Dear Cherokee County: What. The. Hell? A Bill Authorizing Shooting Cops?

February 21, 2014 10:52 am

by Charlie · 46 comments

Yes, this is the third Sam Moore post this morning.  I do not apologize for that.

Rep. Moore has only been in the Georgia House of Representatives for a couple of weeks, but he seems to be making his mark.  Hopefully, his constituents in Cherokee County are paying attention.  Hopefully, they realize they have embarrassed themselves and this state.

Why another post?  Here’s today’s gift from Rep. Moore.  HB 1046.

“Crimes and offenses: person has the right to use deadly force against law enforcement officers who attempt violent entry into home without first knocking and announcing identity and purpose…”

That’s the title of his latest bill.  Because Sam Moore doesn’t think “liberty” is served enough by allowing child molesters into your children’s schools.  He wants you to be able to shoot police officers too.

Hopefully, the good people of Cherokee County will correct this mistake on May 20th.

{ 46 comments… read them below or add one }

Jessica S. February 21, 2014 at 11:00 am

Again, I think this legislation speaks to the fact that currently, a police officer can NOT identify themselves, enter your home and if you’re unaware that they are law enforcement officers, and you shoot and kill them, you’re now charged with murder of a law enforcement officer. I believe the bill seeks to level that playing field of someone unlawfully entering your home despite their occupation.

Right, wrong or indifferent…that’s where this is coming from.

seenbetrdayz February 21, 2014 at 11:05 am

Bingo. You can’t flip through a newspaper a day without finding some instance of ‘cop shoots dog during wrong-house search’, ‘child answers door with T.V. remote in hand and gets shot/killed’, ‘no-knock raid leaves mother dead and child in custody’. The problem is that those stories have become normal or glossed-over, and such legislation as this to combat the problem of militarism among the police force is a “mistake.”

The odds are certainly stacked against the civilian. There’s probably at least a 50/50 chance or better that if a cop shoots an innocent person at the wrong-address, it ends with a 30 day paid suspension and gets written off as a “mistake.” But if someone grabs their shotgun at O’Dark 30 to see who just knocked their doors off the hinges, and an officer ends up dead, it’s felony murder charge with an almost assured conviction.

Max Power February 21, 2014 at 12:21 pm

A big part of the problem is the cozy relationship between DAs and cops. Why do you think obstruction charges are so fiercely prosecuted no matter how shaky the facts are? Any DA who brings murder charges against someone acting in good faith during a no-knock raid should be drummed out of office.

seenbetrdayz February 21, 2014 at 2:53 pm

That, and heaps upon heaps of federal grant money to find a few weed plants growing in someone’s backyard. If you haven’t watched the video I posted in response to Jason’s comment below, it’s well worth a viewing, even if you only skim parts of it.

hpb1 February 21, 2014 at 11:08 am

I believe a similar law was recently passed in Indiana.

seenbetrdayz February 21, 2014 at 11:49 am

Yeah and you can’t go 5 feet without tripping over a dead cop! Oh wait . . . .

Doctor Strangelove February 21, 2014 at 11:21 am

Stop talking. Please. It makes all Republicans looks stupid.

seenbetrdayz February 21, 2014 at 12:08 pm

So do noun and verb disagreements.

Doctor Strangelove February 21, 2014 at 2:23 pm

Good news I’m neither a Republican nor stupid. Hasty in my pressing of “submit,” certainly.

Jason February 21, 2014 at 11:32 am

There’s background on this that should be explained. Unfortunately, Moore didn’t take the time to do so and, once again, allows himself to look like a crazy person, or maybe he is just a crazy person. All I’ll say is that you should look up the case of Cory Maye before jumping to conclusions here.

Edited for the Wikipedia link. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cory_Maye

griftdrift February 21, 2014 at 11:41 am

I’m going to go with “is”

seenbetrdayz February 21, 2014 at 12:03 pm

Radley Balko tells the story at the end of this vid:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MMRqOBQqsOo

Belial February 21, 2014 at 12:30 pm

Also see the case of Kathryn Johnson [ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kathryn_Johnston_shooting ].

