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Is Probable Cause at Risk? Is this a win or a setback?

since9

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Jan 14, 2010
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Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA
ARTICLE:
Washington Court: Refusing To Let Cops Enter Homes Without Warrants Isn't Obstruction [Updated]

DETAILS

- A man who refused to open his door to let police enter his home without a warrant should not have been convicted for obstruction of justice, the lead opinion for the Washington Supreme Court concluded on Thursday. “Criminalizing the refusal to open one’s own door to a warrantless entry would be enormously chilling and inconsistent with our deeply held constitutional values,” Justice Steven Gonzalez wrote in Shoreline v. McLemore.

Yet with the conviction upheld, Washington appears to be “the only jurisdiction in which citizens may be prosecuted merely for failing to yield when law enforcement demands warrantless entry to their homes,” according to an amicus brief filed by the ACLU of Washington.

The case began more than three years ago in Shoreline, Washington when a late-night shouting match between Solomon McLemore and his girlfriend prompted a bystander to dial 911. When the officers arrived and repeatedly demanded to be let in, the yelling stopped though no one answered the door. After 15 minutes and still no response, police heard glass shattering and, suspecting domestic violence, began forcing their way inside. As the officers broke down the door, McLemore told police that they were infringing on his rights and that they needed a warrant. Officers also heard McLemore tell his girlfriend to tell police that she was ok.

Once inside, police determined that the woman was not injured and promptly threw McLemore in handcuffs. But McLemore wasn’t charged for domestic violence. Instead, police arrested McLemore for “obstructing a law enforcement officer,” which involves “willfully hinder[ing], delay[ing], or obstruct[ing] any law enforcement officer in the discharge of his or her official powers or duties.” For refusing to open his door to police, McLemore was convicted for obstruction and sentenced to 20 days of house arrest.
 

solus

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Why since9 don’t you tell the rest of the story why the WA SC upheld the conviction...the court deadlocked 4/4!

From your cite:
“We in the lead opinion would hold the city presented insufficient evidence to sustain [Solomon] McLemore’s conviction and remand to the trial court for further proceedings consistent with this opinion. However, we recognize this opinion has garnered only four signatures. ‘Therefore, there being no majority for the reversal of the judgment of the trial court, it necessarily stands affirmed, and the order of this court is that the judgment appealed from be and it is hereby affirmed.’”

Deadlock’d might indicate Mr. McLemore’s legal team was perhaps not as aggressive in their pursuit of justice or pussyfooted to be able to appear in front of the USSC in the future!
 

eye95

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Jan 6, 2010
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Fairborn, Ohio, USA
The issue was not one of whether the police had the authority to forcefully enter the home. Every court so far says that they did. They reasonably believed that someone was in danger of violence. In many jurisdictions, this situation is called “exigent circumstances” and allows officers to act to protect people they reasonably believe to be in danger.

The sole question was whether not opening the door, thereby forcing the officers to break it down to gain entry, was obstruction of justice. Do we have an obligation to actively assist officers in doing what the law allows them to do?

I would say no.
 

solus

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here nc
The issue was not one of whether the police had the authority to forcefully enter the home. Every court so far says that they did. They reasonably believed that someone was in danger of violence. In many jurisdictions, this situation is called “exigent circumstances” and allows officers to act to protect people they reasonably believe to be in danger.

The sole question was whether not opening the door, thereby forcing the officers to break it down to gain entry, was obstruction of justice. Do we have an obligation to actively assist officers in doing what the law allows them to do?

I would say no.
Exigent circumstances, really eye95, let’s see
  • Exigent circumstances - "circumstances that would cause a reasonable person to believe that entry (or other relevant prompt action) was necessary to prevent physical harm to the officers or other persons, the destruction of relevant evidence, the escape of the suspect, or some other consequence improperly frustrating legitimate law enforcement efforts."
What the WASC plaintiffs case the court reviewed, quote:

At around 2 a.m., two Shoreline police officers responded to a report of a loud argument coming from Solomon McLemore’s apartment.

When they arrived, the officers heard a woman yelling, “you can’t leave me out here” and “I’m going to call the police.” The officers could tell that the yelling was coming from a second floor balcony, but could not see what was happening on the balcony.

The officers went to the door of the apartment and began knocking, ringing the doorbell, and announcing their presence. They later testified they were concerned that the woman yelling from the balcony might be hurt.

When the officers knocked, the arguing abruptly stopped, but the officers continued knocking, ringing, announcing their presence, and addressing the apartment’s occupants through a patrol vehicle’s public address system. [added, really from the street at 2am]

After about twenty minutes, the officers twice heard the sound of glass breaking and called the Shoreline Fire Department to request help breaching the apartment door.

