Constitutional Law

Rare 3rd Amendment suit filed after family says police occupied their homes to watch neighbor

  • Print.

Residents in Henderson, Nev., filed a federal lawsuit saying police entered their family’s two homes without warrants and without permission in order to gain tactical advantage of a neighboring domestic dispute.

The family maintains that they refused to let SWAT officers use their home on July 10, 2011, to monitor a developing domestic situation at a house nearby, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reports. And when they refused, the family alleges police were rough with Linda Mitchell and arrested her husband Michael Mitchell and her son Anthony Mitchell on charges of obstructing a police officer. The charges were later dropped with prejudice.

The family also alleges police shot Anthony Mitchell, who lived near his parents, and their dog Sam with a “pepperball gun.”

The suit alleges violations of the Third Amendment, which prohibits soldiers from quartering in a home without the homeowner’s consent.

Police were reportedly investigating a neighbor who was believed to be barricaded in his home with a child.

The Daily Caller points out that Third Amendment suits are rare, noting that Engblom v. Carey is the only major court decision on point. That case involved New York corrections officers evicted from their homes so National Guardsmen could perform their duties during a strike. The 2nd Circuit held for the corrections officers in 1982.

Also see:

USA Today (Column): “Uphold the Third Amendment: It’s our right as American citizens to have privacy in our own homes”

ABA Journal: “How did America’s police become a military force on the streets?”

Read the complaint:

Mitchell v City of Henderson et al Complaint by dmataconis

Give us feedback, share a story tip or update, or report an error.