I think it’s also worth while to point out that the verdict recently came back against the deputy who shot Jonathan Ayers:

http://www.ajc.com/news/news/jury-awards-widow-23-million-in-pastors-wrongful-d/ndW2M/

While it didn’t involve a home invasion, it’s a another case where the deceased was killed because he did not know his assailants were police officers.

bgsmallz February 21, 2014 at 3:00 pm

Cato Institute says 40 total bystander deaths since 1980 despite the fact that police are conducting upwards of 50,000 no knock raids each year. It’s certainly tragic that there is even 1 on the list…but…I’d be willing to wager large sums that no knock warrants have saved many, many, many more than 40 police officers’ lives over the past 34 years…

Sorry to bring up facts…I’ll let our resident ‘conservatives’ get back to talking about how they read about cops killing innocent people in the paper everyday.

Julianne Thompson February 21, 2014 at 11:51 am

Just a comment on the sex offender issue.

IMHO, it would be much better to address this problem by changing who is listed on the sex offender registry, not extending loitering rights to include pedophiles.

I think the real issue is the criteria of who is added to the sex offender registry. Right now, if a guy urinates behind some trees and someone sees him, because it is a public place, and he is reported, he can be arrested, convicted of indecent exposure and his name added to the sex offender registry. If a 16 year old boy has consensual sex with his 15 year old girlfriend, he can be convicted of rape (statutory), then he can be added to the sex offender registry.

To put these kinds of offenses in the same category with, and given the same stigma as pedophiles and violent rapists is just horrible. I would be fully supportive of changing the criteria of the registry, but giving loitering rights to convicted child molesters to be anywhere near a children’s facility? No way!

David Staples February 21, 2014 at 11:06 pm
GAgadfly February 21, 2014 at 12:03 pm

Thank you Jessica, for again, as with the loitering bill, correctly identifying that there is principled and philosophical justification/intent for the bills that Mr. Moore has introduced. I think he, along with a certain Representative from Cobb County, are motivated by a sincere belief in limited government. They have a single-minded determination to correct what they perceive as overreaches and encroachments of government power, no matter how big or small. Unfortunately, they also seem to have a complete lack of political sense or the ability to think strategically.

We have seen it many times through the last few GOP convention cycles, and now we have seen it the last two years in the legislature. The only route they seem to be able to contemplate to get to their destination is “damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!” While Mr. Moore has unwittingly committed harakiri, perhaps others that seek to follow can learn a few valuable lessons: That the shortest distance in politics is rarely if ever a straight line; and that winning a state house race makes you roughly half of one percent under the Gold Dome. There are other liberty-minded elected officials that seem to have figured this out, and that can be increasingly effective in making necessary reforms at the state level. Assuming the voters of Cherokee act appropriately in May, Mr. Moore can now serve as an example of what not to do.

Rick Day February 21, 2014 at 12:56 pm

I disagree. You are indicating that in order to initiate change or reform, you have to ass kiss the status quo for..ever?

This is everything wrong with politics…. Too much timidity.

Rick Day February 21, 2014 at 12:53 pm

I approve this bill. No one has a license to murder. Demilitarize LE and legalize drugs. Problem solved, concerns addressed.

How come you don’t like this guy, Charlie? This all makes sense, even if it can be twisted into some political jingoism about killing good ole cops.

seenbetrdayz February 21, 2014 at 3:07 pm

Always you with the simple and, for some reason, impossible solution.

Belial February 21, 2014 at 12:53 pm

I just reread the bill and it’s broader than I realized. It completely prevents the courts from issuing no knock warrants and allows the use of deadly force when someone invading your home does “announce themselves as law enforcement officers but fail to knock and announce their identity, authority, and purpose before entry”.

I have strong concerns about the increasing use of no knock warrants, especially when they are obtained on the word of a ‘confidential informant’ aka criminal. However, there are definitely some cases in which they are justified.

Inigo February 21, 2014 at 1:30 pm

A more effective response to the overuse of no-knock raids is to remove qualified immunity for the judges that issue them and the officers that execute them. I imagine they would be a lot more careful in that case.

Belial February 21, 2014 at 2:18 pm

Qualified immunity is given to police because they need to make split second decisions in dangerous situations.

Judges and prosecutors are given absolute immunity when making decisions from the comfort of their offices, because people with lawyers make up the rules.

