Washington Court: Refusing To Let Cops Enter Home Without Warrants Isn't Obstruction [Updated]

Forbes | 4/19/2019 | Staff
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UPDATE: On Friday afternoon, the Washington Supreme Court issued an order that amended the lead opinion by striking out its conclusion and replacing it with the following:

“We in the lead opinion would hold the city presented insufficient evidence to sustain [Solomon] McLemore’s conviction and remand to the trial court for further proceedings consistent with this opinion. However, we recognize this opinion has garnered only four signatures. ‘Therefore, there being no majority for the reversal of the judgment of the trial court, it necessarily stands affirmed, and the order of this court is that the judgment appealed from be and it is hereby affirmed.’”

Opinion - Conviction - Court - Split - McLemore

So while the lead opinion initially would have reversed the conviction, because the court split evenly, McLemore’s conviction in the trial court still stands. The rest of the piece has been updated accordingly.

McLemore’s attorney did not immediately respond to a request for comment, while the Shoreline Prosecutor’s Office wrote that “the city is still considering whether to file a motion to clarify.”

Man - Door - Police - Home - Warrant

A man who refused to open his door to let police enter his home without a warrant should not have been convicted for obstruction of justice, the lead opinion for the Washington Supreme Court concluded on Thursday. “Criminalizing the refusal to open one’s own door to a warrantless entry would be enormously chilling and inconsistent with our deeply held constitutional values,” Justice Steven Gonzalez wrote in Shoreline v. McLemore.

Yet with the conviction upheld, Washington appears to be “the only jurisdiction in which citizens may be prosecuted merely for failing to yield when law enforcement demands warrantless entry to their homes,” according to an amicus brief filed by the ACLU of Washington.

Case - Years - Shoreline - Washington - Match

The case began more than three years ago in Shoreline, Washington when a late-night shouting match between Solomon McLemore and his girlfriend prompted a bystander to...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Forbes
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