Constitutional Law

In Indiana, No Right to Resist Unlawful Police Entry at Home, Court Says


If an officer illegally enters an Indiana home, the resident has no right to resist, the state supreme court there ruled Thursday, on the basis that allowing resistance would increase the risk of violent confrontation.

The opinion (PDF), the Northwest Indiana Times reports, involves a man who yelled at police and blocked them from entering his apartment to investigate a domestic disturbance. The man shoved an officer who went past him, was shocked with a stun gun and arrested.

“We believe … a right to resist an unlawful police entry into a home is against public policy and is incompatible with modern Fourth Amendment jurisprudence,” Justice Steven David wrote for the majority. “We also find that allowing resistance unnecessarily escalates the level of violence and therefore the risk of injuries to all parties involved without preventing the arrest.”

Justices Robert Rucker and Brent Dickson dissented, on the basis that the court’s decision runs afoul of the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

“In my view the majority sweeps with far too broad a brush by essentially telling Indiana citizens that government agents may now enter their homes illegally—that is, without the necessity of a warrant, consent or exigent circumstances,” Rucker wrote. “I disagree.”

The opinion marks the second time in a week that the Indiana Supreme Court addressed police entry. On Tuesday, the court found that police serving a warrant can enter a home without knocking, if officers decide that approach is necessary.

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