It's inexcusable for law enforcement to make mistakes like this one in Washington where sheriffs raided the wrong house looking for porn.

The irate homeowner told by The Spokesman-Review, which did not identify him at his request, that deputies dumped out drawers, went through his wallet and checkbook, seized computers, CDs, floppy disks, VHS tapes and other material and refused to clean up the mess in the raid Sept. 27.

Half a dozen sheriff's vehicles converged on the house, and after taking photographs outside Hines told officers within hearing of the neighbors, "Now let's go inside and get some porn," the owner said. ...

[Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie D.] Knezovich said he plans to adopted a more structured system for checking facts in search warrants, adding that [Detective Timothy D.] Hines probably would not be disciplined.

"I could see it if it was a blatant lack of diligence," the sheriff said, "but sometimes things like that happen. A number can get transposed."

Ridiculous. As atrocious as the incident is, the unnamed victim is far better off than Cory Maye, who is awaiting execution for killing a cop because the police raided the wrong house. Writes Orin Kerr:

The remarkable part of the case is that it seems pretty likely that Maye was acting in self-defense. The police broke into Maye's apartment at night while executing a warrant for drugs, but apparently they had the wrong apartment. Specifically, the police didn't realize that the apartment had been divided into two units, and — at least according to blog reports — Maye was in one and the drugs were in the other.

According to Maye's testimony at trial, as reported in the Hattiesburg American on Jaunary 23, 2004, Maye had no idea that the people breaking in to his apartment were cops, and shot the intruder to protect his young daughter:

Cory Maye, 23, said he was asleep on a chair in the living room of his Prentiss apartment as his 14-month-old daughter slept in the bedroom when he heard a loud crash at his front door.

"I immediately ran to my daughter's room, got a pistol, put in a magazine and chambered a round," said Maye, who is on trial for capital murder in Marion County. "As I laid on the floor by the bed, I heard kicks at the back door. I was frightened, I thought someone was trying to break in on me and my daughter."

Maye testified that it was dark in his apartment when he heard someone breaking into the back door, which was located in the bedroom.

"That's when I fired the shots," Maye said. "After I fired the shots, I heard them yell 'police! police!' Once I heard them, I put the weapon down and slid it away. I did not know they were police officers."

Far worse than irritated neighbors and a disheveled home.



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