4th Amendment in trouble?
While it doesn't affect me (yet), being in the 9th Circuit, I was wondering what you guys thought about this ruling. I'm usually on the side of civil liberties on these issues, but on this one I'm not so sure.
We've all heard the horror stories of police search abuse (if you need some, I'm sure I can dig them up for you). But the real question, for me at least, is whether this decision is allowed by the following:
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.
Was there probable cause here? Assuming that the testimony of the officers was correct, I would agree that their account:
When officers went to question Gould, they were told he was asleep. The officers asked if they could look inside for Gould, and were allowed to enter.
The officers testified that that they believed a search of the home was necessary to ensure their safety, given the allegations by Gould's employee and Gould's criminal history, according to the Facts and Proceedings section of the 5th Circuit ruling.
Gould's bedroom door was ajar, and officers testified they peered inside and saw no one. Thinking Gould could be hiding, the officers looked in three closets. In one of the closets, the officers found three firearms, according to the Facts and Proceedings section of the 5th Circuit ruling.
was indeed both reasonable and had probable cause. He was most likely done when someone allowed the cops inside.
The problem I have is that all an officer in this region of the country has to do is say he 'felt threatened' to search a house. I can certainly see this being abused. What do you guys think?