last updated 4:25 a.m. PT

    Woman, 92, dies in shootout with police

    THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

    ATLANTA -- A police official said narcotics officers were justified in returning fire on a 92-year-old woman they shot to death after she shot them as they tried to serve a warrant at her house.

    Neighbors and relatives said it was a case of mistaken identity. But police said the woman, identified as Kathryn Johnston, was the only resident in the house at the time and had lived there for about 17 years.

    Assistant Chief Alan Dreher said the officers had a legal warrant and "knocked and announced" before they forced open the door. He said they were justified in shooting once they were fired upon.

    As the plainclothes Atlanta police officers approached the house about 7 p.m., a woman inside started shooting, striking each of them, said Officer Joe Cobb, a police spokesman.

    One was hit in the arm, another in a thigh and the third in a shoulder. The officers were taken to a hospital for treatment, and all three were conscious and alert, police said.

    Sarah Dozier, identified as a niece of the woman, told WAGA-TV that there were never any drugs at the house.

    "My aunt was in good health. I'm sure she panicked when they kicked that door down," Dozier said. "There was no reason they had to go in there and shoot her down like a dog."

    Rev. Markel Hutchins, a civil rights leader, said Johnston's family deserves an apology.

    "Of the police brutality cases we've had, this is the most egregious because of the woman's age," Hutchins said.

    Hutchins said he would try to meet with Atlanta Police Chief Richard Pennington and would also meet with lawyers.
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    This is the trajedy of the situation. I'm sure the cops believed they were raiding a drug house.....so they play fast and loose with the knock and announce rule because the Supremes just told them they could. Granny lives alone in what is probably a bad neighborhood (hence the drug bust) so she's got a gun. Plainclothes cops bust down her door, she starts shooting, the cops defend themselves and we end up with one dead granny and three wounded cops....all of which could have been avoided if they'd done a real knock and announce...showing some uniforms and badges to establish their status.
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    If i'm going in a house you can bet your ass i'll be fully dressed in raid gear. However, i'm not an inner city type of cop who has a different view on a lot of things so I have no comment on that other than it was a horrible mistake on the cops part. Regardless of the KNock and announce rule they failed by going to the wrong house.

    The reality of the situation is the same as other areas of emergency services. Lack of training, lack of equipment and lack of follow-through.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayhawkk
    If i'm going in a house you can bet your ass i'll be fully dressed in raid gear. However, i'm not an inner city type of cop who has a different view on a lot of things so I have no comment on that other than it was a horrible mistake on the cops part. Regardless of the KNock and announce rule they failed by going to the wrong house.

    The reality of the situation is the same as other areas of emergency services. Lack of training, lack of equipment and lack of follow-through.
    Seems to me the followed through right to the logical end of the enforcement of any law. No amount of preparation or follow through is going to eliminate mistakes likes this because perfection is unattainable this side of heaven. So it really comes down to how many dead grandmothers, elderly aunts and other assortted innocent citizens is the drug war worth?

    All of which is besides the point. The real mistake is the law that was being enforced. As far as I'm concerned this is no different than arguing about whether or not the conditions in the cattle cars the Jews were hauled off in were up to spec or if the SS was properly dressed while ignoring the underlying insanity of genocide.
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    This is where we disagree. I have no problem with the war on drugs concept. It's the tools given to fight it I have a problem with. In this society(U.S.) It's needed. Maybe not in some rural place or in a country where it's culture and population allow a much looser environment but I don't see how it's not needed here.

    Maybe if things were done different a couple hundred years ago things would be different and could be attained via your solution. I don't think that the path we chose to go down has led us to a place where that kind of self policing and control is attainable.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayhawkk
    This is where we disagree. I have no problem with the war on drugs concept.
    The concept is that the government has the right to tell you what you can and cannot do regardless of any harm or potential harm it may cause to others. This puts all voluntary behavior under the purview of government control.

    It's the tools given to fight it I have a problem with. In this society(U.S.) It's needed. Maybe not in some rural place or in a country where it's culture and population allow a much looser environment but I don't see how it's not needed here.
    Automatic weapons and the ability to plow down anyone's door isn't enough? If that's not enough what other tools do you need?

