The FBI is closing on a high value suspect's location. Due to human error, they make entry into the wrong house. After detaining the couple living there they search the house and find a meth lab. Should the "innocent" people face charges?
Hey man, everything happens for a reason...sucks that they busted the wrong place, but once it is seen, it can't be unseen. But usually the way that works out is they get the local PD to step in and file. It's still legal.
I have changed my vote and now have an official opinion. If a judge determines that the officers acted in good faith that the search was lawful, then charges should be filed. The use of the Good Faith Clause will no doubt be exploited, but that...
Can be said for any law. This exception to the Fruit of the Poisonous Tree Doctrine will ultimately cause far more good than harm done. Because of that, I fully support it. Also, side note; the person who made the error still faces reprimand.
Sounds like a plan. I think only good can come from it. No innocent person would ever be convicted because you have to have been doing something criminal in the first place. Therefore no harm (except to personal liberties) can be done.
Under current law (good faith rulings) that's a good search. Fry 'em. I have ZERO pity for meth manufactures.
Sounds like you're familiar with the Fruit of the Poisonous Tree doctrine as well as the Good Faith clause...
I've been debating this for hours. I finally came to a decision and I feel it is fully justifiable. Are you law enforcement?
If you are, thank you for what you do! :-) Stay safe!
Yes. I'm a Police Officer working patrol with the adjunct duties of Senior Evidence Technician.
They allowed entry, so I think you would be hard pressed to argue unlawful search. They should be charged & then let the lawyers & judges hash it out.
By entry, I mean a breech and clear. A forcible entry if you will...
No, they shouldn't face charges. However, if local cops suddenly got real suspicious of them for some reason, that would be both reasonable and legal.
I hate to tell you this, but it's already legal. See Rlands and my convo below.
I didn't say it wasn't, only that it shouldn't be, and that my solution was.
They probably should. But by current laws, I don't think they would be held responsible...
Actually, that is current law. It's called the "in good faith" clause.
The clause is from the "Fruit of the Poisonous Tree" Doctrine. It was coined by Justice Felix Frankfurter in Nardone v United States.
But I thought any evidence found without a warrant was unusable and must be thrown out of the case? Or does the in good faith clause override that?
If officers acting on good faith that they have the right house find the lab, they can have charged filed. Now if the officers knew they had the wrong house and went in anyway, then no, they would not be able to.
Ok. Got it. It seems very subjective and hard to ascertain whether or not they knowingly invaded the wrong house, but I can understand it.
It is. And it's still up to a judge whether or not to bring the Good Faith Doctrine int play at the indictment.
I'm on the fence on this one. The innocent couple was not apart of the FBI operation and the meth lab was not apart of what they were searching for... But it's illegal nonetheless...
But the FBI shouldn't have been there in the first place.
However, they officers were acting on good faith that they were supposed to be there. That is the catch all. See Rlands and my convo above.
Hmmm. I can't say I agree with that law.
Now let me take this a step further. Instead of a meth lab, say the FBI finds 3 children with obvious sexual abuse?
Hmmm. That complicates things. I'm gunna have to say this issue needs to be taken care of, because someone is being harmed because of someone else. Nobody is harmed by meth except those who take it.
Well when it comes to meth, the byproduct is a highly volatile and highly explosive substance. It takes 2 weeks for a hazmat crew to clean up a meth lab. (I'm playing devils advocate obviously. I don't want to agree with this law...).
Kate, if you can /honestly/ say you don't believe meth hurts anyone, /please/ stop drinking the cool aide, step back, and give the situation a new, open minded look. I can list /so/ many ways it hurts /you/...
Well, that I didn't know. I'm not an expert in meth labs, thankfully. :P Honestly, I should have thought about that because I've heard of them blowing up and what not.
Jonfrei, meth is a drug. Drugs harm those who take it. I don't care what they put into their bodies. Apparently, meth labs are harmful to others though.
Yes, I could care less that they hurt themselves. The ammonia & other chemicals they put into our environment - now I care - a lot. The millions of $$s of our tax $$s they hijack for hazmat cleanup - now I care - meth is evil in so many ways...
That doesn't even begin to address the peripheral violence or collateral damage caused by the culture of illicit drug manufacture & sales. Way too many innocents in the crossfire there.