That said, I do think removing some of the barriers to civil suits could be good. I’d also like to see a law that requires records to be kept of these raids, similar to the one in Maryland [ http://reason.com/archives/2010/03/01/45-swat-raids-per-day ].

David C February 21, 2014 at 3:23 pm

If you actually think these types or raids are a problem, write laws banning those types of raids, or making it harder to get warrants to carry them out, or making civil suits against raids that go bad easier to make so there’s a deterrent factor. There are plenty of ways you can change police procedure through legal means. Trying to authorize deadly force by civilians against police as the solution to any of this is the worst kind of libertarian militia nutbaggery. It’s not a real response. It’s a recipe for anarchy.

George Chidi February 21, 2014 at 1:15 pm

I think I’m with most of the folks chiming in here on these bills: the intent is sound. The execution is terrible.

The criteria judges use for granting a no-knock warrant appears to have widened. And that widening has occurred in tandem with increasing paramilitary capabilities of police. Both of these things are happening while violent crime itself has been falling for a generation, a fall happening with no correlation to heavy handed police activity.

We should be reining in police power, broadly. The evidence shows that we need less of it.

That said, individual situations vary. Parts of DeKalb do, objectively, have a crime problem right now. There are violent criminals for whom a no-knock makes sense. Moore’s bill was poorly crafted to attack the real problem — the criteria for issuing the warrants.

Similarly, the prowling statute isn’t the problem: it’s who ends up on the registry. Most people understand that someone caught whizzing in an alley or fooling around with their girlfriend in a car in a public park have no business being subject to the same monitoring rules as a compulsive pedophile.

But people get elected by telling parents that they’ll be tough on sex offenders. Reforming sex offender rules is politically difficult under the best of circumstances because the issue is incredibly easy to demagogue. “You’re for sex offenders!” someone shouts. “You support pedophiles!” And that shuts down the conversation. Now add legislation like Moore’s, which plainly emerged without meaningful consultation with stakeholders about the actual legal impact.

So. A for effort. F for execution. His intent is defensible. I bet he gets re-elected.

George Chidi February 21, 2014 at 3:01 pm

I’ve taken a closer look at the legislation, and his comments about it.

He’s a jackhole. Spoon this doofus out of the pudding.

dsean February 21, 2014 at 3:31 pm

What statements are you referring to? As for the legislation, neither seems as horrifying as PP is making it out to be. The anti-loitering bill has been horrifically sensationalized. It simply removes loitering as an offense in all instances, including for sex offenders. The “Bill Authorizing Shooting Cops” as your co-blogger titles it, is equally sensationalized. It eliminates no-knock warrants and clarifies that self-defense principles apply when police make a forceable entry into your home without announcing who they are. Are there times when no-knock warrants be justified? Maybe. But the bill in no way “authoriz[es] shooting cops.” If anything, it increases officer safety by eliminating at least one dangerous scenario that the police often create.

Eric The Younger February 21, 2014 at 4:14 pm

George, I’m totally stealing this phrase.

Anyone But Chip February 21, 2014 at 1:28 pm

I wonder if Sam Moore has the same “advisers” that Kelly Marlow has. Oh, I can already hear the cry of “He was just asking questions!!!!”

Tiberius February 21, 2014 at 2:13 pm

Someone find Mike Jacobs and take a photograph of his big, big smile since his primary opponent is such a strong, vocal supporter of this embarrassment.

Another terrifying result of a special election.

seenbetrdayz February 21, 2014 at 3:04 pm

I don’t know why people keep referring to this as an ‘embarrassment.’ As has been stated, Indiana passed the “Right to Resist” law in 2012 and I believe they still have people working law enforcement in that state. I’d like to see the stats on whether it impacted no-knock raids on non-violent offenders, though, but certainly it was no “open season” on officers.

Of course, when laws like this get passed and the world doesn’t end as folks like to predict, they just get awfully quiet. Rather than admit they were wrong, they go on to some other issue. Maybe it’s too embarrassing for them.

Bill Arp February 21, 2014 at 3:30 pm

I applaud Mr. Moore for this legislation. There is no reason ANYONE should come into your home without informing the legal owner of who they are. House Leadership is completely out of touch with Georgians if they think that it is acceptable (and constitutional) for a anyone to come on your property and walk into your house without fear of a reaction. Come on Ralston. What if this happened to your mom……next time someone brakes into your house make sure you ask them….excuse air would you like me to turn in the lights and show me your badge before I decide to shoot….