    Maybe if things were done different a couple hundred years ago things would be different and could be attained via your solution. I don't think that the path we chose to go down has led us to a place where that kind of self policing and control is attainable.
    The path we have gone down is what has lead to this situation. It is the cause as can be demonstrated with any prohibition throughout history. The salesmen of Budweiser and Guinness aren't killing each other in the streets. People aren't getting killed because the police thought they might have a still in their garage and decided to storm their house with automatic weapons and flash grenades blazing away. Although it was once like that in this country, during alcohol prohibition. Funny, the prohibition ended, people stopped killing each other in the streets, people stopped dying of adulterated bath tub gin, and we've still got some alcoholics but the cost of their habit isn't sky high so they can at least be functional in society. Who would have thunk it?

    You restrict the supply all you do is increase the profit incentive for the remaining dealers. The demand for drugs is relatively inflexible so you have to raise punishments to inhuman levels before they will have a deterent effect. Punishments like execution and limb amputation for minor offenses. That inflexibility also means there's not likely to be much of an increase in use following legalization. That's why prohibition is doomed to fail no matter what tools you're given.

    The government should be protecting people from the aggressive actions of others, not from what they may or may not choose to do to themselves. That is the substance of a free society. Not storm troopers gunning down grandmothers because there might be a substance in her house the government has decided she shouldn't have for her own good.
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    You can bet the next 92 year old will have more "fire power" and maybe even some advanced intelligence data from recon. She was a potential evil doer who could have benifited from reading the ART OF WAR " It is an unwise warrior who engages a greater enemy"
    heaven help us all!
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    Quote Originally Posted by anabolicrhino
    You can bet the next 92 year old will have more "fire power" and maybe even some advanced intelligence data from recon. She was a potential evil doer who could have benifited from reading the ART OF WAR " It is an unwise warrior who engages a greater enemy"
    heaven help us all!
    All kidding aside, this is the kind of stuff I've had nightmares about - a frickin' home invasion by the "good guys." Trust me - knock or no knock, yelling "police" as you break down my door - You. Will. Be. Met. With. Gunfire!

    Like the dead 92 year old lady, I live in the metro Atlanta area, and almost daily I read about criminal home invaders shouting "police" as they are kicking down the door, pulling over innocent drivers, jacking up innocent folks walking from point A to point B, etc.... I also outwardly fit the "profile" of what an older drug dealer "in the hood" might look like in some people's mind (lawd help me!). So I ask you: Why would anyone - especially someone like that poor old lady who lived in a "high crime" area - believe that it's the police kicking down your door just because THEY SAY THEY ARE THE POLICE?!! No doubt in my mind that her first thought was "somebody's breaking in" who is there to rape, rob, and/or kill me - which is exactly what my thoughts would be in the same situation.

    I've lived in the same "working class" neighborhood for over 16 years. During the last 6 or 7 years, the turnover in a few houses has been unbelievable, and the increase in visibly idle late-teen to early twenty young males just hanging out is incredible. Say what you will, but I never had any problems until after this turnover trend began, when my home was successfully broken into once, and when a second attempt was aborted when I woke up to noise on my front porch (yeah, they are bold mf's) and chased the s.o.b.(s) away. Unfortunately, it is what it is.

    I suspect my neighborhood could very easily house all sort of individuals engaged in myriad illegal activities, both minor and major. If the police were to raid my home by mistake (and yes, it would be a mistake - I make the grade as a "law abiding citizen" who has a government-issued concealed weapon's permit!), I probably won't be alive to find out, because my first reaction to a door being kicked in will be to shoot first, and to keep on firing until I'm out of bullets, or I'm killed. And that should really scare y'all as fellow citizens of this great nation - because I am truly one of the "good" guys!
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    The salesmen of Budweiser and Guinness aren't killing each other in the streets. People aren't getting killed because the police thought they might have a still in their garage and decided to storm their house with automatic weapons and flash grenades blazing away. Although it was once like that in this country, during alcohol prohibition. Funny, the prohibition ended, people stopped killing each other in the streets, people stopped dying of adulterated bath tub gin, and we've still got some alcoholics but the cost of their habit isn't sky high so they can at least be functional in society. Who would have thunk it?
    The outright killing stopped but the continual killing in the streets by use of vehicle keeps increasing. Drunks are hardly functional unless you're speaking of moderate use and responsible use and again i'll point to more abuse than use in the case of alcohol. i would bet moderate ciggarette use isn't horrible either but the majority of users smoke a lot more than is healthy.

