You are speaking with a possible suspect outside of that person’s residence. He is acting slightly unusual for someone unexpectedly questioned by the police. When asked whether there are weapons anywhere on the property, he stops talking and walks into the house.
Do you follow him into his home?
You have what you believe to be a reasonable concern that this person now presents an imminent danger to you, himself or anyone else inside the home. He was acting nervous. Numerous neighbors had previously voiced fears that he had weapons in his home and would use them if provoked.
However, you do not have a warrant to enter the home. Entering the property without a warrant could open you to claims that you violated the resident’s protection against unfair search and seizures.
Officers in a similar situation chose to enter the home, and were sued by the homeowners.
A high school principal in Burbank, Calif., contacted the local police department after learning that one of her students had reportedly threatened a school shooting. Many parents had kept their children home from school on that particular day out of fear that the rumor was true. Adding to the principal’s concerns, the student in question was a victim of bullying and was not at school that day – two warning signs of school violence.
When the police officers arrived at the student’s house, no one answered the door or the phone. However, the student’s mother answered her cell phone and told police she and her son were in the house. When the officer said he was at the house and would like to speak with her, she and her son reluctantly came outside.
The student and his mother exhibited numerous odd behaviors while talking to the police officers. The mother never asked why the police wanted to talk to her and her son. The son acted surprised that police would investigate his alleged intent to cause harm to his classmates. The mother refused to allow the officers to continue their conversation inside her home, away from the prying eyes of curious neighbors. And instead of answering when asked if there were any weapons in the home, the mother and son went back into the house.
The officers, concerned for their safety and that of anyone else inside the home, followed the mother and son into the house. The officers spoke some more with them and the boy’s father, who eventually joined them all in the living room. The officers determined that the allegations about the student were simply rumors and left without searching the house or any of its inhabitants.
Claiming the officers had violated their Fourth Amendment rights by entering the home without a warrant, the student’s parents sued the police officers in federal court. The case eventually was heard by the U.S. Supreme Court, which decided in January that, in light of the strange behavior of the student and his mother, the police officers had a right to enter the home.
Although police generally require a warrant to enter a private property, there are exceptions to that rule. Clearly, police are allowed to enter a home without a warrant if the resident verbally OKs their entrance or if a property search is a condition of community control or parole. The U.S. Supreme Court has also found that there are situations in which an emergency requires police to enter without a warrant.
In 1963, the Court upheld that exigent entrances are permissible if there is a reasonable belief that evidence will be destroyed unless the police enter the property to stop it. And last year, the Court struck down the so-called “police created” doctrine that holds that the exigency cannot be created by police, such as loudly knocking on a door and announcing their presence. The Court found that evidence is not typically destroyed unless there is a concern that the evidence might end up in the hands of law enforcement.
The Court’s recent decision that the reasonable suspicion of imminent danger is also a valid basis for warrantless entry expands the definition of exigent entry. However, caution should be used any time you consider a warrantless entry. Just as there are exceptions to when a warrant is needed, there are exceptions to when an exigent entry is allowed.
This article is not to be considered legal advice. Please consult your police legal advisor regarding any legal issue.
Sherri Bevan Walsh is the Summit County Prosecutor.
Remember Senate Bill 5, the itsy bitsy piece of legislation that consumed the OPBA for eleven months last year? Remember Senate Bill 5's long formation process involving additions, modifications and ultimately the final amendments that resulted in the final legislation?
To refresh your memory, among the last additions to Senate Bill 5 (SB5) were the prohibitions against fair-share agreements and payroll deductions directed to union political action committees. Those additions had nothing to do with SB5's stated purpose – "financial relief and flexibility for strapped public employers" – and everything to do with its real purpose which was to strip unions of their financial resources, the same resources used to elect Democrats and/or to support causes favorable to workers.
Fair-share agreements are essential for any chance of success by a union. Simply put, they are the provision in your contract that requires all employees to either join the union or to pay their fair share to the union. Obviously, such agreements maximize the union's financial resources but they also foster the American tradition that no one (without good cause) should be permitted to get a "free-ride".
Public opinion polls taken last Fall indicated that Ohioans bought into many of SB5's elements. They liked SB5's pay requirements and its anti-seniority prohibitions not to mention its shift in health-care burdens. At least those elements of SB5 supported its stated purpose. Had those elements of SB5 been adopted, public employers could have then followed the tactics routinely used by many private sector non-union employers ie., eliminate the more senior, highly paid employee leaving behind the newer, less paid employees, some of whom are now compensated from a newly created 2nd tier for wages and even benefits.
