The Wisconsin Supreme Court just dealt a death blow to the Fourth Amendment, which is supposed to protect a citizen against unreasonable search and seizure.
What’s more, the decision was made by a single, newly-appointed judge who was not even present when arguments were made in court. In a 4-3 decision, the state’s highest court ruled that evidence seized in a person’s private home during a warrantless search can be used against the person under an expanded view of the “community caretaker” clause.
Police went to Charles Matalonis’ house after his brother was found bloodied at a nearby residence. Matalonis, admitting he fought with his brother, let the cops in, where they saw blood in the apartment and some cannabis. They wanted to look inside a locked room, and when Matalonis refused to unlock it, the cops broke in. There they found a cannabis growing setup, whereupon Matalonis was arrested and charged with manufacture of cannabis.
The Court of Appeals had previously ruled this to be an unreasonable search. However, in the majority opinion of the Supreme Court, “Justice Annette Ziegler found that police were not investigating a crime but exercising their “community caretaker” function by checking to make sure no other injured people were in the house.”