    I'm sure there's the occassional drinking, like me who uses and doesn't abuse. Or the occassional user of pot, like you, who falls in the same category but we're talking about a society filled with people who need stickers on dryers that they can't use it while taking a shower.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayhawkk
    The outright killing stopped but the continual killing in the streets by use of vehicle keeps increasing.
    Granted. The prohibition did nothing to solve this problem, and also wasted resources by going after all users instead of problem users, like those who drink and drive. Despite your claim, there is such a thing as a functional drug addict. The quality of their lives might not be what your or I aspire to, but they don't all behave recklessly and endanger others. Even if they did, all users don't.

    I'm sure there's the occassional drinking, like me who uses and doesn't abuse. Or the occassional user of pot, like you, who falls in the same category but we're talking about a society filled with people who need stickers on dryers that they can't use it while taking a shower.
    That's where I believe you are wrong. Most people don't need that sticker, but the company will put it on there to cover their asses for the few that do. What it comes down to is drug use of any kind is not per se harmful to others and the government has no business protecting people from themselves. Find someone driving under the influence, lock them up. Find someone endangering their kids because of their habit, take the kids away. You'll get no argument from me. Even if you are right and the majority of users are out of control drunks, mainliners and stoners, you still lose by targetting all users instead of the problem users. And you still end up locking people up in prison who do not deserve to be there, and gunning down elderly women who did nothing to deserve it.

    Laws that require paramilitary home invasions on nonviolent people are just unAmerican, and are bound to destroy the lives of the innocent. There's no way to avoid that and that's inexcusable when a simple change in the law to target problem users instead of all users and sellers in general lets people who aren't a threat live their lives and still allows the government to protect citizens from the freaks that do exist.
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    Oh man, this story just gets worse:

    Documents Reveal: Cops Planted Pot on 92-Year Old Woman They Killed in Botched Drug Raid
    By Rhonda Cook, Atlanta Journal-Constitution
    Posted on April 30, 2007, Printed on April 30, 2007

    According to federal documents released this week, these are the events that led to Kathryn Johnston's death and the steps the officers took to cover their tracks.

    Three narcotics agents were trolling the streets near the Bluffs in northwest Atlanta, a known market for drugs, midday on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving.

    Eventually they set their sights on some apartments on Lanier Street, usually fertile when narcotics agents are looking for arrests and seizures.

    Gregg Junnier and another narcotics officer went inside the apartments around 2 p.m. while Jason Smith checked the woods. Smith found dozens of bags of marijuana -- in baggies that were clear, blue or various other colors and packaged to sell. With no one connected to the pot, Smith stashed the bags in the trunk of the patrol car. A use was found for Smith's stash 90 minutes later: A phone tip led the three officers to a man in a "gold-colored jacket" who might be dealing. The man, identified as X in the documents but known as Fabian Sheats, spotted the cops and put something in his mouth. They found no drugs on Sheats, but came up with a use for the pot they found earlier.

    They wanted information or they would arrest Sheats for dealing.

    While Junnier called for a drug-sniffing dog, Smith planted some bags under a rock, which the K-9 unit found.

    But if Sheats gave them something, he could walk.

    Sheats pointed out 933 Neal St., the home of 92-year-old Kathryn Johnston. That, he claimed, is where he spotted a kilogram of cocaine when he was there to buy crack from a man named "Sam."

    They needed someone to go inside, but Sheats would not do for their purposes because he was not a certified confidential informant.

    So about 5:05 p.m. they reached out by telephone to Alex White to make an undercover buy for them. They had experience with White and he had proved to be a reliable snitch.

    But White had no transportation and could not help.

    Still, Smith, Junnier and the other officer, Arthur Tesler, according to the state's case, ran with the information. They fabricated all the right answers to persuade a magistrate to give them a no-knock search warrant.

