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So the Elizabethan judge Sir Edward Cook expounding the law a man's house is his castle. It don't assume a quick way to to see Mum. Refugee all English speaking people still quote Lord cook. Well they may never have heard of him and may be rather vague as to the sense of his words. A man's house is his castle. Make any sense to you. Well there's a queen in my house all right but there is no king. No nor even a prince if you mean what I think you mean dear heart. Be advised that I should happily corral you honey just joking there's this old saying A man's house is castle. My who lives in a castle do we know anybody who lives in a castle. Do we live in one. Ha. Is this this this cosy little NASA's fishbowl. You don't like being the picture in your own picture window this open floor plan hide nothing away. You can't mean this three bedroom ranch style blue have a high I mean this dump. If this is a castle you're here would that it were in Spain all the way.
Give every man his due. A series of radio programs about the principles of justice. To every man his due is produced by radio station WAGA of University of Wisconsin under a grant from the National Educational Television Radio Center in cooperation with the National Association of educational broadcasters. The closed door. Maybe you don't care who it is maybe a knock at the door leaves you cold. Somebody is knocking Flo. It may even annoy you a little. Neighbors neighbors. Why isn't it good for them to drop out. Very likely a knock at the door has never been known to strike terror in your heart although it may at times start yours something with eager anticipation. Maybe it's the cosmetic women. A knock at the door as a symbol stands on the positive side of things in our culture
evoking visions of long lost friends unexpected delights sudden good fortune. It's something to sing about my poetry about. Even joke about who's there oh this or this opportunity. Whoever it is at the door you don't have to let him in if you don't want to. You feel pretty confident about that. And so with hardly a second thought you answered You don't have to knock it down I'm coming I'm coming. But suppose it should turn out to be Patrick O'Malley. Clancy at your door. Officer Clancy. POLICE OFFICER Clancy that is with his cap in his hand and his button shining and a simple request courteously stated Well what a thing to ask of a decent law abiding citizen. Well I consent to let you search my house. I should say not search my house indeed. Well no sir no indeed not without my consent.
When it's a policeman at your door you do not know if you are wise. Slam it in his face. You don't lock and barricaded either. You certainly don't use force to keep him out of your house you don't have to. The law takes care of that for you. It is the law everywhere in this land of the free. That the doors of law abiding citizens are closed to police officers and other officials of government. The door opens only when there is good reason to believe that a citizen has broken the law or that his house contains illegal goods or the instruments of a known crime or one a citizen freely and voluntarily opens it. Officer Clancy has sworn an oath to defend your property your life your freedom but you reserve the right not to welcome him into your home. The right of the people begins the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution to be secure in their persons houses papers and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures
shall not be violated and no Warrants shall issue but upon probable cause supported by Oath or affirmation and particularly describing the place to be searched and the persons or things to be seized. This amendment and similar provisions in the constitutions of all the states close the doors of law abiding citizens to governmental officials. This is the law that makes a man's house his castle. Every man's every woman's. The Fourth Amendment does not exclude from its protections as a federal judge of the Sixth Circuit. Even a woman of the underworld. Police officers can no more violate her rights under the Constitution than they can violate those of any other person. We have heard enough in these last years throughout the world of the knock on the door in the night time the arrest ransacking search and the prison cell to take warning. The constitutional rights of everyone are immediately imperiled. When the rights of even the outcast the disdained and the powerless trampled over with impunity
no man or woman has the right to retreat into his castle. Turn up the drawbridge and proceed to break the law. It's only reasonable that officers of the law should at times have to enter and search private quarters in order to enforce the law. Not all searches and seizures are forbidden only unreasonable ones. When an officer has good reason to believe that the fruits or instrumentalities of a particular crime rest in a particular place he may enter and search that place. However it's not for him to judge the reasonableness of the search he wishes to make. This is a basic point in the protection afforded by the Fourth Amendment and it's state constitutional counterparts that the reasonableness of a search must be judged by the detached and neutral mind of a magistrate. The judge from whom the officer must in almost all instances procure a search warrant the presence of a search warrant serves a high function explains
Justice Douglas of the United States Supreme Court. Absent some grave emergency the Fourth Amendment has interposed a magistrate between the citizen and the police. This was not done to shield criminals nor to make the home a safe haven for illegal activities. It was done so that an objective mind might weigh the need to invade that privacy in order to enforce the law. The right of privacy was deemed too precious to entrust to the discretion of those whose job is the detection of crime and the arrest of criminals. Power is a heady thing. And history shows that the police acting on their own cannot be trusted. And so the Constitution requires a magistrate to pass on the desires of the police before they violate the privacy of the home. Not that an officer may never search without a warrant he may he may search the person of one whom he has just arrested and to some extent the scene of the arrest providing the arrest is lawful without a warrant. He may also
search a movable vehicle and automobiles say providing he has good reason to believe it contains contraband or instruments of a crime. This is held to be only reasonable since the automobile might vanish while he visited the judge. He may also search without a warrant when a citizen freely and voluntarily gives his consent. Should an officer Persis without a warrant or consent in a search judged later to be unreasonable. The victim like the victim of any unreasonable search may be awarded damages in some cases those who make unreasonable searches with or without warrant may be fined and punished in federal courts and some state courts. Evidence acquired by an unreasonable search is not admissible. This is the law which makes your home a castle a fortress into which no one neither law breaker or law maker nor law enforcer may intrude.
