WASHINGTON – A raucous party at a vacant house in the nation’s capital where booze flowed freely, marijuana smoke wafted through the air and scantily clad women giggled dominated U.S. Supreme Court arguments Wednesday.
The case centers on two key questions with potentially far-reaching implications for policing in America: Did D.C. police officers have probable cause to arrest the 16 party-goers in March 2008 for trespassing? And if they did not, were the officers entitled qualified immunity?
Nathaniel Garrett, who represented the party-goers, set the tone early in the hour-long proceeding, telling justices the party included “stripping, drinking and marijuana smoking.”
The case even had a character named “Peaches” or “Tasty,” depending on which party-goer you ask. The woman, participants said, invited them to the party. But it turns out, she didn’t own the house, and the actual homeowner told police no one was supposed to be at the house.
Some of the justices recalled their own partying days, with heavy drinking and pot smoking.
But while they seemed inclined to back the police, overturning a federal district court ruling, the justices did not signal which way they would rule.