Some police must think that the rule of law doesn’t apply to them because of their position. As the L.A. Times reports, that’s what happened with one man in Northern California who had an officer enter his garage and arrest him for drunk driving.
In late 2016, Arthur Lange was on his way home in Sonoma County, California. Doing nothing out of the ordinary, he was simply driving along listening to loud music music . That loud music caught the attention of a California Highway Patrol officer who began to follow Lange. Right before Lange was going to turn in his driveway, the officer lit him up with his lights. Uninvited, the officer got out of his patrol car and walked into Lange’s garage to question him. He claimed he smelled alcohol on his breath and proceeded to issue Lange a citation for driving under the influence and for the loud music, which was described as “operating at excessive levels.” Bullshit right?
Lange thought so because he fought it. Lange said the cop entering his garage was a violation of his 4th Amendment rights. The 4th Amendment specifically protects against unreasonable searches and seizures, which is exactly what happened when the officer walked into the garage without a warrant. The CHP claimed that Lange failed to stop when the officer turned on his lights, and that was justification enough for the officer to enter the garage. Two judges, a California Superior Court, and an appeals judge agreed with this:
“Because the officer was in hot pursuit of a suspect whom he had probable cause to arrest, the officer’s warrantless entry into Lange’s driveway and garage were lawful.”
The US Supreme Court sided with Lange, ruling that the cop had violated his rights under the 4th Amendment with Justice Elena Kagan saying “The flight of a suspected misdemeanant does not always justify a warrantless entry into a home.”