As the officers attempted forcible entry, McLemore began speaking with them through the closed door. McLemore told the officers that he did not have to let them in, that they were violating his civil rights, and that they needed a search warrant.

At some point, the officers heard McLemore tell the woman inside to let the officers know that she was all right, which the woman did by calling to them from inside the apartment.

When the officers finally broke through the door, they immediately arrested McLemore for obstruction. Unquote

Now eye95, how does your statement of these LEs’ actions fall under “Exigent circumstances” when, 20 minutes AFTER arriving the nice LEs decided to call the FD to facilitate entry into the apt how does the even begin to fall under the criteria of the legal definition of “prompt”?

Perhaps to Monday quarterback this scenario ~ why wasn’t a charge of DV leveled?
 

color of law

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Ghost1958

Regular Member
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Nov 5, 2015
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Location
Kentucky
The title of the article "SUPREME COURT RULING: Police Have No Duty To Protect The General Public" is not true. That is the duty of the police; to protect the general public as a whole. The police have no duty to protect an individual.
Yep. Dirty little secret is being a cop is just another job. Officer can quit whenever he wants.
Lot of individuals to choose from and can't be everywhere.

We've seen how the "protect" the general public during Katrina, either tucked tail or went on looting and gun grabbing sprees, Boston bombing, forced homeowners out of their homes at gun point for no legal reason, and a host of others.
 

FreedomVA

Regular Member
Joined
Jul 25, 2017
Messages
591
Location
FreedomVA
So let me get this correct, Cops:

  1. Gets a guaranteed paycheck from taxpayer's money?
  2. Paid sick leaves and Tropical paradise Paid vacation from taxpayer's?
  3. They can choose who and when to protect?
  4. Gets immunity for justified Murder? (doesn't gang members do that too?)
  5. The whole Justice dept. got their backs? (doesn't gang members do that too?)
  6. Get free coffee donuts at local convey stores?
  7. Can sit @ Kirspy Kreme @ 5pm- 8pm to get HOT donuts only?
  8. Have total authority to destroy another person life when they feel like it?
  9. Violate our rights whenever they want?
  10. Play Russian Roulette?
Hot Dangggggg Aunt Jamama Syrup.......i did not know and knowing is half the battle, i guess.

If their only job is to investigate and arrest after the fact, then why have all them military surplus in stock pile for?
 

FreedomVA

Regular Member
Joined
Jul 25, 2017
Messages
591
Location
FreedomVA
The title of the article "SUPREME COURT RULING: Police Have No Duty To Protect The General Public" is not true. That is the duty of the police; to protect the general public as a whole. The police have no duty to protect an individual.
some more backward azz thinking again
 

2a4all

Regular Member
Joined
Jul 1, 2008
Messages
1,826
Location
Newport News, Virginia, USA
Exigent circumstances - "circumstances that would cause a reasonable person to believe that entry..."

I think that the officers were acting on the belief that entry was required to aid someone in distress, which would be exigent circumstances. That it may have take them several minutes to accomplish such entry doesn't negate the necessity.

Was there enough evidence to charge domestic violence? Who had the last say on which charges would be pursued in court?
 

Ghost1958

Regular Member
Joined
Nov 5, 2015
Messages
1,255
Location
Kentucky
Exigent circumstances - "circumstances that would cause a reasonable person to believe that entry..."

I think that the officers were acting on the belief that entry was required to aid someone in distress, which would be exigent circumstances. That it may have take them several minutes to accomplish such entry doesn't negate the necessity.

Was there enough evidence to charge domestic violence? Who had the last say on which charges would be pursued in court?
When both parties verbally told them they were safe that ended the officers leeway to enter.

They should have been gone long before they "heard glass break".Assuming they did.
 

eye95

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Jan 6, 2010
Messages
13,525
Location
Fairborn, Ohio, USA
Exigent circumstances - "circumstances that would cause a reasonable person to believe that entry..."

I think that the officers were acting on the belief that entry was required to aid someone in distress, which would be exigent circumstances. That it may have take them several minutes to accomplish such entry doesn't negate the necessity.

Was there enough evidence to charge domestic violence? Who had the last say on which charges would be pursued in court?
The officers said they found no evidence of domestic abuse. The defendant was not charged with anything other than obstruction, and that charge was only a result of the defendant not opening the door on demand.

The officers said that they demanded entry, and subsequently broke down the door, after hearing some glass breaking. Absent evidence that they were lying on that point, then the 911 call, combined with the sound of glass breaking, would make a reasonable person believe that an assault was taking place.

I still see no obstruction, though.
 
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