Not that is without getting into trouble. Ours is a nation dedicated to belief in the and the inability of every man's right to life liberty and the pursuit of happiness. A nation which values privacy as a right. Officer Clancy pursuing his duty may not without very good reason invade your private life. Not unless you ask him then why not I'd like to know. Washington Good old Clancy search our house if he needs to do we have something to hide. Listen everybody has something to hide. Not the sort of thing that would interest the police. They're human aren't they. Now look here Flo if Clancy asked to search our house he had a reason I had a reason not to want him in this house. Maybe you wouldn't mind telling it to me. You know how Clancy is he talks when you talk as much as Clancy does. You just do let things slip out. Like what do you know what I was doing when he knocked. Couldn't imagine my hair so. So there was the
evidence sitting right out there on the bathroom counter the evidence. Good Lord Flo What have you done. Well if you think I was going to risk having everybody in this town know. Well it isn't anybody's business but my own is it if I use a little Hannah now and then. Good grief good reason not to welcome a policeman into the house a bit on the slight side you may think more than a bit when you think that the officers duty may have been concerned with extremely grave matters. Grand theft say narcotics maybe kidnapping murder. When you think of the rising crime rate the outrages you read about in every newspaper the jungle closing in when you measure a henna rinse against a blood bath Ye gods flow who's side are you on anyway. It's a free country isn't it. Ya sure. And the criminal element is taking over.
And privacy be justified in the face of a rising crime right. Especially privacy merely as a cloak for vanity. Can it be justified. Is it perhaps antisocial to insist upon living in a castle in the 20th century. Just whose side are you on when you invoke your rights under these words. The right of the people to be secure in their persons houses papers and effects shall not be violated. These words are not just literary composition. Justice Frankfurter of the United States Supreme Court. They are not to be read as they might be read by a man who knows English but has no knowledge of the history that gave rise to these words. Words must be read with the gloss of the experience of those who frame them. Because the experience of the framers of the Bill of Rights was so vivid. They assumed that it would be carried down the stream of history and that their words would receive the significance of the experience to which they were address. The significance not to be
found in the dictionary. Zaki What chance has an honest man the pretty well this in which those who break the law prosper while those who keep it are robbing us blind. That Englishman who lived in England 200 years ago referring to Englishman who lived in thirteen American colonies seven years of war against France just ended had heaped upon the head of every man woman and child in Britain. A public debt of eighteen pounds in the colonies defended by that war. The public debt was but eighteen shillings per person per nature Aw were still New England's prosperity rested firmly and undeniably upon illegal trade upon overseas shipping which violated Britain's trade and Navigation Acts. Why does the government not act by whatever means let the rolls be in full in the name of justice.
