Thursday, February 16, 2006

Appeals Court Upholds Jail Sentence

VA Lawyer’s Weekly reports the VA Appeals Court upheld the 27 month jail sentence for parents providing alcohol at underage party in Albemarle.

“Writing for the majority, Judge Humphreys said in Robinson v. Commonwealth (VLW 006-7-033) that private property owners generally are held to have given implied consent "to have members of the general public intrude upon certain areas of their property. . . . Thus, areas of the curtilage that a visitor could reasonably be expected to cross when approaching the front door—for example, the driveway, front sidewalk and front porch—are generally exempted from Fourth Amendment protection."…Because Cox was in that area when he saw the teenagers with the beer bottles, no warrant was required, even if his intent was to investigate the underage drinking rather than to go to the front door under what has been called the "knock-and-talk" exception to the Fourth Amendment. As for the argument that a search warrant was required once Cox saw the teenagers, their flight and the possibility that they would drive after having consumed alcohol provided the exigent circumstances that obviated the need for such a warrant”.

There were two judges who dissented since the officer was there to investigate not just to knock and talk the right to knock and talk “cannot be extended to make a general investigation based on reasonable suspicion…Otherwise, the exception would eviscerate Fourth Amendment protections”.

No one cares about Fourth Amendment protections anymore, how quaint of the dissenting judges to bring it up.

1 comment:

cville_libertarian said...

Not everyone cares so little.

So, my question is: what does it take to establish curtilege anymore? An 8ft. privacy fence? It may be time to build one as close to the property line as one can get. Of course, we'll then learn that's invalid, since it's further away from the house than may be expected.

I guess we do live in the home of the 4th Circuit - no reason to expect the State Courts to be particularly defensive of our rights. The police state is here.