    By 6 p.m., they had the legal document they needed to break into Kathryn Johnston's house, and within 40 minutes they were prying off the burglar bars and using a ram to burst through the elderly woman's front door. It took about two minutes to get inside, which gave Johnston time to retrieve her rusty .38 revolver.

    Tesler was at the back door when Junnier, Smith and the other narcotics officers crashed through the front.

    Johnston got off one shot, the bullet missing her target and hitting a porch roof. The three narcotics officers answered with 39 bullets.

    Five or six bullets hit the terrified woman. Authorities never figured out who fired the fatal bullet, the one that hit Johnston in the chest. Some pieces of the other bullets -- friendly fire -- hit Junnier and two other cops.

    The officers handcuffed the mortally wounded woman and searched the house.

    There was no Sam.

    There were no drugs.

    There were no cameras that the officers had claimed was the reason for the no-knock warrant.

    Just Johnston, handcuffed and bleeding on her living room floor.

    That is when the officers took it to another level. Three baggies of marijuana were retrieved from the trunk of the car and planted in Johnston's basement. The rest of the pot from the trunk was dropped down a sewage drain and disappeared.

    The three began getting their stories straight.

    The next day, one of them, allegedly Tesler, completed the required incident report in which he wrote that the officers went to the house because their informant had bought crack at the Neal Street address. And Smith turned in two bags of crack to support that claim.

    They plotted how they would cover up the lie.

    They tried to line up one of their regular informants, Alex White, the reliable snitch with the unreliable transportation.

    The officers' story would be that they met with White at an abandoned carwash Nov. 21 and gave him $50 to make the buy from Neal Street.

    To add credibility to their story, they actually paid White his usual $30 fee for information and explained to him how he was to say the scenario played out if asked. An unidentified store owner kicked in another $100 to entice White to go along with the play.

    The three cops spoke several times, assuring each other of the story they would tell.

    But Junnier was the first to break.

    On Dec. 11, three weeks after the shooting, Junnier told the FBI it was all a lie.

    Note: Junnier will face 10 years and one month and Smith 12 years and seven months. No sentencing date was immediately set, and the sentences are contingent on the men cooperating with the government. Arthur Tesler, also on administrative leave, was charged with violation of oath by a public officer, making false statements and false imprisonment under color of legal process. His attorney, William McKenney, said Tesler expects to go to trial.
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    Crooked cops are crooked cops regardless of the no knock policy though. It would not have mattered what restrictions were in place because they would of had no issue with lying to break/bend them. They deserve a hell of a lot more time than 10 years.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayhawkk View Post
    Crooked cops are crooked cops regardless of the no knock policy though. It would not have mattered what restrictions were in place because they would of had no issue with lying to break/bend them. They deserve a hell of a lot more time than 10 years.
    If not for the no knock policy they wouldn't have smashed down her door. If not for the drug war they would not have smashed down her door. I mean, if they had been honest and done everything by the book and still gone in and killed her, that would have been alright? Laws that require such policies as no knock warrants and that result in innocent citizens getting gunned down should not be on the books to begin with.
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    It's never okay to kill an innocent person but sometimes it is something that is hard to avoid. Just like in war there is friendly fire. it doesn't make it okay but in some circumstances it does make it understandable. The problem is you have police that need to do their job in an ever increasing dangerous atmosphere. You should see the turn around rate for inner city police departments and how much easier it is to get hired on to them compared to their counterparts in suburbs etc. Pay for law enforcement isn't all that great in most cases but their retirement plans usually can make up for it. What i'm trying to say is this...

    There is a crime, gang, and drug problem in most cities. You have to find a way to combat that problem and this is one of many tools they try and use to decrease law enforcement risk of injury and death. There will always be mishaps and people who abuse the system but that shouldn't let it stop us from trying to resolve the problem.

    There should be a war on drugs. As much as I blame media and advertisers and the gov't for going about it in messed up ways at time it doesn't mean there isn't a problem. Raise children and be an involved parent and you'll see how much of an issue it is. I think it's a tragedy that this lady was killed and I also wish these crooked police get all that they deserve but it doesn't change the reality that the no knock policy is a good thing.