And so in 1761 law enforcement came to New England. New England very nearly giddy with prosperity. Even farmers were painting the insides of their houses in the city's old Madero was served from silver trays in the gardens of new mansions to a gentleman wearing lavender weskit and ladies tilting silk umbrella. Then came law enforcement to spoil the party for the talk was the old phrase. This is a monk's house is his house. Absolutely Regal I mean they're looking. At their ticket. Show house. You must be very happy. Here. My. Head. My. Heart my lungs. Punished which gives up no vapor of fish oil whatsoever. Such believe my ancestors knew admirably well how to make do with how ingenious of them to use the fish oil and play upon Flora's the Warpaint of crushed cockle shells and with barnyard drainage but weren't
admiring their ingenuity. I'm sunless happy to live long enough to breed a household and sent it out only with the perfumed soaps of France France or Spain or Turkey a man expects this sort of thing. What Englishman have a right to even wish when the pills are to be called wrote em out of our profit and loss without giving a lot because of it. Samuel you're hangry. Samuel does get so rowdy just Jonathan rude language is one thing I will not abide by house is Castle Oh dear in just when everything was going so well. Excuse me Jonathan I wish to speak to you Jonathan. I'm not awed. I shan't speak. In 1761 Mr. cockle a minor customs agent in Salem Massachusetts and the English language with a new synonym for Rob
and Anglo American law with an historic case. Under directions from a higher official named Paxton Mr cockle applied to the Superior Court of Massachusetts for some writs of assistance writs of assistance were general warrants with them customs officials would be able to open any door to any house or warehouse board any ship read any diary examine any books seize anything. Anyone innocent as well as guilty could expect a visit from Mr cockle at any time. George third's government was declaring what might be called an open door policy for the enforcement of its trade laws to implement this policy. Its officials would carry skeleton keys. General warrants there would be little assurance of privacy in New-England homes. If Mr cockle got his general warrants general warrants are unconstitutional and contrary to the rights of Englishman Henry that quill declared James and promptly resigned his crown appointment in order to argue
this before the Superior Court which had consented to hear argument considering the legalities of the once Mr cockle had requested. A group of 64 merchants had engaged James Otis to present their case fees in such a case I despise all fees. Oh you're aware you're called to the good son Boston Massachusetts is now in session on February 24th. 1761 five red robe Danby wig judges seated themselves before the fireplace in the council room of the old town house. The merchants were there and the few invited onlookers among them. John Adams a resident of Braintree and a newcomer to the law whose notes would become the only surviving account of this hearing. Jeremiah Gridley spoke first for the crowd arguing innocence. Assuredly gentlemen of the common privileges of Englishman
are you zapped by the law in this case. But it is the law for all of that. And is it not justified by the necessity of the case and the benefit of the revenue no. Citizens are unhappy when their homes are entered and searched by officials whose duty it is to collect the public taxes. He's not a speedy and efficient collection of taxes of some importance and lacking revenue. How can Britain support its army is in fleets it's government. Date is the collection of the revenue not to merely as important. But infinitely more important than the privacy of a few home. No I say no it is not insisted James Otis So it took him five hours to do it all through the afternoon he paced the floor of the council room a loose button dangling from his coat shirt ruffles limp and rumpled his large head angrily thrust forward. The gist of his argument this writ is against the fundamental principles of English law and
anti-LGBT is his castle. You know he must feel secure. This is fundamental. This is the Constitution. Any act against it. The one acted by parliament itself is void. Any act against natural equity is void. Only for felonies may a man's house be entered and searched and then only by a warrant specifically naming the place to be searched and that which is to be seized for general warrants there is no legal precedent save that of the star chamber under the Stuarts. I say this writ is the worst instance of vibratory power the most destructive of thinkers liberty and the fundamental principles of love that was ever founded. An English law book. This so-called warrant places the liberty of every man in the hands of every petty officer bare suspicion alone without oath is sufficient for acquiring such a warrant. Every man prompted by Rubin whose only humor or
wantonness to inspect the inside of his neighbor's house may get a writ of assistance. What is more this rebel lived for ever. Pending no time limit upon it when such rich sort are brought in the land. Every man's house is a public place. Is this justified by the necessity for collecting public taxes. I say nothing can justify this evil this infamous rip. I say it is forbidden. The merchants approved but the court was unmoved. Not until the next session in August did it hand down a decision in favor of the writs of assistance general warrants were used in the colonies once which the colonists viewed as unconstitutional use to enforce tax laws also regarded by them as unconstitutional. Flames kindled in 1761. What mount toward conflagration
in 1776. Hear this day in February of 1761 you wrote John Adams 50 years later here this day in the old council chamber of the Independence was born. The first American Bill of Rights that a Virginia adopted in June of 1776 contained a clause clearly for bidding the use of general warrants. Every bill of rights thereafter contained similar provisions including that of the United States and no Warrants shall issue but upon probable cause supported by Oath or affirmation and particularly describing the place to be searched and the persons or things to be seized. No skeleton keys would be carried by officials in this republic. That was the intention of those who framed our Constitution. They knew at first hand what it was to fear a
knock at the door. They knew that the closed door that made a man's house his castle was essential to liberty and justice for all. But long before they brought forth their new nation Englishman living in England arrived at the same conclusions. Not a year after James Otis made his historic argument in Boston a new series of political pamphlets appeared in England. The North Briton published anonymously but as everyone knew authored primarily by John Wilkes. If Dredd film director he's perfectly irresistible Perhaps you cannot resist an accomplished prophet. But I did quite evidently do not know Jack Wilkes the rake the whipped number of Parliament Wilks as ugly a man as ever lived. I need only half an hour to talk away my face. Well most historic shaft was hurled at a new prime minister George Granville in
