Indiana Court Okays Illegal Police Entries

For centuries a person’s home has been considered his castle. This fundamental liberty was recognized in the Magna Carta and later in our own Bill of Rights. After all, our Founding Fathers fought a war for independence from the British for routinely violating these cherished and long-recognized rights.

The Fourth Amendment is not ambiguous in its meaning; clearly stating that “[t]he right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

Just last week, however, in a move that would have made King George III proud, the Indiana Supreme Court cavalierly decided that police can enter a person’s home for any reason – or no reason, or an unlawful reason — and the homeowner forced to stand aside and let them do their deeds. This 3 to 2 decision of the Hoosier State’s highest court, essentially reinstates the hated Writs of Assistance utilized by the British Crown in the colonies; according to which colonial citizens were subject to Royal gendarmes entering their homes for whatever reason their colonial masters decreed were necessary to “assist” the King.

Unless overturned by the federal courts or the state legislature, Indiana residents will be deprived of the Fourth Amendment’s protection against “unreasonable searches and seizures” enjoyed to at least some degree by people in other states and under federal law. To these Indiana jurists, the substance of the Fourth Amendment appears merely as a suggestion, not a protected civil liberty.

The specific issue at hand is whether or not you can resist someone – anyone, including a police officer – attempting to illegally enter your home. In this case, Barnes v. Indiana, a couple had been arguing outside their apartment. The police were called to investigate, but were denied entry by Richard Barnes, the husband. Ignoring his wishes the police entered anyway and he attempted to stop them. Barnes was subdued with a taser, and subsequently charged with misdemeanor resisting arrest and battery of a police officer.

At his trial, Barnes sought to have the judge instruct the jury to consider a defense that was permissible to resist unlawful entry into the home. His request was denied by the judge; a ruling eventually upheld by the state Supreme Court.

Writing for the majority of the high court, Justice Steven David stated, “[a] right to resist an unlawful police entry into a home is against public policy and is incompatible with modern Fourth Amendment jurisprudence” (emphasis added). He also opined that, “allowing resistance unnecessarily escalates the level of violence and therefore the risk of injuries to all parties involved without preventing the arrest.”

Rather than simply requiring police to obtain a warrant or possess at least some degree of reasonable cause (which did not exist at the time the police forced their way into the Barnes’ home), the Indiana Supreme Court has granted Indiana law enforcement a green light to enter a home for any reason or no reason whatsoever, and force the occupant to stand meekly aside and do nothing.

Unfortunate and troubling as this opinion is, it is of course not the only instance of how the Fourth Amendment’s protections against unreasonable searches and seizures have been eroded in recent years. Just last week, for example, the U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee voted to extend the power of the federal government under the USA PATRIOT Act, to gain access to a person’s private records in the hands of a third person (such as a doctor) as part of some undisclosed “foreign intelligence” investigation, without any suspicion that the person has engaged in any unlawful activity whatsoever.

Clearly, the Fourth Amendment is under assault at all levels of government. Unless the American citizenry awakens to this danger and begins demanding the rights the Amendment protects be restored, one of the fundamental underpinnings of our very Liberty will vanish, perhaps permanently.

By Bob Barr – The Barr Code

63 comments Add your comment


May 18th, 2011
4:47 pm

Once again the failed War On Drugs is at the root of the government’s destruction of the fourth amendment. If anyone actually thinks the war on drugs is about keeping anyone safe from drugs, incidents like this one and the subsequent court ruling should put that mistaken believe to rest.

If we are to regain freedom in this country again, two key wars must be ended immediately – The war on Drugs and the war on Terrorism. Both are just trumped up excuses to enslave americans and violate their rights.


May 18th, 2011
4:48 pm

Keith – The article said the husband met them at the doorway and spoke with them and refused to allow them entry. It said nothing of the woman speaking with the officers, why would they have entered if both had spoken with them? They would have had NO reason to enter if the woman was ok and no one was being arrested in a domestic disturbance situation..That just does not make sense! From past experience the man does not want the police to see any injuries on his wife because he would then most likely be arrested for Domestic Violence which is required per Ga State Law. You make it seem like the police were just riding down the street, stopped at someone house and forced their way inside for no reason. That is ridiculous!! You apparently don’t care for the police that is obvious to me, so next time some thug attacks you or your family call the ACLU or better yet call that bleeding liberal lawyer Bob Barr!!


