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Jun 09

4th amendment pointers for living with others

When dealing with cops at the door remember these pointers:

(1) The U.S. Supreme Court and every other court in the land have held that an entry or search of a residence requires a warrant. The home–whether rented or owned–is the most protected space in one’s life.

There are very few exceptions to this rule.

(2) One big exception is consent. Cops will do almost anything to claim that a home’s occupants consented to entry or search.

(3) The Supreme Court, and most other courts, have generally held that where more than one adult resides in a home, ANY ONE OF THEM may give consent to the government to enter. This is why it is extremely important to train relatives and choose one’s roommates, friends and associates wisely. Fernandez v. California, 134 S. Ct. 1126, 1132-33 (2014).

(4) However, where A SINGLE OBJECTING resident is present, cops may not enter–even if another resident gives consent to the cops. Georgia v. Randolph, 547 U.S. 103, 120 (2006).

(5) In the real world, things are often hectic and confusing and many people are intimidated into being overly gracious to cops. Many others falsely assume that cops will comply and obey the Constitution. It is often up to a single very strong and brave individual to firmly tell the government “No.”

(6) Remember that cops and other government agents will always sound reasonable and rational when they sit on the witness stand months or years later. Record them constantly and take note of their demeanor and mannerisms.

(7) There are many 4th amendment questions which are unsettled, such as the effect of posted “House Rules” indicating no resident may ever consent to a government search.