1763 this week was given to the public the most up and an instance of ministerial effrontery ever attempted to be imposed on month kind Roque Wilks in North Britain number forty five referring to a speech given by the king but regarded as the speech of the minister. I am in doubt whether the imposition is greater on the sovereign or on the nation. Every friend of his country must lament that a prince of so many great and amiable qualities can be brought to give the sanction of his secret name to the most odious measures and to the most unjustifiable public declarations from the throne. Every now and what truth. Ah an unsighted virtual. These ministers this week destroyed to peoples to rule the kingdom with a rod of iron that's what it say outrageous and infamous since a dish is libel per putting most assuredly to inflame the minds and alienate the affections of the people from His Majesty and excite them to traitorous insurrections against his government. Well then should we not indicative that the right to printers and publishers of this edition should be
apprehended. Let a warrant be issued in as much as these persons are unknown and reside in unknown places. I assume you mean yes yes. A general warrant what else. Toward the end of silencing political opposition to king's messengers carried the general warrant into the streets of London knocking on this door and that seizing anything and everything and came at last to serve their want against women. This is a water combat defense. So I didn't see you Mr. Welte says you can see for yourself my Lord Halifax I'm safe now yes but the secretary of state has surely made a mistake. Where anyone can see that he has issued you're not a warrant but the fishing time it you ought not to play with us Mr. Williams you do it would be a foolish fish would play with such as you tell me what has been your catch this expedition that Khomeini come come how many for us in these circumstances one loses count for your feeling why didn't gathering up the big and the little
the wise and the foolish and some who are not even fish venti on sporting You know we ended perform our duty set which is seven this was it. Oh yes. This warrant this ridiculous warrant I warrant against the whole English nation at the moment against you you will come along peaceably. I'm afraid I couldn't please. No no I I really couldn't very well then rig ready he shouldn't. Why out this fish you have landed me at land you take care. John Wilkes arrested under a general warrant was carried from his home in a chair and brought before Lord Howe to FX who graciously offered him his choice of prison. Except from friends it has never been my habit to receive favors. I only ask that you not place me in a cell previously occupied by a Scotsman. What I have been a potent field of contract which.
After a few days in the tar Wilks along with 48 others who have been arrested under the general warrant brought suit in the courts for false imprisonment chief justice Pratt later to become Lord Camden awarded substantial judgments against the officials who had issued and serve the warrant saying go to higher court find me an errors I shall submit it will become me and kissed the rod but I must say I will always consider it as a rod of iron for the chastisement of the people of Great Britain. This will teach ministers of all the trade principles that the liberty of an English subject is not to be spotted away with impunity in this cruel and despotic manner. I mean not only the liberty of all PSN gentleman but also what touches me about sensibly that of all the middling and inferior sort of people who stand most in need of protection on the. Was it was mostly the middling and inferior sort of people who carried Wilks home after his triumph in court then and there was born of a new popular
hero of Liberty didn't like. You my dear. Because you resisted for. Weeks and maybe too. Much is going to soon sweep. Why certainly I should be happy to introduce you. Coming on. It was the experience of our ancestors in the colonies and in England that general warrants against everybody in general authorizing the search for and seizure of everything in general jeopardized liberty in general. By the end of the eighteenth century general warrants were forbidden by law only particularized warrants may issue and they only against one whom there is good reason to suspect of a crime or against quarters which may reasonably be expected to contain lawful objects of a search and seizure. Officers of the law may not cast wide the net gathering up the innocent along with the guilty.
Nor may they go fishing for evidence that might convict a person of a crime. This is the closed door that ensures the privacy of your home. The same closed door ensures also the kind of government than the kind of society to which we as a nation are dedicated. This is history's teaching. And it's Officer Clancy at the door. It's government at the door. Government which has the necessary power to protect your property your life your freedom or to take them away. If you aren't inclined to think of Clancy in quite that light. Good old Clancy. That may mean living in castles has become outmoded or could it be that your confidence and trust in your governmental officials are instead the measure of the effectiveness of the
To every man his due
The Closed Door
Producing Organization
National Association of Educational Broadcasters
WHA (Radio station : Madison, Wis.)
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University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Episode Description
The Closed Door: Search and Seizure
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Dramatic-narrative series on principles of justice under the American system of law, particularly the rights of defendants.
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Advisor: Fellman, David, 1907-2003
Composer: Voegeli, Don
Producing Organization: National Association of Educational Broadcasters
Producing Organization: WHA (Radio station : Madison, Wis.)
Production Manager: Schmidt, Karl
Writer: Carlson, Elizabeth
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 62-17-3 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:29:25
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Chicago: “To every man his due; The Closed Door,” 1961-10-16, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed October 23, 2021,
MLA: “To every man his due; The Closed Door.” 1961-10-16. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. October 23, 2021. <>.
APA: To every man his due; The Closed Door. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from