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 Should you Answer that Knock at the Door?
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Saint Kitts and Nevis
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Posted - 30 May 2002 :  09:12:36  Show Profile  Visit Admin's Homepage
For those who believe, or have been trained to believe, that you must open your door when someone knocks on it, consider the following:

"The maxim that 'a man's house is his castle' does not protect a man's house as his property or imply that, as such, he has a right to defend it by extreme means. The sense in which the house has a peculiar immunity is that it is sacred for the protection of the man's person. A trespass upon his property is not a justification for killing the trespasser. It is a man's house, barred and inclosing his person, that is his castle. The lot of ground on which it stands has no such sanctity. When a man opens his door and puts himself partly outside of it, he relinquishes the protection which, remaining within and behind closed doors, it would have afforded him. Com v. McWilliams, 21 Pa. Dist. R. 1131." Bouvier's Law Dictionary (1914), pp. 1449-1450.

Or, if you believe that the police need a warrant to enter your house, consider the following, which is from "Federal Searches and Seizures," by Rex D. Davis, 1964. (Note: the meaning of "Refused admittance," and "no permission being given," is when there is some kind of response from within).

"3.26 (Forceful Entry to Arrest) - Officers may use force in breaking into a premises in order to arrest with or without a warrant provided they have been refused admittance after making the necessary notification."

"18 U.S.C. 3109 (Breaking doors or windows for entry or exit) - The officer may break open any inner or outer door or window of a house, or any part of a house, or anything therein, to execute a search warrant, if, after notice of his authority and purpose, he is refused admittance or when necessary to liberate himself or a person aiding him in the execution of the warrant."

John 10:1, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way [through a window, etc.], the same is a thief and a robber."

At least one jurisdiction appears to distinguish an officer's authority to break in without a warrant from the same authority when he is armed with a warrant.

"Unless the necessities of the moment require that the officer break down a door, he cannot do so without a warrant; and if in reasonable contemplation there is opportunity to get a warrant, or the arrest could as well be made by some other method, the outer door to a dwelling cannot be broken to make an arrest without a warrant. The right to break open a door to make an arrest requires something more than the mere right to arrest. (Accruing v. United States, 1949, 85 U.S. App.DC 394, 179 F.2d. 456.)

We think that under the authorities, officers without a warrant cannot enter, even without actually breaking, a private dwelling to search for a suspected felon, no permission being given and no circumstances of necessitous haste being present. (Morrison v. United States, CA DC 1958, 262 F.2d 449.)

3.261 (What Constitutes "Breaking"?) - "In the absence of any allegation of coercion, the action of the officers who bore a valid warrant of arrest and did not force their way into her apartment but entered after the door had been opened by the defendant, in 'pushing' their way into the apartment was not of a character that it constituted such unreasonable force that would invalidate an otherwise valid search." United States v. Lord, DC NY 1960, 184 F. Supp. 923.

3.262 (Entry by Subterfuge without Force) - There is considerable authority to the effect that use of subterfuge to gain entrance to arrest or search is not improper. Of course, if "breaking" is involved, it is necessary for the officers to announce their authority and purpose in demanding entrance. Where a Federal agent, armed with a valid arrest warrant, gained entrance to the defendant's apartment by stating he was an agent from the County Assessor's Office, the Court held the entrance lawful, stating:

There is no constitutional mandate forbidding the use of a deception in executing a valid arrest warrant. The case of Gouled v. United States, 1921, 255 U.S. 298, 41 S.Ct. 261, 65 L.Ed. 647, relied on by appellant, holds that a search warrant is invalid even though entry is procured by stealth rather than force. The instant case is different in that the search was incident to an arrest under a valid arrest warrant. "Criminal activity is such that stealth and strategy are necessary weapons in the arsenal of the police officer." Sherman v. United States, 1958, 356 U.S. 369, 372, 78 S.Ct. 819, 820, 2 L.Ed.2d 848."

And, whether the postman is an agent in the field, consider the following:

"9.15 (Mail Watch) - Ordinarily, a mail watch does not constitute a search. A "mail watch" or "mail cover" occurs where postal employees scrutinize the mail addressed to an individual and note the information contained on the outside of the envelope. It is distinguishable from the opening and searching of first class mail which is unconstitutional unless legally authorized.

Defendant further suggests that the use of a "mail cover" tainted the Governments evidence. That is, a clerk was assigned in the Post Office to scrutinize all mail addressed to defendant at the Rittenhouse Hotel and to note the names and addresses of the senders. The motion to suppress cannot be granted for that reason, however, since it was not shown that the fruits of the mail watch were used (directly or indirectly) in the preparation of the Government's charges. Furthermore, it has been held in this district that even where results of a "mail watch" are communicated to the Justice Department in violation of Postal Regulations, the evidence will not necessarily be suppressed. United States v. Schwartz, DC Pa. 1959, 176 F.Supp.613.

There was no "taking" of the Costello's mail with intent to deprive them of it. It was not prying into their business or secrets to note what the senders had made public on the face of the letters. And the mere fact of detention without proof that it was for unlawful purpose is insufficient to constitute a violation of the statute.

Any delay here was merely incidental to a lawful watch authorized by the Postal Regulations. United States v. Costello, DC N.Y. 1957 F.Supp. 461."


Don't open that door for anyone, except for a fellow brother or sister in Christ. Let's read what our Lord said:

Luke 13:25, "When once the master of the house (you) is risen up, and hath shut to the door, and ye (the ungodly) begin to stand without, and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us; ("Hey you! The master of this up the door to the police, salesman, etc!") and he shall answer and say unto you, I know you not whence ye are:"

Notice the master of that house did not open the door to those who were not of Christ. Even though, in this parable, the master inside the house responded to those outside, it is better if we do not reply to those of Caesar outside the door, because, as was shown above, that may give them permission to break down the door if you refuse to open it. But if there is nobody to "refuse" to open up the door for them, if there is only silence inside, they have no excuse to break it down.

And since, by opening up the door to the ungodly, it is considered an invitation to enter into your house (thus they can force their way in with no legal consequences), we might be at risk of violating the following passages:

2 John 1:10, "If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed."

Proverbs 24:15, "Bring not an ungodly man into the dwelling of the righteous: neither be deceived by the feeding of the belly."

This and other teachings for the Body of Christ can be found on the internet at:
The Christ's Lawful Assembly

He is not the God of the dead, but the God of the living: ye therefore do greatly err. - Mark 12:27
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