Entering the Premises

The main way police search houses without warrants, however, is because the homeowner (or another resident) consents to the search.  The consent must be voluntary and cannot be coerced.  Displays of force or threats to get search warrants can call the search into question.  A person does not have to consent to a voluntary search of a home.

Police use a technique called a “knock and talk” which courts have consistently upheld as being valid.  This is where an officer merely knocks on the door and asks to search. Where police attempt to manipulate or coerce consent is where there have been legal problems with the searches.

Consent is more than just another search warrant exception; it is also a waiver of the necessity of police to have probable cause for the search. 

The warrant requirement was designed primarily to interpose a neutral magistrate’s judgment between the law enforcement officer zealously ferreting out crime and the privacy and personal security of individual citizens.

Ruth Paine described what happened when police came to her door on the day of the assassination:

Mr. JENNER. The police arrived and what occurred.

Mrs. PAINE. I went to the door. They announced themselves as from both the sheriff's office and the Dallas Police Office, showed me at least one package or two. I was very surprised.

Mr. JENNER. Did you say anything?

Mrs. PAINE. I said nothing. I think I just dropped my jaw. And the man in front said by way of explanation "We have Lee Oswald in custody. He is charged with shooting an officer." This is the first I had any idea that Lee might be in trouble with the police or in any way involved in the day's events. I asked them to come in. They said they wanted to search the house. I asked if they had a warrant. They said they didn't. They said they could get the sheriff out here right away with one if I insisted. And I said no, that was all right, they could be my guests. They then did search the house.

Mr. JENNER. How many police officers were there?

Mrs. PAINE. There were six altogether, and they were busy in various parts of the house.

( 3 H 78-79  )


The six officers present during the Paine search on Friday were Dallas Police detectives Guy F. Rose, John P. Adamcik and Richard S. Stovall and County Sheriff Detectives Harry Weatherford, E.W. ( Buddy ) Walthers, and J.L. Oxford. 

( 7 H 229 )

Rose, Adamcik, Stovall and Walthers gave testimony to the Warren Commission. Weatherford and Oxford were never called to testify.

Ruth Paine's consent to a search would have been considered "coerced consent" because her consent was given after the officer threatened to obtain a warrant and she yielded to this factor rather than make her own determination to insist on seeing a warrant before any search commenced.

The reason why they went there without a search warrant was because in order to obtain a search warrant, the requestor has to explain to the court SPECIFICALLY what it is he is looking for. Since they didn't know what they were looking for, they couldn't apply for a search warrant.

"The right of the people 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." -- The 4th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America 

Mr. BELIN. All right, did you have a search warrant when you went out there?

Mr. ADAMCIK. No, sir; we did not.

Mr. BELIN. Any particular reason why you didn't?

Mr. ADAMCIK. Well, at the time, we didn't know what we would find. We didn't have any idea what this address meant to us, and we were mainly going over to see who was there.

( 7 H 204 )

"We were just--not actually knowing what we were looking for, just searching.." Deputy Sheriff Buddy Walthers ( 7 H 548 )

Mrs. Paine was told by police that Oswald was in custody and being charged with shooting a police officer. This was a false statement used to explain the reason for the search. At the time of the search, Oswald was not charged with killing Tippit. False statements as to the purpose of the search can render a consent invalid.

Of course, the police had their own version of how they entered the premises, testifying that Mrs. Paine said she was "expecting them" to show up at her door and that she had "no objection whatsoever" to the search. ( 7 H 548 )

In the Rose and Walthers version, there is no mention of Mrs. Paine's request to see a search warrant.

In his Warren Commission testimony, Sheriff Deputy "Buddy" Walthers slipped and said that
"it didn't appear that her or Mrs. Oswald, or Marina, ....it didn't appear that they knew that Oswald had been arrested at all--the way they talked." ( ibid. )

Commission counsel asked Walthers how it could be that on the one hand Mrs. Paine said that she "expected them" and on the other hand did not know that Oswald had been arrested ?

