Supreme Court Dismisses Lawsuit in Mistaken Search

Supreme Court Dismisses Lawsuit in Mistaken Search
Posted by CN Staff on May 22, 2007 at 16:37:50 PT
By David G. Savage
Source: Baltimore Sun
Washington, DC -- Mistakes sometimes happen, the Supreme Court said yesterday, and threw out a lawsuit brought by a white couple in Southern California who were rousted from bed and held naked at gunpoint by deputies looking for several black suspects.The search of Max Rettele and his girlfriend, Judy Sadler, in their bedroom might have been an error, the justices said, but it did not violate their rights under the Fourth Amendment, which protects against "unreasonable searches and seizures."
Police obtain search warrants based on probable evidence, not "absolute certainty," the court said in an unsigned opinion. "Valid warrants will issue to search the innocent, and people like Rettele and Sander unfortunately bear the cost."In December 2001, Los Angeles County sheriffs were looking for four black suspects in an identity-theft scheme. One of them was known to have a gun. When the deputies set out to raid their home in Lancaster, about 50 miles north of Los Angeles, they did not know the suspects had moved out three months earlier. Rettele had bought the home in September and lived there with Sadler and her 17-year old son.At 7 a.m., seven deputies with guns drawn came to the door and were let in by the teenager.In the bedroom, they ordered Rettele and Sadler to get up and to show their hands. The couple protested they were not wearing clothes, but the officers insisted they stand naked next to the bed for a minute or two.After a few minutes, the deputies admitted they had made a mistake, apologized and left.Rettele, a civilian employee of the Defense Department, and Sadler, a real estate manager, sued the police, contending the search was an unreasonable invasion of their privacy.A federal judge in Los Angeles ruled for the police and rejected their claim, but the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals revived it in a 2-1 decision and said a jury should decide whether police violated the couple's rights.Los Angeles County lawyers appealed to the Supreme Court, arguing that deputies should not be subject to suits for carrying out a lawful search of a home.Without bothering to hear arguments, the justices agreed and ruled for the deputies.David G. Savage writes for the Los Angeles Times.Source: Baltimore Sun (MD)Author:  David G. SavagePublished: May 22, 2007Copyright: 2007 The Baltimore SunContact: letters baltsun.comWebsite: Justice Archives
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Comment #12 posted by museman on May 24, 2007 at 11:15:15 PT
don't look now, but...
"Right about the time we decide we have to leave, that's when they'll lock the borders down."For some of us, that option disappeared the moment that 'felony possession of marijuana' went into our record. Until recently we could go to mexico (still can if you don't want to come back.) Of course I've never had enough money to be let into Canada legally, so I haven't really ever had that option either. Now because I cannot get a paasport (marijuana) I cannot leave period.Fascist America is in full bloom. Don't be fooled into thinking that because we can still express our feelings liberally that there is some kind of guarantee -the constitution is under the control and interpretation of lawyers and their power rich constituents, and at any time the powers could 911 us in many creative ways. When you have control over all the resources, as well as the minions of the state you can pretty much do what you want with impunity. The evidence is in our faces. Denial is a river that americans travel on every day. They pay to have the 'privilege' to be on the boat, and should you have the temerity to attempt to row your own boat, out come the big guns to sink your effort as quickly as possible, before others get the idea.
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Comment #11 posted by museman on May 24, 2007 at 10:57:39 PT
That precedent cannot be (though logic and common sense might say otherwise) applied to the drug war. Until medical marijuana there has been no legal defence for any kind of schedule drug. Money will buy freedom however, in fact it's the only way in America to exercize free will without major sacrifice. Once upon a time we had a 'supreme court' not populated by Bush excreted buttmuffins. Some inroads were made by people who stuck to their guns -with lawyers, but not necessarily the high dollar ones- but not too many stuck to their guns. Most people opt for 'probation' and 'drug diversion.'So hardly any significant cases ever get to the supreme court.My last case was pretty much booted because I made it clear I could handle the long ardurous legal trek to the supreme court, and my case had no real legal holes except one. The DA, Sheriff, and Judge did not want that. In fact I am sure that they are instructed to 'do anything necessary' to keep cannabis cases out of the supreme court, Like they are taught to use peoples ignorance of their rights to plow them under (literally and figuratively.)Here's something to think about. If you are right, and stand on the truth, eventually you will win, and depending on lawyers to do it for you is a mistake, because most of them belong to the same club that is trying to stop your freedom.But if you aren't actually charged with a crime, you can't challenge the jurisprudence of the cops, (At least not in the WOD.) they've been given a license, and they protect their own. 
