Yes, Virginia, A Search Warrant Is Required.
I discovered late last week that the Village of Germantown did a warrantless search of my property back in August of 2007. The Village used the ruse of an inspection as the color of law under which the warrantless search was done. The Village agent claims to have not entered my house or out-buildings, but just walked about on the premises as if he owned it. When I asked him to see a copy of the search warrant he obtained prior to entering my property, his answer was, "I don't need a search warrant". Once the subject of warrants came up, his memory of exact dates and times became fuzzy.
Now that the question is not philosophical, but practical, I did some research. It turns out the Village did need a type of non-criminal search warrant called a Special Inspection Warrant. The requirements for a when a Special Inspection Warrant is needed and how to obtain one is found in Wis Stats. 66.0119.
As an aside, since Wis Stats. 66.0119 defines inspectors of any type as "peace officers" does that mean inspectors of any type can carried concealed weapons under 941.23?
So, yesterday, Friday, July 18, 2008, I did what little I could to put the Village on notice that in my little corner of the Village I believe the state constitution is the supreme law of the land and is the authority under which the Village derives its just powers. I did so by delivering a Notice of Denial of Permission to Inspect to the 4 departments most likely to hold the attitude: "We are inspectors. We don't need Warrants.". These are the Village Inspections (Chief and assistant inspector), Village DPW, Village Treasurer (both Treasure and the apprasier), and the Village Clerk (as the Village record keeper).
I am not naive enough to believe that Federal, State, or Local governments are going to let Rights, Constitutions, or statutes interfere with something as vital as confiscating money from the serfs and calling it tax revenue. But, I do believe the point of the fourth amendment to the US Constitution and Article I, Section 11 of the Wisconsin State Constitution is not about hiding things, but is all about making tyranny inconvienient for tyrants, be they tyrants of the Federal, State, or local strain.
But, if the Constitution is not to be practiced at home, then it is dead and so is the Republic for which it stood.