30 March 2015
All too often news reporters relay stories across America of raids gone bad. On the basis of the word of an informer or the slightest suspicion, militarized law enforcement teams burst into homes unannounced, often in the dark of night, often with tragic consequences.
Tragic consequences? Yes, like the case of Kane v. Lewis, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled such a raid justified under the Fourth Amendment.
- The Washington Post: Absurd Fourth Circuit ruling embodies everything that’s wrong with drug raids (March 27, 2015)
- Opinion of the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals on the matter of Kane v. Lewis, with dissent by Justice Pamela Harris
A man awakened from sleep by heavily-armed policemen bursting into his apartment grabs the only weapon he had available, a sheathed knife. Officers shot the man in the face and torso, killing him. He was killed over trace amounts of marijuana found in his garbage can.
History of the Fourth Amendment
The irony of the Fourth Circuit Court trampling the Fourth Amendment isn’t to be ignored.
Over two decades leading up to our Unanimous Declaration of Independence, “British troops and enforcement officers were armed with writs of assistance, or general warrants that gave them broad powers to search colonists’ homes. They didn’t need to establish probable cause, or even specificity as to a person or residence. The abuse that came with those warrants made Boston a hub of revolutionary fervor, and memories of that abuse are why the Founders created a Fourth Amendment after the war.” [source cited above]
First grievance cited in the Unanimous Declaration of Independence
“He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.”
Fourth Amendment Text
“The 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.”
Question of Propriety
Convoluted case law has effectively eviscerated the Fourth Amendment. History behind the amendment is unambiguous. Founding fathers George Mason and James Madison crafted this amendment to assure protection of persons and property from overzealous, tyrannical government.
Innocent children have suffered great bodily harm. Unarmed residents have been grievously wounded, disfigured and killed. Property damage is inestimable. Most important of all: governments fail to fulfill the most fundamental role: to secure our natural rights.
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed”
Case law and violent break-ins by law enforcement officers executing search warrants most certainly obviate the need for an Article V Constitutional Convention of States to amend the Constitution in order to restore original intent.