Raleigh February 21, 2014 at 4:43 pm

Kathryn Johnson, Cory Maye and many others . Is this the legacy of the War on Drugs? Really? Hell if you have left over pluming supplies you can be arrested for having bomb making material. Can’t something be done without having to provide junkets to Germany for legislators?
Maybe Mr. Moore is an ass but at least someone has tried to do something.

Andre February 21, 2014 at 4:55 pm

I think there has been a gross mischaracterization of House Bill 1049.

If y’all will take a quick trip down memory lane with me, in the aftermath of Kathryn Johnston’s murder by Atlanta Police Department officers utilizing a no-knock warrant, state Senator Vincent Fort introduced Senate Bill 259; a bill that restricted the use of no-knock warrants statewide.

S.B. 259 contained the following language on page 1, lines 19 – 23:

No search warrant shall be issued which contains a no-knock provision unless the affidavit or testimony supporting the warrant establishes by probable cause that if an officer were to knock and announce identity and purpose before entry, such act of knocking and announcing would likely pose a significant and imminent danger to human life or imminent danger of evidence being destroyed.

Senator Fort’s bill passed 44 – 8, but stalled out in the House.

The Atlanta NAACP supported Senator Fort’s bill.

Flash forward six years, so that we can examine House Bill 1049.

On page 2, line 48 of the bill, it reads, “No search warrant shall be issued which contains a no-knock provision.”

Why? Why is that language there?

Because in 2008, John Lewis and his girlfriend Heather James were held at gunpoint while Gwinnett County police officers entered their home unannounced with a no-knock warrant, searched their home for a suspected methamphetamine distributor, before realizing they had the wrong house and apologizing to Lewis before going to another home to arrest Efrain Pedruza.

It’s there because, in 2006, Atlanta police officers entered the home of Kathryn Johnston unannounced, with a no-knock warrant, shot and killed the 92-year-old lady, then had the audacity to claim she was running drugs out of her house.

I understand the reasoning behind House Bill 1046, because people need some sort of protection against overzealous cops who obtain no-knock warrants and just bust down doors without announcing themselves. I don’t need to face criminal charges or civil penalties for shooting someone who entered my home unannounced, especially if their excuse is, “Oops. We got the wrong house.”

bgsmallz February 21, 2014 at 5:10 pm

Here is a better question “such act of knocking and announcing would likely pose a significant and imminent danger to human life “…why is THAT language there?

It’s because police officers get shot at by bad people…a lot. There are 50,000 no-knock searches a year in this country. There have been 40 bystanders killed since 1980. The odds of anyone other than a police officer or a criminal getting killed in a no knock raid have proven out to be about 2,000,000 to 1. So, as long as we are making claims about folks needing protection from ‘overzealous cops’, let’s at least make sure that you and your crew own up to the real numbers on this issue (whose overzealous again?) instead of just copying and pasting the same 10 names in the comments of examples of how no-knocks can go bad.

myopicrhino February 21, 2014 at 5:45 pm

Check your math. 40 innocent deaths in 50,000 raids is 1 in 1,250.

bgsmallz February 21, 2014 at 6:11 pm

50,000 raids per year…40 deaths total. 50,000 x 34 years is 1,700,000…

but you’re right…my math is wrong. I took 1:2M instead of 40:2M…so the odds are more like 50,000 to 1.

Andre February 21, 2014 at 5:48 pm

With all due respect, bgsmallz, Justice Scalia, writing for the majority in Hudson v. Michigan, said, “The interests protected by the knock-and-announce rule include human life and limb (because an unannounced entry may provoke violence from a surprised resident), property (because citizens presumably would open the door upon an announcement, whereas a forcible entry may destroy it), and privacy and dignity of the sort that can be offended by a sudden entrance.”

