Can police search your house if looking for someone else? 5 Answers as of April 18, 2011

I woke up to nightmare at 6am, someone banging on my door. When I asked who it was they said probation. Well being a person who has no legal issues and lives alone, I was not sure if I was being robed so. I asked how I can help them, they told me they were looking for a person with a name "not me" and asked me if I was that person. I told them they had a wrong address. They insisted I open the door or they would take it down. I opened the door and see 20 armed police officers one with gun pointing at me. They said they were looking for a person who was on probation. Asked me again if I was that person, again I told them I was not. They said they had to search my house and proceeded to walk in as they ordered me to turn on the light and sit down at the chair as 15 of them raided my studio and bathroom. I was so scared when I looked at the gun pointing at me that I did not ask for warrant nor I was given chance to ask for anything. They did not even ask for my id although they helped themselves searching my mail, asking me if I was on probation, how long I lived at this place, did I work, and where, left without sorry we don't have the right address or a person. I am just in shock, pissed off and violated. What happened to my 4th amendment rights? Is this legal?

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Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg
Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg | Eric Sterkenburg
If the police had reasonable cause to suspect a suspect is in your house then they have to go to a Judge and get a search warrant. They can search your house for this person with out a warrant if they were chasing him and saw him go into your house, or if they have reasonable cause to think that someone is in danger or evidence is being destroyed. If searching for a person they are only entitled to look where a person may be hiding, not in your dowers or under your dresser.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 4/18/2011
Nelson & Lawless
Nelson & Lawless | Terry Nelson
Can they? Of course. Should they do so to the wrong person? No. Could you sue them for violation of your rights? Yes. Can you win that case? Probably not. You have been inconvenienced by their good faith mistake, but not injured or substantially damaged. The government and its agents have immunity from lawsuits for their mistakes.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 4/15/2011
Law Office of Peter F. Goldscheider
Law Office of Peter F. Goldscheider | Peter Goldscheider
No, it is not legal. In order to search one's home for another person who does not live there, they need a search warrant. In fact, even to search the person's home they are looking for they need at least an arrest warrant in most circumstances. If you want to make an issue of it you should contact an attorney to sue the police or at least file a complaint against the officers who participated with their department.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 4/15/2011
Dennis Roberts, a P.C.
Dennis Roberts, a P.C. | Dennis Roberts
No, not legal. But the big question is what can you do about it. One thing is to write to Internal Affairs and report all these morons. Then the next guy who gets rousted and actually arrested can get a copy of your report and it will help him. You can sue the cops but I doubt you'll find a lawyer willing to invest all that time and money in a case that will probably not pay very much. Sorry.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 4/14/2011
The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr. | Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
The answer is no, as to you. Look for an attorney who handles 1983 cases. If you are in Southern Cal, write me direct and I'll give you a referral.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 4/14/2011
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