The responses to the now infamous “nurse incident” last week have been near universal in their condemnation of the police officer’s actions.
From pundits on the left and the right. To the hospital staff. To even the very police department responsible for the incident.
But the law of the internet is that someone, somewhere, must ALWAYS be a contrarian, no matter how douchetastic it might be.
Luckily, Gregg Re volunteered for the role, claiming the nurse “got what was coming to her” in a screed he penned at the Daily Caller.
Police simply do not need a warrant if exigent circumstances justify an urgent search and seizure of evidence. The imminent loss of blood evidence, which would be useful in a drunk-driving case, qualifies as a potentially exigent circumstance.
He then goes on to lay out a circumstance that he somehow believes is comparable to make his point.
Let’s say you’re watching an unlikely UCLA comeback in the peace and quiet of your own home on the day before Labor Day, when suddenly your neighbor bursts through your front door with a pile of drugs in his hands. You hear police sirens in the background, and your neighbor says, “They’re coming for me!”
As your neighbor busies himself by tossing his cocaine into your toilet, the doorbell rings, and the police request to come inside. They’ve seen your neighbor running into your house with what they suspect are drugs.
“A-ha,” you say. “I have a policy. No police in my house without my consent, or a warrant, or unless I’m under arrest.”
The police would be justified in pushing you aside – even breaking your door down if necessary – to get to your bathroom. As long as a reasonable person would conclude that evidence is in imminent risk of destruction, the police can enter your home for the limited purpose of preventing that destruction.
If you actively impeded their access to the bathroom, you would likely find yourself at least temporarily detained.
Under Re’s rationale, the police may always use whatever force they want as long as they have probable cause or actionable suspicion of some sort. True enough. So what constitutes probable cause or actionable suspicion? One is left to believe Re’s conclusion is “whatever the cops want.” Because hey, they’ve got the advantage of legal force.
For his ridiculously incomparable hypothetical to actually be comparable depends on the idea that citizens have no rights as long as a police officer THINKS he’s got a good reason to act without a warrant. In which case, why the hell have warrants in the first place?
Judge: “Officer, did you go into the house without a warrant?”
Judge: “Did you find anything actionable inside?”
Judge: “What made you decide there was something urgent enough that you could legally act without a warrant?”
Judge: “Case closed.”
I’m terrified that the guy that wrote this nonsense practices law, almost as much as I’m terrified that cops like Payne exist.
The truth is it’s very simple. The cops aren’t always right. The person defying a cop is not always wrong. And all lawyers are scum.