Friday, June 16, 2006

The Cops Now Have Same Rights As Your Mother

In a discouraging yet not unexpected move this week, the Supreme Court turned back a century of homeowner privacy rights when they decided that the cops no longer need to knock and announce themselves when executing a warrant. Signaling that he is in fact the lap dog we all knew he’d be, robe rookie Alito cast the deciding vote that basically now gives cops the same rights your mother had when you still lived at home. Closed door or not, they’re coming in. Only this time, probably not with your laundry.

Now, of course the defendant in the case was caught with a stash that could tide Kate Moss over for at least a month. But knock-and-announce has been the rule for ages and the defendant is entitled to have his Hefty bag of blow excluded from trial if the cops violated that rule. The defendants are never saints in these cases, but that’s the way it goes. Unwilling to let Booker T walk though (the defendant’s real name, I swear), the Court held that upholding the knock-and-announce just wasn’t worth the risk of letting the bad guys go free. But what is most fascinating about the court’s opinion is that once again certain Justices display just how hideously out of touch they are with modern times. Explaining why he voted to toss the rule (which traditionally meant cops must wait 15 to 20 seconds before entering), Justice Scalia stated that it wouldn’t have mattered had the cops bothered to knock and announce because – and this is priceless – the defendant wouldn’t have had time to do anything about the drugs anyway. What??? Has he never seen an episode of Cops? Trust me, these guys can haul ass when the cops show up on the scene. And I’m betting that 3/4 of that bag would have been flushed and on its way to the Pacific Ocean by the time Barney Fife even made it past the welcome mat. I mean, let’s give these guys at least a sporting chance.

And, even better, Scalia claimed that the knock rule is essentially irrelevant because it only protects "the right not to be intruded upon in one's nightclothes." Yeah, well I don’t know about Grandpa Scalia’s social life, but not all of us tuck in around 9 after a little Nick at Nite. Some of us would rather not have the cops bust in on our weekly meth-fueled baby oil wrestling match with a couple of midgets and barn animals.

Nightclothes, indeed. Buy a better lock this weekend, people. Because the Supreme Court just sent you to your room.


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