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Reaction swift to Fourth Amendment ruling

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Less than two weeks after the Indiana Supreme Court issued its decision in the case of Barnes v. State of Indiana, two teenagers dismayed by the ruling sparked a rally on the Statehouse steps uniting Hoosiers of all political stripes.

Rally participants decried what they see as an inexcusable erosion of the Fourth Amendment, which guarantees citizens the right to be secure in their homes — among other places — unless a probable cause warrant deems the search appropriate.

Justice Steven David, as the author of the court’s majority opinion issued May 12, wrote: “the right to reasonably resist an unlawful police entry into a home is no longer recognized under Indiana law.”

The right to resist illegal police entry into one’s home dates back over 300 years into English Common Law. But David argued that the modern criminal justice system offers people more opportunity than those living under Common Law to restore justice following an unlawful entry and arrest.

David gave more weight to safety issues, noting that “allowing resistance unnecessarily escalates the level of violence and therefore the risk of injuries to all parties…”

The full 8-page opinion, along with two shorter dissenting opinions, are posted online through the Indiana Supreme Court.

Gov. Mitch Daniels, Attorney General Greg Zoeller, legislative leaders and two of the five Supreme Court justices support a rehearing of the case.

“(T)he wholesale abrogation of the historic right of a person to reasonable resist unlawful police entry into his dwelling is unwarranted and unnecessarily broad,” Justice Brent Dickson wrote in his dissenting opinion.

He advocated a narrowing of David’s ruling by defining resistance to police entry into one’s home as unreasonable in the case of domestic violence investigations.

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