A Quick Reaction to Radley Balko's Comment:
My co-blogger Jonathan posts an interesting comment from Radley Balko about liability for search warrants, with the addition that Radley's comment is "worth repeating." I have a different take: Radley's comment strikes me as problematic on a number of levels. First, it isn't an accurate expression of the law, either from the standpoint of self-defense law or the standpoint of civil actions against the police. Second, as best I can tell, we really don't know the facts of the Johnston case to which the post refers. A lot of bloggers just seem to know, but as far as I can tell we have a lot of speculation without a solid basis to know what happened.

  [See Second Update Below] Third, Radley's "pretty simple" solution seems quite troubling to me. Under his proposed solution — "stop invading people's homes for nonviolent offenses" — a person could commit any white collar fraud, embezzle money from the elderly, bribe Congressmen, or engage in a global child pornography trading ring knowng that the police won't invade their home to collect evidence against them. I assume these crimes are all nonviolent offenses, and if I understand Radley's idea, homes wouldn't be searched for evidence of such crimes being committed. That doesn't seem like a very good solution to me.

  UDPATE: A few commenters, including my co-blogger Ilya Somin, think that Radley is implicitly limiting his proposal to no-knock searches, maybe at night, and maybe "SWAT style raids" that use a "high degree of force" and "paramilitary tactics" instead of the usual "searches" that use a "normal" degree of force. I'm not sure I see this in Radley's post, but I thought I should at least flag the uncertainty.

  ANOTHER UPDATE: Radley's latest post makes clear that my earlier post badly misunderstood his position. My apologies. In its Fourth Amendment cases, the Supreme Court routinely refers to "invasion" of a home to mean any physical access, and I assumed Radley was using the word in the way the Supreme Court does, not to refer only to no-knock paramilitary raids. Radley seems to think my misunderstanding was in bad faith; it wasn't. In any event, I regret the misunderstanding.