State Supreme Court: All searches 'unreasonable' without warrant
Posted by Adam Lynn @ 08:52:14 am
The Washington Supreme Court issued a ruling today that says, in effect, that the provisions of the state Constitution trump the U.S. Constitution where searching someone's house is concerned.
Ruling on a case out of Thurston County, the state's high court overturned Jason Gregory Eisfeldt's conviction for manufacturing a controlled substance, saying the evidence used against him was gathered unconstitutionally.
Police were called to Eisfeldt's house in August 2003 after a repairman doing some work at the residence discovered what he thought were the remains of a marijuana-growing operation.
He showed detectives what he'd found – a garbage bag full of what appeared to be pot and some items sometimes used in grow operations. After seeing the bag, detectives obtained a search warrant, which they then used to gather the evidence later used to convict Eisfeldt.
In Thursday's ruling, the Supremes say the detectives should have gotten a warrant before ever entering the house. The repairman had no authority to consent to the house being searched, the ruling states, and the state Constitution prohibits law enforcement from conducting almost all searches without first getting a warrant.
The Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution prohibits "unreasonable searches," according to the ruling. By contrast, the ruling states, Article 1, Section 7 of the state Constitution "is unconcerned with the reasonableness of the search, but instead requires a warrant before any search, reasonable or not.
"Here, Article 1, Section 7, provides a greater protection from state action than does the Fourth Amendment."
You can read the majority's ruling here.
The concurring opinion can be seen here.
B.S. Chemistry UofWA '09
Surprised it took them this long to state the obvious.
I want to add something to this, but the ruling says it all!
I'm not the praying type but, amen!
"Think lightly of yourself and deeply of the world." ~ Musashi
This is nothing new. Under the independent analysis of our state constitution the fourth amendment standard is "unreasonable searches" under article 1 section 7 of our state constitution it has always been "authority of law" a much higher standard. Don't know why these LEO's did what they did, it was a bone-fide snafu...they didn't need to enter the house at all prior to the warrant. They had enough to apply for one with the observations of the repairman. Shortcuts will get you every time.