February 21, 2012 – The U.S. Supreme Court ruled today that a homeowner could not sue the police who searched her home based on a faulty warrant.
In Messerschmidt v. Millender, the Court held that the warrant at issue was not so lacking in indicia of probable cause as to render it unreasonable. Chief Justice Roberts wrote the majority opinion, joined by 5 other justices.
The Court’s newest Justice, Sonia Sotomayor, issued a scathing dissent, joined by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Civil libertarians had hoped that the Messerschmidt case would finally help reign-in general rummaging for evidence, which is prohibited by the Fourth Amendment, by imposing monetary sanctions on police departments that don’t bother to train their cops. But the general trend continues. So long as the police bother to get a warrant, it’s probably going to be upheld, no matter how bad it is.