Going back to lines 24 – 27 of House Bill 1046, it reads, “This paragraph shall be applicable even if the person or persons making or attempting to make a violent or tumultuous entry announce themselves as law enforcement officers but fail to knock and announce their identity, authority, and purpose before entry;

House Bill 1046 strengthens the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, because:

A.) It provides legal immunity to a surprised resident who may react violently to police officers just barging in unannounced. The whole purpose of knock-and-announce is to protect human life and limb (because an unannounced entry may provoke violence from a surprised resident), to protect property (because citizens presumably would open the door upon an announcement, whereas a forcible entry may destroy it), and to protect privacy and dignity of the sort that can be offended by a sudden entrance; and

B.) It puts an end to no-knock warrants in the state of Georgia. If law enforcement believes I’m engaging in illegal activity, they need to obtain a regular search warrant that describes the place to be searched and the persons or things to be seized, knock and announce themselves, allow me to review their warrant, then I will be glad to allow them into my home.

Otherwise, no-knock warrants, in my opinion, violate our Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable searches and seizures.

Someone kicking in my front door, entering my home unannounced, searching and seizing my personal effects is known as a burglary when criminals do it. But when police do it, it’s legal.

bgsmallz February 21, 2014 at 6:38 pm

With all due respect, you’re citing the wrong case Wilson v. Arkansas…that liberal hater of personal liberty Justice Thomas delivering the unanimous opinion of the court (Scalia joined in!) in declaring that not only are no knock warrants constitutional, but there is about 200 years of case law that show that ‘knock and announce’ is not a hard and fast rule when law enforcement faces the threat of physical harm.
It was backed up and clarified in Richards v. Wisconsin..another unanimous opinion that cited once again the threat of physical harm to police as a factor making no knock searches reasonable and thus constitutional under the 4th amendment.

Your opinion notwithstanding, the US Supreme Court has unanimously agreed on multiple occasions that no knock warrants are constitutional under the 4th amendment so long as they are ‘reasonable’ with a major factor in deciding whether they are ‘reasonable’ being threat of harm to law enforcement.

Andre February 21, 2014 at 7:28 pm

I’m going to close out by saying this:

In 2008, liberal Democrat state Senator Vincent Fort said of no-knock warrants, “”Every citizen ought to be safe and secure in their own home There’s no higher right.”

Conservative Republican Seth Harp, who was Senator Josh McKoon’s predecessor in the state Senate, agreed, saying, “”No-knock warrants are about as great an abrogation of the privacy of the home as you can get. We need for people to be protected in their homes.”

If you want to keep defending no-knock warrants, then that is your prerogative.

As for me, I would rather see 100 guilty people go free, than have one innocent person go to jail. I would rather see 100 criminals protected from a no-knock warrant, than have one innocent person be violated by a no-knock warrant. One violation is one too many for me.

mountainpass February 21, 2014 at 9:06 pm

Senator Vincent Fort ‏@Senatorfort 2h
GOP legislator intro bill to make it legal for people to shoot police serving no knock warrant. Can you believe it? It’s true!

Senator Vincent Fort ‏@Senatorfort 2h
Gun madness has gotten out of control! (See House Bill 1046.)

seenbetrdayz February 21, 2014 at 6:36 pm

I always love it when people whip out statistics to try to trump constitutional rights. Statistically speaking, the odds of you ever needing 3rd amendment protections to keep troops from being quartered in your home is about 1 in 300,000,000, so on that note I’d like to invite the entire barracks from Ft. Benning over to your house for a few weeks, and don’t bother protesting because statistically speaking you’d be blowing the issue way out of proportion.

The Bill of Rights was written explicitly for those 1-in-1250 cases, to protect minorities when the other 1249 didn’t give a **** because it wasn’t happening to them.

stephenlambeth February 21, 2014 at 9:46 pm

Anyone enters my home in the middle of the night un-announced and don’t identify themselves as cops, they’re going to die. I shouldn’t be prosecuted for a lack of professionalism on the part of law-enforcement. Our society has lost all sense of civility and no-knock raids are just one more symptom of that.

stephenlambeth February 21, 2014 at 9:56 pm

Every Red-Blooded American has an ABSOLUTE right, really a responsibility, to defend their family against ANY threat to their lives. If you think otherwise, perhaps Communist China should be your new home. #GetOutCommie

Patrick Mayer February 21, 2014 at 11:48 pm

Did you just respond to yourself? Do you like your own post on Facebook too? Why did you use a hashtag when it doesn’t link to anything?

griftdrift February 22, 2014 at 8:29 am

There’s a thousand different ways to fix no-knock warrants without turning it into us against them with the police.

But that’s not good enough for the pure and righteous.