Mr. WALTHERS. ... when we went to the door, what turned out to be Mrs. Paine just as soon as we stepped on the porch, she said, "Come on in, we've been expecting you, and we didn't have any trouble at all--we just went right on in and stared asking her--at that time it didn't appear that her or Mrs. Oswald, or Marina, who came up carrying one of the babies in the living room--it didn't appear that they knew that Oswald had been arrested at all--the way they talked.

Mr. LIEBELER. How do you account for the fact that Mrs. Paine said, "Come on in, we've been expecting you?"

Mr. WALTHERS. I don't know--to this day, I don't know.

Mr. LIEBELER. Are you sure that's what she said?

Mr. WALTHERS. I know that's what she said.

Mr. LIEBELER. Mrs. Paine said that?

Mr. WALTHERS. Yes, sir; she said, "Come on in, we have been expecting you."

( ibid.)

The Dallas Police Report on the matter had Mrs. Paine using even more bizarre terms, allegedly telling police " Yes, I know that you need to save all the time you can, and it is certainly all right with me." Why Mrs. Paine would be concerned with how the Dallas Police spent their time, in light of the fact that the alleged perpetrator was already in police custody, is unclear.

The Search of the Paine Property on November 22, 1963

The Police Searches....Were They Valid ?


"If the search is conducted and proves fruitless, that in itself may convince the police that an arrest with its possible stigma and embarrassment is unnecessary, or that a far more extensive search pursuant to a warrant is not justified."--H. Morley Swingle and Kevin M. Zoellner

Police usually need a search warrant in order to search a house.

As a rule of thumb, the more private an area is to an individual, the more difficult it is for the police to search under the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.  A home obviously has the greatest expectation of privacy and is clearly more private than an office or a car or any other place the police may search for drugs, weapons, or even computers.  Police can only search without a warrant in very limited circumstances.

If the police search a home improperly, then the evidence will not be admissible during a trial.  This can mean cases ranging from possession of drugs all the way up to murder cases, can be severely crippled or even thrown out because of an invalid entry by police into a home.

Police can use an exception called “exigent circumstances” to do warrant-less entries into the home.  Where police have probable cause to believe an offense has been committed and there are “exigent circumstances” they can enter a house without a warrant.  Examples include if they are in “hot pursuit” of a suspect, there is clearly danger to someone inside, or if the officer is in danger.  Another exigent circumstance is if the officer believes evidence is being destroyed inside.  For an officer to claim he fears that there is destruction of evidence, he needs to have strong probable cause of a serious offense.

There were no "exigent circumstances" exempting the police from obtaining search warrants in any of the searches they conducted.

The Dallas Police made two trips to the Paine residence to search it. One without a warrant on the day of the assassination and one with a warrant the following day. The police also conducted a search of Oswald's room at the boarding house at 1026 North Beckley on the day of the assassination.

We'll look at the two Paine searches, beginning with the first search conducted on the day of the assassination, Friday, November 22, 1963, the search for which they had no warrant.

The Search of the Paine Property on November 23, 1963


Mrs. PAINE. Anyway, in the afternoon I was the only one there and I felt I had better get some grocery shopping done so as to be prepared for a long stay home just answering the doorbell and telling what I could to the people who wanted to know. I was just preparing to go to the grocery store when several officers arrived again from the Dallas Police Office and asked if they could search.
This time I was in the yard, the front yard on the grass, and asked if they could search and held up their warrant and I said, yes, they could search. They said they were looking for something specific and I said, "I want to go to the grocery store, I'll just go and you go ahead and do your searching."  ( 3 H 85 )

The "something specific" they were looking for had to have been something they had seen in the garage the day before, during the consent search.

The next day, once they KNEW what they were looking for, they GOT the search warrant and went back to the Paine residence to execute it.

Mr. BALL.  On Saturday morning you went out to Irving again?

Mr. ROSE.  Yes, sir; I did.

Mr. BALL.  At this time you had a search warrant?

Mr. ROSE.  Yes, sir; I did.

Mr. BALL.  What did you search on this day?

Mr. ROSE.  We made a search of the garage, mainly, on this day since quite a bit of Lee Oswald's property was in the garage.

( 7 H 231 )


And lo and behold, they "found" "the backyard photographs".

Mr. BALL.  What did you find there?