Had SB5 been limited to include only those aspects addressing employee wages and benefits, it would have been a much tougher fight for your OPBA sponsored "Protector of the Protectors" opposition group to defeat the bill. Instead, Ohioans were wise enough to recognize SB5 for what it was: an over-reach; a law driven by political vindictiveness and a sinister ulterior motive; a hypocritical grab by anti-union/anti-Democratic politicians, who themselves survive and/or thrive from their own special interests' political action committees.
Thankfully, Ohio voters recognized and rejected the "over-reach" that Senate Bill 5 represented. Ohioans sent a resounding message to Kasich and his supporters to back off from any political agenda that serves no purpose other than to eliminate political opposition and worker's rights.
Unfortunately, there still are a substantial amount of misguided and hostile individuals in Ohio and nation-wide who believe that unions are the cause of all evil and a hindrance to the success of the U.S. economy. They have now turned their attention and energy to implementing "right-to-work" laws in many of the 28 states, including Ohio, that currently do not have one.
Right- to-work laws came into effect in 1947 with the passage of the "Taft-Hartley Act" by the U.S. Congress. Under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), passed 12 years earlier in 1935, all private sector unions were allowed to enter into labor contracts that required employees at private sector workplaces to either become members of the union or pay their "fair-share" for the union's services and benefits. The Taft-Hartley Act amended the NLRA so as to permit any of the 50 states the ability to pass their own law that would forbid "union shops" in their state. To date, 23 states have implemented a right-to-work law.
Proponents of right-to-work laws of course claim that individual freedom is restricted when workers are forced to pay fees when they do not wish to. Looking beyond that claim, the real motive of right-to-work law proponents is no different than the motive of the over-reaching legislators in Ohio – to weaken the union at the shop level and to undermine the financial resources of the private sector unions who, too, generally support and contribute to Democratic and pro-worker candidates and causes.
This obvious motive notwithstanding, right-to-work campaigns famously assert the line successfully used by the Indiana Chamber of Commerce during its successful campaign for a right-to-work law there – "that the law helps create jobs, because companies searching for a good location won't even consider non-right-to-work states for their business growth and expansion plans."
Whether or not right-to-work laws harm states is a matter of interpretation. Former U.S. Labor Department economist Jared Berstein recently told the Washington Post that "other variables affect the job-growth equation, including natural resources, infrastructure, workforce quality, location, standard of living, schools, tax rates and other policy decisions not related to unionization.
Even our beloved Governor Kasich knows that union shops, and laws allowing fair-share agreements, are not an obstacle to job growth or to a state's fiscal success. Kasich is on record as being "dismissive" of a right-to-work law in Ohio, commenting to the Associated Press that "the public is not prepared for that and does not have an understanding of the issue."
Kasich must concede and disagree with the falsehoods spread by right-to-work proponents because he often boasts about the superior ranking and favorable conditions he has brought to Ohio. Ohio's willingness to permit unions to enjoy full membership has not stopped American Greetings, Wendy's and others from leaving or Ford, Chrysler and Timken from expanding.
The sad fact is that hardly any private sector employees are actually "union" and covered by collective bargaining agreements. There are less than 2 out of every 10 U.S. workers who are union members. Under this circumstance, how much difference could a right-to-work law even make? Except, of course, to the financial resources of the union, some of which support political causes and candidates!
I recently read an article written by Holly Rosenkrantz for Bloomberg News where she quoted a labor law professor from Clark University as saying "There is a very strong likelihood that a Republican Congress and a Republican White House would pass a national right-to-work law. It should be expected from a Republican Congress that, in terms of national jobs growth, sees unions as a part the problem rather than part of the solution."
In the same article, Rosenkrantz wrote that "Labor leaders say Republicans trying to limit unions are misreading public sentiment, as demonstrated by Ohio voters who repealed a law limiting bargaining for public employees". The labor leaders remark that because of the "backlash against governors who have tried to pass anti-worker laws off as job creation, national Republicans would be wise to take heed." The Bloomburg News article closed with a quote from Harley Shaiken, a prominent labor professor at Cal Berkeley, who said "the likelihood of a national right-to-work law dimmed somewhat after the Ohio vote and the effort in Wisconsin to recall Governor Scott Walker, who also won legislation restricting public worker unions.
How about that, members of the OPBA community? Congratulations, you and the rest of the broad based "Vote No" campaign not only shut down Kasich and his cronies, you may have also become the actual catalyst to a country-wide shutdown of this irrational and wasteful right-to-work movement.
Keep up the good work!
