Ruling: Police Can Enter Home without Warrant Even if One Person Objects

Police gain new unprecedented power to enter homes without warrants.

Photo Credit: Chauvin

Earlier this week, the Supreme Court gave the police more power to enter a person's home without a warrant: if two people are inside a home, and one person denies police entry while the other allows it, the police can enter based on one party's consent.

This overturned a previous ruling in 2006 in which justices concluded that when two people disagree over a search, the police must listen to the objecting party. 

The ruling was in regards to a case involving a domestic abuse. A woman believed to have been physically assaulted by another occupant, a man, answered the door for police. The man objected to the police entering his home, but was arrested anyway shortly after they did. 

The Court's verdict seems to favor victims of domestic violence (who are often women). Interestingly, however, all three justices who dissented the ruling were women: Justices Ginsberg, Kagan and Sotomayor. 

"Instead of adhering to the warrant requirement, today's decision tells the police they may dodge it," Ginsburg wrote in her dissent. 

Officially, the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution bars representatives of the state from entering a home without a warrant, probable cause, or pursuant to an arrest. However, multiple rulings of the last few decades--usually related to drug arrests--have steadily eroded the standards to which law enforcement must adhere before entering a home.

Aaron Cantú is an investigator for the Marijuana Arrest Research Project and an independent journalist based in Brooklyn. Follow him on Twitter @aaronmiguel_
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