Mr. ROSE.  Well, I found two sea bags, three suitcases, and two cardboard boxes and all of them contained numerous items of property of Oswald.

Mr. BALL.  Did you find some pictures?

Mr. ROSE.  Yes; I found two negatives first that showed Lee Oswald holding a rifle in his hand, wearing a pistol at his hip, and right with those negatives I found a developed picture--I don't know what you call it, but anyway a picture that had been developed from the negative of him holding this rifle, and Detective McCabe was standing there and he found the other picture--of Oswald holding the rifle.

( 7 H 231 )

THAT'S how Michael Paine saw the "backyard photograph" CE-133-A on the evening of the assassination and the cops didn't "FIND" it until Saturday.

Now you know.

Now you know also that Gus Rose was a liar when he said that they found it on Saturday.

So what else did Gus Rose lie about ?

What else did the Dallas Police lie about ?

The reader should note that NOTHING on the above list supports the charge against Oswald for murdering a policeman, which the Dallas Police used as a reason for their desire to search the Paine property. That is, unless, Tippit was killed with a blanket, a camera, or several publications. To that end, the search of the Paine residence proved fruitless.

The Search of the Garage

The Paine garage was also searched by the Dallas authorities. One of the pieces of evidence that was found in the garage an was confiscated was an old gray blanket that Marina Oswald told the Dallas Police held Oswald's rifle. 

But as I've already shown, Mrs. Paine testified differently:

I said nothing. I think I just dropped my jaw. And the man in front said by way of explanation "We have Lee Oswald in custody. He is charged with shooting an officer." This is the first I had any idea that Lee might be in trouble with the police or in any way involved in the day's events.

( 3 H 78-79 )

It would seem to come down to the word of Ruth Paine versus that of two Dallas detectives and a Deputy Sheriff.

But one of those Dallas detectives backed up Mrs. Paine's version at least partially:

Mr. STOVALL. At that time we told her that we wanted to search the house. We explained to her that we did not have a search warrant but if she wanted us to get one we would, and she said, "That won't be necessary"--for us to come right on in, so we went on in the house and started to search out the house...

( 7 H 188 )

The evidence indicates that the authorities gained access to the Paine residence by making a false statement that Oswald was being charged with the murder of Tippit three or four hours before the charges were actually formally filed and by assuring Mrs. Paine that her insistence on their having a search warrant was fruitless. By lying and coercion, the authorities were able to gain access to the property and conduct a search without showing probable cause.

Copyright 2015 © Gilbert Jesus. All rights reserved.

The Search of the Home

Michael Paine was at work when the assassination occurred. He was separated from his wife at the time and showed up at the house after the police had started searching:

Mr. LIEBELER. What time did you arrive at your home in Irving?

Mr. PAINE. I would guess about 3 or 3:30, somewhere in that neighborhood.

Mr. LIEBELER. Who was there when you arrived?

Mr. PAINE. The police, the Dallas police mostly were there.

They did remove some things from the Paine home on the day of the assassination.

Mr. LIEBELER. What else happened?

Mr. PAINE. We went out of the garage, I don't think he took the blanket then even.

Mr. LIEBELER. This is the Dallas police officer?

Mr. PAINE. Yes, plainclothesman, wearing black hats; one of them had one of those Texas hats. He collected all the useless stuff in our house, he went around and collected all the files of Ruth, and a drawer of cameras, mostly belonging to me. I tried to tell him one of the files contained our music or something like that, and the more I suggested it, that he not bother taking those, the more insistent he was in taking those objects. So with the various boxes and piles of stuff, mostly of our stuff, we got in the car and went off, and he was quite irked that we had wasted quite enough time around there, he said, and Ruth was irked, and everybody was irked by it. He wouldn't let us be helpful, and though we were he became angry when we tried to be helpful or something that we would suggest that he should do.

( 2 H 428 )


This is the one of the problems with the consent search. Without the search warrant, the police could take anything and everything. As has already been shown, the Dallas Police took many items that were not even Oswald's---items that belonged to Mr. and Mrs. Paine and were identified by the Paines as being their property. The Paine's attempts to dissuade the Police from taking their belongings created tension between them and their invaders.