Request for Assistance from Attorney Joshua Windham, Institute for Justice, 11/11/20.

Under the United States Constitution, the “open fields doctrine” says that private land—including forests, fields, and farms—gets no constitutional protection from warrantless searches. But many state constitutions reject that doctrine. Alabama courts haven’t yet weighed in on the issue, but they should: Alabama Code Section 9-2-65(a)(6) empowers fish and game wardens “[t]o enter upon any land or water in the performance of their duty.” This is troubling, because there doesn’t appear to be any warrant requirement, which suggests that game wardens may be in a position to abuse the “open fields doctrine” to trespass on your private land. If you or somebody you know believes this is happening in Alabama, please contact attorney Josh Windham at the Institute for Justice (, and let him know what’s going on.