Hi Neighbor- I Does this Warrant a Visit?

An interesting case was decided by the US Supreme Court recently. (Read: Carroll v. Carman ).  Apparently, at least in Pennsylvania, a police officer, if he is approaching a house, without a warrant, to do a “knock and talk” he must do so at the front door.   Don’t get me wrong I will be the first to stand up and defend individual rights and freedoms in our Country.  But in this case the officer approached and knocked on the Back Door.  Apparently a “no – no” without a warrant in PA.

How many of us approach a house and go to a door in the garage (because the garage door is open), because it appears to be the “door of main use” by the occupants.  But we are not “Arms” of the State.  We are not in a position to violate someones civil rights by knocking on this side door in garage (or a back door as a police officer may).   We are probably just friendly neighbors.  Maybe even bringing some pie or cookies.

Of course Police Officers have their jobs to do that does not involve “social calls.   But this ruling strikes me as odd to say the least.  Apparently in PA is also a legal right to have equal access to escape an approaching Police Officer by restricting his or her approach to the house without a warrant.

Given this logic maybe the State Legislature can simply pass a law requiring all new construction only have one entrance/exit – the front door.  Seems like a simple work around.  If the occupant still needs Constitutional protection for escape they have would have windows I presume.  Oh…I forgot the local Fire Departments may have some fire codes problems with this.  What to do …. What to do….

Apparently warrants in every case are the ONLY answer…..


(c) Copyright.  Ronald R. Searl 2014

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