The ongoing saga revolving around pro-gun activist Krysta Sutterfield could be seen as a troubling portent for all Second Amendment supporters. The Milwaukee, Wis. resident made some local news prior to this incident for toting a handgun to church and carrying outside a nearby coffee shop.
Like millions of Americans, she went to see a psychiatrist a few years back in an effort to sort out some personal issues. When she mentioned something about suicide during one session, the doctor went straight to the authorities.
As a result, police ambushed her home without a warrant, forced their way inside, and not only confiscated her guns–but took her into custody, where she underwent an involuntary mental evaluation.
After that 2011 incident, Sutterfield filed a complaint alleging that law enforcement had violated her Second and Fourth Amendment rights during the incident; however, a district judge disagreed. Recent reports indicate the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals backed up the lower court’s ruling despite concerns over officers’ disregard of her privacy.
Judge Ilana Rovner wrote that the “intrusions upon Sutterfield’s privacy were profound,” noting that the Fourth Amendment should guarantee “the right to be let alone in one’s home.”
Nevertheless, the three-judge panel apparently felt police had the law on their side.
The ruling concluded that there was no evidence they “acted for any reason other than to protect Sutterfield from harm.”
In any case, authorities stormed her house, took her guns, put her in handcuffs, and transported her to a mental institution – all without a warrant. Furthermore, the entire ordeal stemmed from an allegation by her doctor that Sutterfield has since denied.
When she found out police had been notified, she called the psychiatrist in a vain attempt to stop their impending arrival. As authorities stormed her home, Sutterfield pleaded with them, insisting she was in no danger (and even calling 911 when they refused to leave.)
All of this has since been deemed appropriate behavior by at least two separate courts.
Daniel Manion, another circuit judge behind the latest ruling, did suggest a “judicially issued civil warrant process” that would give police written authorization to engage in similar behavior in the future. Either way, Sutterfield’s case makes it clear that, on the advice of a supposed expert, any American can feasibly have his or her constitutional rights obliterated.
Photo credit: Rob Maguire (Flickr)