Reminder To The Police: The Fourth Amendment Applies to Back Yards, Too

Written by K. Walker on December 13, 2017

by Mike Martin
Clash Daily Contributor

Most law abiding citizens will never have a weapon pulled upon them by the police. I had the misfortune of a policeman pulling his service weapon on me at about 2:20-to 2:30 on Friday A.M. the day after Thanksgiving.

To be fair I will present the police side first. A vehicle hit a deer in the road by the front of my house (I believe a police vehicle was involved, but don’t know for sure. Part of my driveway is joined with a right of way access road to a dog care center and another woman who lives down the dirt road. The reason I believe that it was a police car that “hit” the deer was that there were at least four police cars that were parked in the right of way, or in the road in the front of my house.)

I heard a commotion at the sliding glass doors in the back of my house in my fenced in back yard. I took up my Pistol and parted the curtains to the back sliding doors with the weapon clearly visible to give pause to potential thieves who may have been attempting to carry off my property from storage. Low and behold, the intruders were wearing dark police uniforms (or seemed to be dark in the lack of light) but one of them put his hand on his badge to highlight his apparent status as a police officer. At the same time, he said something like “Police”. I told him to come to the front door and talk with me. He asked me to put my gun down. I complied and when he knocked on my front door I asked him what they were doing.

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A voice to the side said where is your weapon (gun?). The policeman who knocked on my door said that a deer was hit and they followed it into my backyard. The hidden officer asked again where is your gun. I said put away as I stuck my head out the door, only to see that the other officer already had his gun drawn (albeit it by his side pointing down).

This certainly got my blood to running with some adrenaline. I told them them that they had violated by sixth amendment rights by entering my back yard without a warrant. In my defense I was highly excited about a handgun being pulled on me, on my worn property, else I would have said fourth amendment. The Officer who knocked on my door correctly pointed out that I meant fourth amendment, not sixth, but incorrectly stated that my back yard was not protected by my fourth amendment rights to be safe from warrantless searches.

The courts have held that a person my reasonably expect privacy on their property if measures have been taken to enforce that expectation ( http://caselaw.findlaw.com/tx-court-of-criminal-appeals/1628577.html ) So my back yard was fenced in, with a normally closed gate ( although I don’t remember checking it that night ). In any event at least one of the officers was in the woods in my backyard without a warrant.

If the police had apologized, that probably would have been the end of it. Instead they stated that they didn’t need a warrant to search my back yard which the courts have held must be determined on an individual basis, which would make me think that they would err on the side of caution and either obtain a warrant, or knock on my door asking permission which, given the reason for their request, would have been readily granted.

So to sum it up from my perspective, they violated my fourth amendment rights by searching my fenced-in, gated back yard hidden mostly from view by a large shrub line, without either my permission or a search warrant, and then had the audacity to draw a weapon when they responded to my request that they go to the front and give an explanation of their actions.

Now, I want it to be known that I support the police when they operate according to the Constitution. They do a difficult job under difficult circumstances. I do not support the police nor anyone else who would violate my constitutional rights. Since I’m not afraid of any of my Constitutional positions (I always send a copy to the Uvalde City Sheriff or Police Chief whatever his title may be). The policeman who knocked on my front door after the warrantless search was at all times polite, but may need a lesson on Constitutional law. Having a weapon drawn on me while I was in my own house will not soon be forgotten. In future interactions with the police on my property, uninvited, I may feel a need to remain armed.

As an afterthought, the police might want to consider that concealed carrier permit holders are at least ten times less likely to cause harm/damage than the police are – statistically speaking. I do not believe that an injured deer gives them the right to violate my fourth amendment rights; what next a squirrel?

Lord, I pray that you keep me and my family while we do our duty to protect your inspired Constitution from all enemies, foreign and domestic. In Christ’s name I pray.

photo credit: The Library of Congress Chicago, Illinois. In the waiting room of the Union Station (LOC) via photopin (license)

Mike Martin thanks you for the opportunity to express “different points of views”, and if you were to ask his family they would probably tell you that he’s as different as they come….

Share if you agree the Constitution applies to Law Enforcement as well as everybody else.

ClashDaily's Associate Editor since August 2016. Self-described political junkie, anti-Third Wave Feminist, and a nightmare to the 'intersectional' crowd. Mrs. Walker has taken a stand against 'white privilege' education in public schools. She's also an amateur Playwright, occasional Drama teacher, and staunch defender of the Oxford comma. Follow her humble musings on Twitter: @TheMrsKnowItAll

 

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