May 18th, 2011
5:24 pm

Keith – The article only says the husband refused to allow entry NOT THE WIFE. She must have not been at the front door with the husband. The police were simply doing their job confirming the welfare of the wife. By the husband refusing entry or by calling his wife to the front door, where they could visibly see she was ok and with no injuries, this was a red flag to the officers. If she had no injuries the matter would have been over. From past experience the husband does not want the police to see his wife with visible injuries because he knows he would be arrested for Domestic Violence which is required by State Law. This is what happens to woman abusers! Apparently some of you bloggers don’t like the police, that is your prerogative but remember they have to make split second decisions when most of you can sit back and be Monday morning quarterbacks. I have seen this situation hundreds of time, the husband was hiding his wife from the police and they were not going to allow it. What if she had been found dead inside the apt the next day, the police would have been criticized for that to. They had to decide what was best to do for the woman’s welfare at that time, not go back to the precinct to check the law books and see if it was ok! For those of you who seem to despise the police, next time some thug threatens you or your family, call the ACLU or liberal lawyer Bob Barr and ask them to bring their law books with them. I’m retired, thank god, and don’t have to deal with you knuckle-heads anymore!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


May 18th, 2011
5:45 pm

Will Jones – You are not a well person, please take your meds and take a nap!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The Consitution Rules.

May 18th, 2011
6:01 pm

Hey Bob,

Did you hear about the RIAA? The organization has been pushing the state of California to pass a new law that would allow completely warrantless searches for law enforcement, allowing them to enter and search any CD or DVD manufacturing plant without either notice or a court order.
In other words… the RIAA is pushing a law that would let law enforcement, without any oversight, without any probable cause, without any notice, enter and search any company premises that involves pressing CDs or DVDs, in order to assure that they’re legal. Oh, and if said law enforcement discovers repeat violations, fines can be up to $250,000.

The RIAA claims that the 4th Amendment doesn’t apply here because of all the recent attacks on the 4th Amendment by the courts.

Will Jones - Atlanta Jeffersonian Exegesis

May 18th, 2011
6:21 pm

Your “shoes” pinching you, “Tom”?


May 18th, 2011
7:09 pm

Thank you Bob. Please do something on our disapearing / disappeared 5th amendment. I cannot believe the executive continues to insist that in can detain persons indefinitely without charge, sometimes after secret arrest, based on secret evidence, if any. It doesn’t get any more unamerican than that!


May 18th, 2011
9:01 pm

“Unless overturned by the federal courts…”

That seems less likely in view of the recent Supreme Court decision in Kentucky v. King.

Another search and seizure case, the Supremes held that the cops can bust in whenever they believe someone inside is destroying evidence of a crime. Now if they hear a commode being flushed they have probable cause to break down the door.


May 19th, 2011
1:59 am

Very very, since when did we go from our right to privacy in our own home to terrorism? The 4th amendment and terrorists are two different things. Unless they have reasonable doubt, there is no one in this world who should be able to knock down our doors. Especially if its just because “they can”. I think its ridiculous that any of our laws be changed. They were set for a reason. Seems to me, our country is slowly but surely ridding us of all out rights. No privacy, who knows what’s next? It makes me sick to my stomach to think that all our ancestors did for us and they are throwing it all away.


May 19th, 2011
11:41 am

“… one who knows the law better than them …”?

Aquagirl, they teach grammar at the same school they teach spelling … check it out.


May 19th, 2011
12:09 pm


May 19th, 2011
2:37 pm

I think in the case of domestic violence the cop had every right to go in and make sure that everyone was ok. I have family who are victims of domestic violence and it isn’t pretty. However I do not think an officer should be able to knock on my door and demand to be let in for no reason. Also I am seeing quite a few postings saying someone could dress like a police officer and come in and some are acting like that wouldn’t happen………….Hell yes it could happen. How many women have been raped by a man posing as a police officer and pulling her over? It’s a cruel world and since honest police officers aren’t on every corner we should be allowed to protect ourselves, our family and our property, And I am not saying all law enforcement are corrupt so don’t even go there. But all it would take is a nasty divorce and one of them being a cop and take advantage of the laws.


May 22nd, 2011
1:59 pm

Bottom line is when the police show up at your door and want entry without a warrant they’re going to get what they want. Don’t be so naive, this isn’t for our protection. Sure u can dispute their entry in a civil court…but let’s be realistic here if they think you’re doing something illegal they’re going to bust in without asking. If they’re wrong then perhaps later you can raise a civil suit…but they’re getting in anyways whether you’re doing anything wrong or not; and in my opinion that’s a complete violation of rights.