Fourth Amendment

Alabama Sheriff's Office Accused of Repeated Warrantless Searches

What is this Fourth Amendment of which you speak?


The Etowah County Sheriff's Office has a Fourth Amendment problem.

About once a month, a marked sheriff's car shows up, unannounced and after dark, outside a family's home in Alabama. Uniformed officers walk to the family's door, in plain sight of every neighbor. They knock and demand to be let in. If the family refuses, the police threaten them with arrest. Once inside, the officers search the family's home – all without ever obtaining a warrant.

These unannounced intrusions are an ongoing, regular practice of the Etowah County Sheriff's Office. That practice is the basis for a lawsuit filed today by the ACLU, the ACLU of Alabama, and the law firm Jaffe & Drennan challenging these random and suspicionless searches as unconstitutional – and unfounded – harassment.