    Most people with guns, like this old lady would not have put it down if she would of heard "police" outside her door at an odd hour of the night. I don't believe so, anyways. I also don't believe a 92 year old person should be allowed to carry a weapon in the first place. Most people would have an issue with this person having a driver license but I guess that's for another debate.
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    To add:
    If not for the no knock policy they wouldn't have smashed down her door.
    The no knock policy doesn't have anything to do with whether or not the door gets smashed down. It just means that police don't have to knock, say 'police' and wait a reasonable amount of time before entering. Which could still be done by smashing down a door.

    Roughly 20 seconds(according to the SCOTUS) is the reasonable time and 20 seconds if you're in bed grabbing for your gun is not enough time to make sense of a situation when police come barging through your door but what it does do is give the bad guy enough time to shoot any police entering. Plus they still need a warrant to do this enter and search.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayhawkk View Post
    It's never okay to kill an innocent person but sometimes it is something that is hard to avoid.
    Then how many dead grandmothers and aunts is the limit? It's very easy to avoid: stop enforcing laws that shouldn't even exist in a free society.

    There is a crime, gang, and drug problem in most cities. You have to find a way to combat that problem and this is one of many tools they try and use to decrease law enforcement risk of injury and death.
    Funny, when they got rid of alcohol prohibition the shooting in the streets stopped. At least over alcohol it did. Or am I missed something and do reps from Anheuser Busch go around killing people from the Jack Daniels factory?

    There should be a war on drugs. As much as I blame media and advertisers and the gov't for going about it in messed up ways at time it doesn't mean there isn't a problem. Raise children and be an involved parent and you'll see how much of an issue it is. I think it's a tragedy that this lady was killed and I also wish these crooked police get all that they deserve but it doesn't change the reality that the no knock policy is a good thing.
    Until they come to your door, or your mother's door, or your aunt's, or your girlfriend's. But then if it's unavoidable then there must be a practical limit. So how many dead innocent citizens is the limit? One, two, ten, one hundred? At what point does the trade off in massacred innocents become too much to justify the policy?

    Most people with guns, like this old lady would not have put it down if she would of heard "police" outside her door at an odd hour of the night. I don't believe so, anyways. I also don't believe a 92 year old person should be allowed to carry a weapon in the first place. Most people would have an issue with this person having a driver license but I guess that's for another debate.
    So now police don't have to identify themselves before entering in your opinion? Have you read the constitution? You're saying in a supposedly free society people have to lay down and be abused by jack booted Rambo wannabes even if they have done nothing wrong. That's pure nonsense. If the enforcement of a law requires such action then it shouldn't be a law to begin with. It's antithetical to everything this country is supposed to be about.

    Here's hoping no one ever calls in a false lead on someone you love. Maybe when you're at your wife's funeral crying over her closed casket because her head got blown off in during one of these mistaken/crooked raids, maybe then you'll think twice about such laws. I wonder how unavoidable but worth it you will consider such laws to be then. But then again I guess so long as it's someone else's loved one in the ground then it's okay.
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    Then how many dead grandmothers and aunts is the limit? It's very easy to avoid: stop enforcing laws that shouldn't even exist in a free society.
    You can't give numbers in these types of unfortunate events. You have to take the problem and the overall safety over the risk. If enough grandmothers are killed wrongly then things will change.

    Funny, when they got rid of alcohol prohibition the shooting in the streets stopped. At least over alcohol it did. Or am I missed something and do reps from Anheuser Busch go around killing people from the Jack Daniels factory?
    The sad part is people killing themselves because they had to have alcohol and would brew it in lead pipes. My point isn't the killing in the street. It's the fact that once introduced into society that it's damn near impossible to pull out regardless of the damage done. And again, a different age and different time.