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Comment #10 posted by Hope on May 24, 2007 at 10:07:55 PT
Comment 7
That's kind of scary, isn't it?How much more "Soviet" do we have to get, ...before they manage to cause a complete collapse, "Soviet" style ?
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Comment #9 posted by runderwo on May 24, 2007 at 09:06:38 PT
There is precedent for suing in response to a poorly supported search.Unfortunately one must be a company and hire expensive lawyers in order to fight it."On March 1, 1990, SJG's offices in Austin, Texas were raided by the U.S. Secret Service. The manuscript for GURPS Cyberpunk was confiscated although this was merely coincidence and not the actual purpose of the raid at all. The raid is often thought to have been related to Operation Sundevil, a nationwide investigation of computer crime; however, Sundevil was based in Arizona and the Steve Jackson Raid was coordinated out of Chicago. More than three years later, a federal court awarded damages of $50,000 and attorneys' fees of $250,000 (amounts in USD) to SJ Games, ruling that the raid had been carelessly executed, illegal, and completely unjustified."
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Comment #8 posted by OverwhelmSam on May 23, 2007 at 10:59:58 PT
The Courts
Our courts have become corrupt and worthless to the point that they should be on the payroll of the police department. The only way to instruct the court is by passing laws allowing for law suits against law enforcement for incompetence.Note: I simple search of county records would have told police that the suspects no longer owned the house. And these are the guys in charge of law enforcement? God save us.
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Comment #7 posted by Sam Adams on May 23, 2007 at 08:56:21 PT
Very lucky
This family is VERY lucky that none of them were killed, and that none of their pets were killed. How much worse does it have to get before we move to Canada? Right about the time we decide we have to leave, that's when they'll lock the borders down.
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Comment #6 posted by museman on May 23, 2007 at 08:19:17 PT
no accountability
"Los Angeles County lawyers appealed to the Supreme Court, arguing that deputies should not be subject to suits for carrying out a lawful search of a home"Then my dear political pirahnna, just WHO should be subject? If the people cannot excersize their constituional right to levy grievances against their errant government, then the only thing left is to get rid of the government. Voting doesn't work, not really. The initiatives that the people pass are now subject to over-rule, and veto by the powers that be, on any whim they can scrape up.Sue the cops? That is laughable. I'm afraid this couple got a rude awakening twice, once by the cops, and twice by the unfair, imbalanced, non-justice-oriented, money bagged system that looks after it's own.As far as I am concerned, when all those dogs of the rich get what's coming to them, I'm not sure I won't go over to them as they lie suffering in the consequences of their denial of their own humanity, and smile largely in their faces. No need for mercy, none is required for the merciless.
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Comment #5 posted by dongenero on May 23, 2007 at 08:05:13 PT
Mistaken search...
The suspects had moved out 3 months earlier......THREE MONTHS?!!!!Stellar investigative work there LAPD!!! Gee, good luck.How the courts would not see that as a major screw up is beyond me.
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Comment #4 posted by FoM on May 22, 2007 at 19:27:55 PT
He said a lot of good things. He has become very diplomatic. He might run but he is doing a good job with global climate change. Being president would handicap him I believe. If it looks like Mrs. Clinton is going to win the nomination I sure hope he runs.
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Comment #3 posted by Dankhank on May 22, 2007 at 19:20:14 PT
Al ....
had to leave at :20 after the hour, he say anything good?
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Comment #2 posted by FoM on May 22, 2007 at 17:55:44 PT
Thanks! I am waiting anxiously to see what he has to say.
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Comment #1 posted by Dankhank on May 22, 2007 at 17:51:42 PT
Al Gore
larry King Live ... now ...
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