Monday, March 19, 2018

That's NOT pocket change

Little piggies is good to eat
Do you know how much it costs to have a case be appealed in a federal court of appeal?  

In accordance with 28 U.S.C. § 1913, that cost is $500.  Not a lot but when you don't have it, it's a whole lot of what you don't have.

Now, with all that it costs to take a case to appeal, imagine, if you will, you are sitting in your house, door closed, and the police knock on your front door.  Little, piggie, little piggie, let me come in they shout.  

You say, "No dice, go away."  Your roommate, who is outside the house, tells the police that they can go in.  

You, again, insist that no, the police can't come in.  Police ignore you, they break a window to reach the inside lock, open the door, taser you to the floor and start to search for contraband inside your house.

Sound like fun?  Well, Ryan Bonivert didn't and after the police did all that to him, he filed a case against the City of Clarkston, the County of Asotin and the police who broke down his locked door.  

The case turned on whether the statement by the roommate that the police could enter was sufficient to overrule the objection of the other resident.  The lower court said yes and granted the defendant's summary judgement motion.

Upset that he lost, Mr. Bonivert decided to appeal his case (Ryan Bonivert v. City of Clarkston, Case Number: 15-35292) and filed a 42 USC § 1983 (civil rights action) based on the fact that the police violated his 4th Amendment rights (what with the tasering and breaking of his front door, etc). 

What is particularly annoying about this case is that it took a whole bunch of money for someone to write:
An open door says, 'come in,' the poet Carl Sandburg once wrote.  If a door is open and you want it open, why shut it?  The corollary, of course, is that a locked door says "stay out," and a shut door certainly does not say, "come in"...we hold [therefore] that the officers [were] not entitled to qualified immunity...Simply put, a reasonable officer would have understood that no means no.
WOW, is that deep, or what?  No means no.  If you tell the police NOT to come into your house and you're not a parroled felon OR there are no weapons present OR there is no apparent emergency to require a warrantless entry, then stay the #$@#$!@$ out of my house!  

Of course, it took how many thousands of dollars and months/years to reach that decision?!

Sad that the trial court isn't able to grasp that when someone says STAY OUT OF MY HOUSE, that that does not mean police should be permitted to do whatever they want.  

I mean, are these trial court judges prohibited from reading established case law?  Do they not have clerks telling them what the law is?  Why in blazes did this case have to be taken up on appeal?!?

I suspect the moral to this story is keep your doors locked and when the big, bad wolf comes knocking on your door, stand your ground and don't open it for anything!