Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Florida Jury Defends Property Rights

On Wednesday, it took a Miami-Dade County jury less than 30 minutes to decide Barcia did nothing wrong in shooting Murphy, who had entered Barcia's property without permission or a warrant.

But the cost to Barcia, a former Miami-Dade County Family Court clerk, and his family has been substantial: In the past two years Barcia has lost his job and his home, and had to serve house arrest while watching his now-19-month-old son grow


Before the jury left to consider their verdict, Judge Rodriguez explained it is contrary to law for a police officer to enter a private residence without a search warrant or permission from the homeowner unless it's a very unusual circumstance.

If Barcia had a reason to believe a felony was being committed on his property, or that his or others lives were in danger, the judge added, he could legally fend for himself.

Listen, cops are okay, I don't like to hear about them being shot; but I'll have a lot more sympathy when they start respecting the rights of homeowners. Being a law-abiding citizen, I have no reason to expect the cops at my house at night. I am going to assume, for my own safety, that anyone banging on my door (a) is not law enforcement, and (b) wishes me ill. Announce yourself as police until you are acknowledged and be prepared to show ID.

Note: I probably wouldn't be quite so aggressive on this one except that the officer walked away, and the accused WORKED FOR THE COUNTY JUDGE!! I can understand how you get fired up the night of, but someone in the MDCPD should have taken a deep breath and given this one a "no harm, no foul" pass.