    Until they come to your door, or your mother's door, or your aunt's, or your girlfriend's. But then if it's unavoidable then there must be a practical limit. So how many dead innocent citizens is the limit? One, two, ten, one hundred? At what point does the trade off in massacred innocents become too much to justify the policy?
    When society decides as a whole that it is too many. Most Maryland police agencies have a no high speed chase policy due to the outcry of too many fatalities of both the innocent and the criminals/police. People felt that anyone dying over a suspended license was not worth it. Again, you can't put a solid number on it. I have had the police come through my door. I have also been arrested wrongly when I was a juvenile. It doesn't change the facts. I am also not a hypocrite that says one thing but will change my story when it deals with me.
    So now police don't have to identify themselves before entering in your opinion? Have you read the constitution? You're saying in a supposedly free society people have to lay down and be abused by jack booted Rambo wannabes even if they have done nothing wrong. That's pure nonsense. If the enforcement of a law requires such action then it shouldn't be a law to begin with. It's antithetical to everything this country is supposed to be about.
    No, in situations where a warrant was obtained and the threat is great enough(also justified) I think announcing you're about to come in and seize their drugs/weapons is a bad thing for the police. you're assuming the situation using a bad example because of the crooked cops and their falsifying information to obtain warrants. Yes i've read the Constitution.

    Here's hoping no one ever calls in a false lead on someone you love. Maybe when you're at your wife's funeral crying over her closed casket because her head got blown off in during one of these mistaken/crooked raids, maybe then you'll think twice about such laws. I wonder how unavoidable but worth it you will consider such laws to be then. But then again I guess so long as it's someone else's loved one in the ground then it's okay.
    If that was my grandmother that was killed I would be pissed. I would be pissed at the bad cops. I wouldn't be pissed at the no knock policy or law enforcement as a whole. Those bad cops killed that grandmother and put a bad light on the rest of the cops who fight the good fight.

    If followed through properly then the risk to innocent lives is a whole lot less than you think. Mistakes will happen but until more places feel that training and better equipment etc for police officers is a necessity then you still still have a level of error.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayhawkk View Post
    Crooked cops are crooked cops regardless of the no knock policy though. It would not have mattered what restrictions were in place because they would of had no issue with lying to break/bend them. They deserve a hell of a lot more time than 10 years.
    Jay i know youre a cop and you have to defend the laws that make your job easier and safer, but things like this simply couldnt happen if this law wasnt on the books.

    personally, i think its just completely unconstitutional and violates the sanctity of the home.

    imagine youre a 92 year old woman. someone is breaking, literally smashing, your door down. you grab your gun and try to defend your home and yourself, and end up getting blown away. how would you feel if this was your mother?

    now obviously these were horribly crooked cops, but their actions were justified by this law.

    this law turns cops into criminals in the minds of the people. there is no way you can expect someone not to defend their home if someone simply smashes down your door and raids your house.

    if anything, this law makes you less safe. when enough cops die from people blowing their heads off when they cowboy their way intot he house maybe youll all learn your lesson the hard way.
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    Jomi822, the only difference between the pre no knock and today is there is no knock and reasonable amount of time afterwards.

    1. A warrant has to be still obtained
    2. A crashing through the door will result in either situation.

    now obviously these were horribly crooked cops, but their actions were justified by this law.
    No, no it wasn't. Their actions got them a search warrant that had they followed the law they would not of been given. Had they followed the law the no knock policy could of never been put to use.

    The funny thing is that at 90 years old there was a good chance this lady would of been considered dangerous behind the wheel of a vehicle but could of still had a wepaon in the home. Now this is for a seperate argument but one could of argued that had the grand ma not had a gun and shot she wouldn't of been killed. Of course with the bad cops in play that would of possibly still been the end result.

    Again, for those not aware or wanting to read trhough it all...

    The only difference between this law and the law before it was police had to announce themselves as police prior to breaking down your door. The 'reasonable' time frame given was left open for interpretation because due to different situations it could be less than 20 seconds.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayhawkk View Post
    The only difference between this law and the law before it was police had to announce themselves as police prior to breaking down your door. The 'reasonable' time frame given was left open for interpretation because due to different situations it could be less than 20 seconds.
    So how is the owner of the house supposed to know whether its the police or an intruder??

    cops are setting themselves up to be shot. the woman had every right to blow these guys away. again, put yourself in her situation.

    do you think she would pulled a gun on them if they had announced themselves and police without slamming down the door first?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayhawkk View Post
    You can't give numbers in these types of unfortunate events. You have to take the problem and the overall safety over the risk. If enough grandmothers are killed wrongly then things will change.
    So there is an acceptable number of dead innocent citizens. Thanks, that's all I needed to know about your position.

