Does the Constitution Protect Your Home Against a SWAT Takeover? Here’s What Lawyers Told Us

by Elizabeth Kreft, The Blaze  |  published on February 7, 2014
  • In light of recent cases where SWAT has entered people’s homes, the question is: Does such a practice violate the Third Amendment, which prohibits forced quartering of soldiers?
  • Constitutional lawyers tell TheBlaze it’s a hard case to prove, especially because local law enforcement are not considered “soldiers”
  • But at least one lawyer says it may actually show officers are violating the Fourth Amendment, which protects “the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures”
  • “(If) law enforcement knocked on the door and asked for the homeowner’s permission to use his home to gain a ‘tactical advantage’ only to be rebuffed, and then forcibly entering and arresting the homeowner, I would argue that such conduct is a clear violation of the Fourth Amendment and that any assertion of exigent circumstances by the state is dubious at best”

Florida homeowner Deborah Franz was outraged after she said a SWAT team used her home to gain a tactical advantage — without her permission and without notifying her — during a six-hour standoff with her neighbor this weekend.

It’s not a new phenomenon: In 2011, a SWAT team allegedly broke down Anthony Mitchell’s front door with a battering ram in Henderson, Nev., during a similar neighborhood-wide lockdown after Mitchell refused to allow his home be used for police purposes in a domestic violence response. Mitchell said the team violently entered his home, fired pepper spray pellets at him and his dog, then arrested him for obstruction of justice.

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