A 2021 Supreme Court decision now impacts how the police may conduct certain searches of people’s homes. While police may enter homes with a warrant under specific conditions, Louisiana residents worried about illegal searches and seizures may find the high court’s decision to be reassuring.
A landmark decision from the Supreme Court
The Supreme Court reviews cases to determine if decisions from lower courts are constitutional. The high court overturned a 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decision that involved the police’s decision to confiscate a Rhode Island man’s firearms and take him to a hospital for a mental health evaluation after the man argued with his wife.
At the core of the case, the constitutional issue focused on the Fourth Amendment, the component of the Constitution that protects citizens from unlawful searches and seizures. The Supreme Court issued a unanimous decision with no justices dissenting.
The impact of the decision
The Supreme Court’s decision may have far-reaching implications since the decision, essentially, places restrictions on the police’s ability to enter a home without a warrant. Granted, in emergencies or when there is probable cause, the police may enter without a warrant.
Questions about probable cause come up time and time again in criminal defense cases. The police may claim probable cause, but the courts could rule in a defendant’s favor. For example, claiming a suspect “acted nervously” around police may not provide sufficient probable cause for a search and subsequent arrest.
A judge may disallow evidence obtained improperly or illegally. Without crucial evidence, proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt could be unlikely.
Defendants could confer with an attorney about the feasibility of filing a motion to suppress evidence. A lawyer may discuss other matters related to fighting the charges.