    The sad part is people killing themselves because they had to have alcohol and would brew it in lead pipes. My point isn't the killing in the street. It's the fact that once introduced into society that it's damn near impossible to pull out regardless of the damage done. And again, a different age and different time.
    Same people, same principles.

    When society decides as a whole that it is too many. Most Maryland police agencies have a no high speed chase policy due to the outcry of too many fatalities of both the innocent and the criminals/police. People felt that anyone dying over a suspended license was not worth it. Again, you can't put a solid number on it. I have had the police come through my door. I have also been arrested wrongly when I was a juvenile. It doesn't change the facts. I am also not a hypocrite that says one thing but will change my story when it deals with me.
    Perhaps when someone you love is dead for no reason then.

    No, in situations where a warrant was obtained and the threat is great enough(also justified) I think announcing you're about to come in and seize their drugs/weapons is a bad thing for the police. you're assuming the situation using a bad example because of the crooked cops and their falsifying information to obtain warrants. Yes i've read the Constitution.
    You're assuming the situation is inevitable. It isn't. It is the result of prohibition. Legalize and Bayer will be selling the stuff, not Pinky the Pimp.

    If that was my grandmother that was killed I would be pissed. I would be pissed at the bad cops. I wouldn't be pissed at the no knock policy or law enforcement as a whole. Those bad cops killed that grandmother and put a bad light on the rest of the cops who fight the good fight.
    So lying and killing innocent citizens shines a bad light on telling the truth and killing innocent citizens. Interesting view.

    If followed through properly then the risk to innocent lives is a whole lot less than you think. Mistakes will happen but until more places feel that training and better equipment etc for police officers is a necessity then you still still have a level of error.
    If followed through properly the risk to innocent lives in any situation is minimal. Whether or not the risk should have been taken to begin with is at issue.
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    Don't let your personal view put a twist on my argument.
    So there is an acceptable number of dead innocent citizens. Thanks, that's all I needed to know about your position.
    As tragic as it sounds there is always an acceptable or unacceptable number of innocent deaths before things will change or whether they stay the same. You can try and paint me the bad guy for saying so but fact is fact. Me giving you a off the wall number makes no sense and you saying no death is acceptable makes even less sense. Accidents happen all the time, unfortunately. Laws and policy are not re-written after every mishap. This is with evey part of life and not just law in the public sector.

    Perhaps when someone you love is dead for no reason then.
    You're assuming I have not been in this situation because you believe that anyone that had been would not hold my view. You could also assume the same for the father of a killed son over in Iraq, about their view on the war and you would be mistaken in that assumption as well.

    You're assuming the situation is inevitable. It isn't. It is the result of prohibition. Legalize and Bayer will be selling the stuff, not Pinky the Pimp.
    Two days ago a guy shot and attempted to kill a Pharmacy employee at a drive trhough because he refused to give his drugs to the guy at gunpoint. So to avoid this we should make all rx drugs OTC? I'm sure some of it was made by Bayer.All legalizing this stuff is turn the pimp into a stock market contributor. You think that large corporations have the consumer's health in their interest? You think that regulating and making certain things illegal for joe citizen is bad but you think that this should be the case for big business? Or do you think that everyone including big business should be law free to do as they wish?

    So lying and killing innocent citizens shines a bad light on telling the truth and killing innocent citizens. Interesting view.
    Again, you're twisting the argument to fit your agenda vs. just accepting the actual facts. Had the law been followed by good cops then the lady would not of been shot because the cops would not of beat down her door. You can't what if and armchair scenerios that did not happen. You're assuming that if the cops were law abiding that they would of still obtained a search warrant and entered the house. Why would they?

    If followed through properly the risk to innocent lives in any situation is minimal. Whether or not the risk should have been taken to begin with is at issue.
    There is no way to remove the risk when dealing with law enforcement. You seem to be arguing for anarchy and a lawless society...If that is your opinion then that is fine but as of right now we have law enforcement and we need to keep both the civilians and the police safe as possible. When done properly then there should be bad guys behind the door of the house they are at. With this being the case, the no knock policy makes our police safer.
  

  
 

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