Feds Sued for Searching Private Property in Louisiana

(PatriotNews.net) – Louisiana is facing legal action over government agents trespassing on private land without permission. Although the U.S. Constitution doesn’t explicitly safeguard private property, a century-old Supreme Court ruling has emboldened officials to enter private property under the “open fields” doctrine. However, states like Louisiana have their own standards, as highlighted in a recent lawsuit filed by the Institute for Justice.

Tom Manuel, a landowner from East Feliciana, is taking legal action against the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) after agents trespassed on his property twice in December 2023. Manuel, a forestry professional and wildlife biologist, owns a 240-acre tree farm primarily used for timber harvesting and hunting. Despite having clear property boundaries, LDWF agents entered Manuel’s land without a warrant or permission, citing the “open fields” doctrine.

The lawsuit challenges Louisiana‘s law that permits state wildlife agents to enter private land without a warrant. Manuel contends that such actions violate Louisiana’s state constitution, which prohibits unreasonable searches or invasions of privacy on private property. His legal team argues that private land, like Manuel’s tree farm, should be protected under the state constitution’s right to privacy clause.

James Knight, one of Manuel’s attorneys, asserts that current laws grant Louisiana officials excessive discretion to trespass on private lands, allowing them to take advantage and undermining property rights. The lawsuit seeks to address the broader issue of government overreach and restore constitutional protections for private property owners in Louisiana.

While Manuel emphasizes his respect for law enforcement and state agencies, he underscores the importance of privacy rights on private land. He maintains that individuals should have the right to privacy and security on their property without unwarranted intrusion from government officials.

The outcome of this lawsuit could have significant implications for property rights and government accountability in Louisiana. As similar cases unfold in other states, the legal battle highlights the ongoing tension between government authority and individual liberties on private property.

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