Black Robes Speak!: May 2011
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Thursday, May 26, 2011

Breaking GREAT News: U. S. Supreme Court Upholds Portion Of Arizona Law Punishing Businesses For Hiring Illegal Immigrants.


Click on the case name to read the opinion.

Here's how the Justices ruled:

ROBERTS, C. J., delivered the opinion of the Court, except as to PartsII–B and III–B. SCALIA, KENNEDY, and ALITO, JJ., joined that opinion in full, and THOMAS, J., joined as to Parts I, II–A, and III–A and con-curred in the judgment. BREYER, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which GINSBURG, J., joined. SOTOMAYOR, J., filed a dissenting opinion. KAGAN, J., took no part in the consideration or decision of the case.

NOW, believe it or not, this is the BEST way to combat illegal immigration, and all remaining 49 states should IMMEDIATELY jump on the Arizona's bandwagon and enact similar "punish businesses for illegal hiring" laws.

Did you hear: IMMEDIATELY!

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Monday, May 23, 2011

U. S. Supreme Court Orders California To Release 38,000 To 46,000 Prisoners Because Of "Needless Suffering And Death" From Overcrowding.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Breaking News: U.S. Supreme Court Rules Against Lexington man in Warrantless Search, Remands Case To Kentucky Supreme Court.

The case is: KENTUCKY v. KING CERTIORARI TO THE SUPREME COURT OF KENTUCKY, No. 09–1272. According to the opinion:

Police officers in Lexington, Kentucky, followed a suspected drug dealerto an apartment complex. They smelled marijuana outside anapartment door, knocked loudly, and announced their presence. As soon as the officers began knocking, they heard noises coming from the apartment; the officers believed that these noises were consistent with the destruction of evidence. The officers announced their intent to enter the apartment, kicked in the door, and found respondent andothers. They saw drugs in plain view during a protective sweep of the apartment and found additional evidence during a subsequentsearch. The Circuit Court denied respondent’s motion to suppress the evidence, holding that exigent circumstances—the need to pre-vent destruction of evidence—justified the warrantless entry. Re-spondent entered a conditional guilty plea, reserving his right to ap-peal the suppression ruling, and the Kentucky Court of Appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court of Kentucky reversed. The court as-sumed that exigent circumstances existed, but it nonetheless invali-dated the search. The exigent circumstances rule did not apply, thecourt held, because the police should have foreseen that their conductwould prompt the occupants to attempt to destroy evidence.
1. The exigent circumstances rule applies when the police do notcreate the exigency by engaging or threatening to engage in conductthat violates the Fourth Amendment. Pp. 5–16.
The Fourth Amendment expressly imposes two requirements:All searches and seizures must be reasonable; and a warrant may notbe issued unless probable cause is properly established and the scope of the authorized search is set out with particularity. Although“ ‘searches and seizures inside a home without a warrant are pre-sumptively unreasonable,’ ” Brigham City v. Stuart, 547 U. S. 398,
403, this presumption may be overcome when “ ‘the exigencies of the situation’ make the needs of law enforcement so compelling that [a]warrantless search is objectively reasonable under the Fourth Amendment,” Mincey v. Arizona, 437 U. S. 385, 394. One such exi-gency is the need “to prevent the imminent destruction of evidence.” Brigham City, supra, at 403. Pp. 5–6.
Under the “police-created exigency” doctrine, which lower courts have developed as an exception to the exigent circumstancesrule, exigent circumstances do not justify a warrantless search whenthe exigency was “created” or “manufactured” by the conduct of the police. The lower courts have not agreed, however, on the test for de-termining when police impermissibly create an exigency. Pp. 7–8.
The proper test follows from the principle that permits war-rantless searches: warrantless searches are allowed when the cir-cumstances make it reasonable, within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment, to dispense with the warrant requirement. Thus, a warrantless entry based on exigent circumstances is reasonable whenthe police did not create the exigency by engaging or threatening toengage in conduct violating the Fourth Amendment. A similar ap-proach has been taken in other cases involving warrantless searches. For example, officers may seize evidence in plain view if they havenot violated the Fourth Amendment in arriving at the spot from which the observation of the evidence is made, see Horton v. Califor-nia, 496 U. S. 128, 136–140; and they may seek consent-based en-counters if they are lawfully present in the place where the consen-sual encounter occurs, see INS v. Delgado, 466 U. S. 210, 217, n. 5. Pp. 8–10.
Some courts, including the Kentucky Supreme Court, have imposed additional requirements—asking whether officers “ ‘deliber-ately created the exigent circumstances with the bad faith intent toavoid the warrant requirement,’ ” 302 S. W. 3d 649, 656 (case below);reasoning that police may not rely on an exigency if “ ‘it was reasona-bly foreseeable that [their] investigative tactics . . . would create theexigent circumstances,’ ”ibid.; faulting officers for knocking on a door when they had sufficient evidence to seek a warrant but did not doso; and finding that officers created or manufactured an exigency when their investigation was contrary to standard or good law en-forcement practices. Such requirements are unsound and are thus rejected. Pp. 10–14.
Respondent contends that an exigency is impermissibly cre-ated when officers engage in conduct that would cause a reasonable person to believe that entry was imminent and inevitable, but thatapproach is also flawed. The ability of officers to respond to an exi-gency cannot turn on such subtleties as the officers’ tone of voice in
Cite as: 563 U. S. ____ (2011) 3
announcing their presence and the forcefulness of their knocks. A forceful knock may be necessary to alert the occupants that someoneis at the door, and unless officers identify themselves loudly enough, occupants may not know who is at their doorstep. Respondent’s test would make it extremely difficult for officers to know how loudly they may announce their presence or how forcefully they may knock with-out running afoul of the police-created exigency rule. And in most cases, it would be nearly impossible for a court to determine whether that threshold had been passed. Pp. 14–15.
2. Assuming that an exigency existed here, there is no evidence that the officers either violated the Fourth Amendment or threatened to do so prior to the point when they entered the apartment. Pp. 16–
Any question about whether an exigency existed here is bet-ter addressed by the Kentucky Supreme Court on remand. P. 17.
Assuming an exigency did exist, the officers’ conduct—banging on the door and announcing their presence—was entirelyconsistent with the Fourth Amendment. Respondent has pointed tono evidence supporting his argument that the officers made any sortof “demand” to enter the apartment, much less a demand thatamounts to a threat to violate the Fourth Amendment. If there is contradictory evidence that has not been brought to this Court’s at-tention, the state court may elect to address that matter on remand.Finally, the record makes clear that the officers’ announcement thatthey were going to enter the apartment was made after the exigency arose. Pp. 17–19.
302 S. W. 3d 649, reversed and remanded.

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