Interest rates on most savings vehicles have been and will probably continue to be at record low levels for the foreseeable future. The Federal Reserve Bank has given indications that they are in no hurry to raise interest rates, for fear it could stall the weak economic recovery. According to Bankrate.com, money market rates in the Greater Cleveland area are in the .05%-.20% range. My guess is that your CDs aren’t doing much better; according to Bankrate.com rates on 2 year CDs at banks in the Cleveland area are running in the 1% to 1.25% range.
For those of you who are in DROP, or considering entering it in the future, you need to be aware of potential changes. While DROP is currently earning an attractive 5% according to the Ohio Police & Fire Pension, this rate could change. The Ohio Police & Fire Pension is considering using the 10 year U.S. Treasury rate as a benchmark for the yield in DROP. With 10 year Treasuries currently yielding 2.1% according to the U.S. Department of Treasury, that is a significant change.
Other than rising healthcare costs and college tuition, we haven’t paid much attention to inflation over the recent past because it has been relatively moderate. Things have changed--with energy costs, grocery prices, and everything else going up in cost, more attention is being paid to inflation. Over the last 12 months, the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased 3.6%.
Now let’s couple low interest rates with inflation. I don’t want to make your blues worse than they already are, but to make your savings rates look worse, you really should factor in inflation to arrive at your cost-adjusted rate of return. Let’s look at an example: if you had $500,000 in DROP, earning 5% with inflation averaging 3%, and each year you withdrew your interest, at the end of 10 years you would still have $500,000 in DROP. But due to the impact of inflation, the purchasing power of that $500,000 would only be about $369,000. Now you see the bite inflation can have on your savings. Think of the impact if the interest rate in DROP drops to the 10 year Treasury rate.
If your income increases at a rate exceeding inflation, then your monthly budget isn’t getting squeezed; but if inflation is greater that the increase in your wages and other sources of income, you are losing ground. Are you retired and on a fixed budget? That could mean financial stress now and for years to come!
Thinking about making changes in your holdings to gain more interest and stay ahead of inflation? Make an educated decision before you make any moves. Let’s look today at two general assets classes and how they cope in periods of inflation.
Stocks have the potential for growth. As companies face increasing material or labor costs they can pass these increases onto their consumers and maintain their margin of profitability. Many stocks have dividends and a track record of steady dividend increases at a rate greater than the rate of inflation. A type of stock, preferred stocks, have fixed yields that would be viewed as an alternative to conventional fixed income investments.
For many investors, especially those in retirement, bonds serve a great need in their portfolios. Bonds may help create a steady income stream that replaces the paychecks that ended with retirement. However bonds have historically not been a good hedge against inflation. The interest on a bond is not indexed to inflation--it does not increase as time goes on, and the purchasing power of the income is reduced because of inflation. Let’s say you have a $1000 bond with a 5% coupon that matures in 10 years; today the income will buy $50 worth of goods and services. In ten years, assuming you still own the bond, you will still get $50 in interest, but it won’t buy the same amount of goods and services it did back in 2011.
Likewise, when the bond matures you will get your face amount, $1000. But it will not buy $1000 worth of goods and services because your principal isn’t indexed to inflation. You are being repaid in deflated dollars. If inflation were to be 3% over the ten year period you held this bond, you would get repaid in dollars that would only buy about $700 in goods and service.
Bonds are subject to interest rate risk; as interest rates rise, the value of bonds tends to move in the opposite direction and decline in value. However, this interest rate risk can be eliminated if you plan to hold the bonds until they mature.
Insurance companies frequently have time deposits, or fixed annuities, which offer rates which may exceed competing time deposit vehicles. A tradeoff is that you will probably limit your access to those funds while they are earning a higher interest rate.
Inflation is just one of many factors you should consider when evaluating investment alternatives. You cannot overlook other considerations--including risk, income needs, and taxes, just to name a few. Your portfolio should be constructed with the needs and constraints of your individual situation in mind.
Don’t let low interest rates coupled with rising inflation get you down! Remember, before you make a change to get higher yields, make sure you fully understand the impact the move could have on you. If you would like to discuss any move you are considering, give Lineweaver Financial Group a call at 216.520.1711 to arrange a complimentary consultation available to all OPBA members.
Lineweaver Financial Group
9035 Sweet Valley Drive
Valley View, OH 44125
Securities offered through Sigma Financial Corporation. Member FINRA/SIPC
Rate of return is for illustrative purposes only and is not indicative of any particular investment; your results will vary. Past market performance is no guarantee of future investment performance or success.