Nope, "proper notice" is 48 hours in this state -- which is why the
company hired the police to stand guard outside the homes they
entered... Posting some kind of notice is begging for a response from
those notified... Then everyone will want their house checked first
"after work" -- the way the gas company chose to deal with it allows
the gas company to deal with the emergency according to their plans
and on their schedule, without having to deal with input or specific
time requests from the property owners which would no doubt follow
being notified of a need to enter...
I remember from a long time ago, when I was involved in some of this. The
fire department has a LOT of legal ability to go into places. Based on
English common law. Me, if I was conducting this kind of thing, I'd send
locksmith and firemen. After all, most firemen have some skill with natural
gas shutoff. I used to be volunteer FF, and we were all trained in how to
shut off the gas valve. And many of our FD tools had shut off capability.
Christopher A. Young
Learn more about Jesus
I don't know the law in RI, but I get the point of taking action to
prevent a disaster. I know the DPU / SFM can enter your property
(land) for a variety of reasons. I've never seen anything that allows
them to enter a home - with police and locksmiths.
===========================Say a rookie cop sees "drugs" or "firearms" in "plain view" when he
enters the home on a DPU / SFM "emergency". What stops the cop from
later getting a warrant for an arrest of the home owner for drugs and
Tell me they can't turn off the gas from a remote location?
This is bad precedence. Maybe RI has laws that allow some agency to
enter your home, I would not live there!
IANAL, but I'd argue that the stuff in plain view wasn't admissable
evidence in this case.
OTOH, if the person occupying the house was "out of sorts" and unable to
perform the simple task of preventing the fire, the insurance company might
argue that it isn't responsible for the damage that could easily have been
prevented by a lucid human being. But that is all very much conjecture.
I know I'd go home and crawl under the bed and stuff pillows in my ears. So,
that would work for me.
I'm ready to go see a priest for ritual cleansing.
Christopher A. Young
Learn more about Jesus
Remember the recent test for FEMA? All television, radio broadcast
were to be interrupted for a test emergency message.... some people
only heard a song from Lady Gaga.
This has been litigated many times and the answer is always on the side of
Exigent circumstances trumps even the Constitution.
Could a member of government (e.g., a firefighter) kick down the door if
flames were seen through the window? Could a cop force entry if cries for
help were heard? Should an EPA monitor wait when he sees and incandescent
In the instant case, the chance of death, injury, or serious property damage
is probable unless preventative action is taken.
Now what's interesting is what might happen while the cop is IN the house.
Suppose he sees bomb making material or chemicals for making meth or a stash
of illegal guns? I'll tell you what happens:
The homeowner get a long stay in the Grey Bar Hotel.
Umm... The police nor the locksmiths in this case entered any of
the homes affected... The police were there to guard the properties
against theft as detail officers to supervise the locksmith as a
non-interested 3rd party to prevent any claims of liability for theft
against the gas company... A.K.A. "paid witnesses"...
The local building code officials, state environmental officials,
health officials, state fire marshals DO NOT need a warrant or your
permission to ENTER your home at any time, if their duties or the
situation requires entry when you are not home or if you have
chosen to refuse access then a locksmith will be called to effect
entry only because such agencies don't fell like knocking your
door in and dealing with a damage claims process...
To answer your question about the theoretical "rookie cop"
contraband in "plain view" may be seized, whether or not
the police could swear out a warrant to arrest the owner of
a home based on taking the contraband is another thing
entirely, there would be a circumstantial case of possession
based on the concept of "constructive possession" where
everyone who had access to the areas of the house where
the items were found could be construed to be in possession
of those items -- but the government would have to prove that
the owner of said property knew those items were there if
they wanted to get a conviction...
It is not precedence of any kind, the state has the legal
authority to enter your home whenever it needs to, the 4th
Amendment only applies to searches and seizures made
against your interests and property where the results or
fruits of the search will be used as evidence against you
in a criminal matter -- the 4th Amendment does not apply
to civil or administrative matters where no jail time (which
is referred to as "jeopardy") is at stake...
LOL, umm, they are there to see that nothing was carried out and
which technician entered which house -- if something is later reported
missing, the police know exactly who did it and the crime was
"in presence" which means all the cop has to do is testify in court
that whichever person entered the home was the only one to do so and
items were later reported missing -- unless by happenstance or random
chance someone else burglarized that same home the missing items
would be found somewhere the gas company employee has access to
if they were responsible for the thefts, the "in presence" police
witnessing someone entering the home where the items are later
reported missing is enough probable cause to obtain a blanket search
warrant to examine every aspect of that person's life, property and
activities via phone/internet/e-mail...
The police couldn't stop the thefts if THEY were the ones stealing
either, but by the officer remaining outside documenting who enters
the police can not themselves be accused to the theft...
There you go again, making things up. From the news
reports it's not clear whether police actually entered the
homes or not. YOU are claiming they just stood watch
to make sure nothing was stolen. Which of course
doesn't preclude the most obvious theft. That being
the gas company employee taking watches, jewelry,
cash, anything they can fit in their pockets or tool
Nor can they stop the gas guy from stealing if they just
stand watch outside. Show us where it says that the just
stood watch please.
I am personally aware that the police stood outside, I have family
that lives in the area affected and had to sit around and wait because
neither of them could take a whole day off work to wait themselves
for their turn to have everything checked out and turned back on...
I watched the two police officers escorting the two gas company
trucks and a locksmith work van take turns one standing outside
and one sitting in the cruiser as the gas company workers went
from house to house down the block...
You wouldn't know that or be able to see such things all the way
from Canada, and it was rather plain and boring to make the news
as all the camera crews seemed to like setting up next to the backhoe
that was digging on the main street to replace a valve that wouldn't
open up again after it was closed as that was more exciting than
watching the minions go about repetitive tasks, but then
again you leap to quite a lot of conclusions most of the time...
Plain view isn't necessarily plain view. For example there is a court
case on the subject that had the cops enter the house on exigent
circumstances (bullet had passed through the apartment below). While in
there, a cop saw some stereo equipment and moved it around so as to copy
down the serial numbers. The evidence that the turntable had been stolen
was tossed because the serial numbers were not in plain view even though
the equipment was.
*IF* something was admitted, and I am not as sure that is as much of
slam dunk as some think, it would only be in plain view if it was in the
most direct route between the door and the gas meter.
People thought cybersex was a safe alternative,
until patients started presenting with sexually
Correct, plain view is only what you can see without touching or
anything to see it...
Calling something in "plain view" because one side of an object is
for visual inspection does not make the concealed sides in plain view
The officer in the above referenced situation should have tried to
whether or not said stereo equipment was hooked up and in use... They
then could have noted how many pieces of such equipment were located
in the home... A stack of unconnected equipment would be suspicious
but unless the serial numbers were visible without touching or moving
objects, all the officer could do is apply for a search warrant to
serial numbers based on the knowledge of a rash of recent thefts of
items and discovering a strange stash of such items inside someone's
house while there on another matter and see if the judge decides based
on the facts whether or not probable cause exists...
Few weeks ago, the mayor of New London, CT wanted cops to overlooks
small amounts of marijuana if called to a house for a different
reason. State attorney told him he could not tell the cops to do so.
Yup, that is called "discretionary powers" cops can arrest, issue a
summons or take no action whatsoever when they come across violations
of most laws, very few laws REQUIRE a police officer to arrest
less than a handful in most states...
The same power is called "prosecutorial discretion" when the district
attorney decides whether or not to prosecute the cases filed with
office by law enforcement agencies... Very few laws REQUIRE the
district attorney's office to prosecute persons charged with
violations of the statutes...
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