Thomas H. Roberts & Associates, P.C.
Virginia's Civil Rights & Personal Injury Law Firm

(804) 783-2000


News - Fourth Amendment

Grand Jury Witness Complains
Does Not Authorize Police to Enter His Home Without A Warrant
Violating the Witness' Right
To Be Secure in His Own Home

July 14, 1999, A private investigator, took the advice he says was given to him by Assistant U.S. Attorney David Novak. He filed a complaint against two police officers from Richmond and Chesterfield, who  entered his home without an invitation or warrant to serve him with a subpoena to testify before a Grand Jury.

He complained on July 13, 1999 to the Federal Grand Jury investigating Joe Morrissey that he was disturbed by the conduct of the police but says he was told by Assistant U.S. Attorney that the grand jury was not the forum for him to air those complaints.

In the complaint, filed late on July 14, 1999, the complainant contends that the officers entered his home while he was working with a client on an Internet web-site. He contends that the officers entered his home without a warrant , invitation or exigent circumstances. Serving him with a subpoena to provide testimony before the Grand Jury does not provide an exception to the safeguards provided by the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution. He did not invite the officers into his home. There were no circumstances that would cause officers to believe that immediate entry into the home was necessary to preserve evidence or to protect life or property

Civil Rights attorney Thomas H. Roberts, stated "It is the clearly established law that the zone of privacy is nowhere more clearly defined than within the unambiguous physical dimensions of an individual's home, which is at the very core of the Fourth Amendment provisions to be free from unreasonable government intrusion." Attorney Roberts who is also spokesman for Freedom Works Foundation, stated "A warrantless entry into a person's home is presumptively unconstitutional and illegal."

On of the firm's Civil Rights attornies stated "No disdain for the target of a grand jury investigation will provide an excuse for entering a person's home without a warrant in violation of the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution."

In a statement recorded by the resident, Richmond Narcotics Detective Brian E. Russell, named in the complaint denies that he entered plaintiff's home.  Chesterfield police officer Michael Peddle, on the other hand, in a separate call recorded by the resident, admitted that he and Russell both entered the home without a warrant.   In a shocking admission, Officer Peddle stated that he acted in accordance with the custom of the Chesterfield Police Department.

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Thomas H. Roberts, Esq.
Thomas H. Roberts & Associates, P.C.
105 S. 1st Street
Richmond, Virginia 23219
804) 783-2000
804) 783-2105