First, the term “welfare” is addressed in its proper context, and then how the term of art is wrongfully used.
The word “welfare” is found in the Bible 7 times. It is always used to mean health, prosperity, safety, wellness, etc.
Shalom, Hebrew Strong's #7965, is found 236 times in the OT. It is translated as peace (175), well (14), peaceably (9), welfare (5), salute + <H7592> (4), prosperity (4), did (3), safe (3), health (2), peaceable (2), miscellaneous translations (15). It is translated as “welfare” in the following verses:
Genesis 43:27 - And he asked them of their welfare, and said, Is your father well, the old man of whom ye spake? Is he yet alive?
Exodus 18:7 - And Moses went out to meet his father in law, and did obeisance, and kissed him; and they asked each other of their welfare; and they came into the tent.
1 Chronicles 18:10 - He sent Hadoram his son to king David, to enquire of his welfare, and to congratulate him, because he had fought against Hadarezer, and smitten him; (for Hadarezer had war with Tou;) and with him all manner of vessels of gold and silver and brass.
Psalm 69:22 - Let their table become a snare before them: and that which should have been for their welfare, let it become a trap.
Ṭôb, Hebrew Strong's #2896, is found 559 times in the OT. It is translated as good (361), better (72), well (20), goodness (16), goodly (9), best (8), merry (7), fair (7), prosperity (6), precious (4), fine (3), wealth (3), beautiful (2), fairer (2), favour (2), glad (2), miscellaneous translations (35). It is translated as “welfare” in the following verse:Jeremiah 38:4 - Therefore the princes said unto the king, We beseech thee, let this man be put to death: for thus he weakeneth the hands of the men of war that remain in this city, and the hands of all the people, in speaking such words unto them: for this man seeketh not the welfare of this people, but the hurt.
Yeshûʿâ, Hebrew Strong's #3444, is found 78 times in the OT. It is translated as salvation (65), help (4), deliverance (3), health (3), save (1), saving (1), welfare (1). It is translated as “welfare” in the following verse:Nehemiah 2:10 - When Sanballat the Horonite, and Tobiah the servant, the Ammonite, heard of it, it grieved them exceedingly that there was come a man to seek the welfare of the children of Israel.
DEFINITIONSJob 30:15 - Terrors are turned upon me: they pursue my soul as the wind: and my welfare passeth away as a cloud.
Webster’s Dictionary of the English Language, 1828
Bouvier’s Law Dictionary, 1856WELFARE, noun [well and fare, a good faring; G.]
1. Exemption from misfortune, sickness, calamity or evil; the enjoyment of health and the common blessings of life; prosperity; happiness; applied to persons.
2. Exemption from any unusual evil or calamity; the enjoyment of peace and prosperity, or the ordinary blessings of society and civil government; applied to states.
The Century Dictionary, an Encyclopedic Lexicon of the English Language, 1895
Black’s Law Dictionary, 1st Edition, 1891 and 2nd Edition, 1910welfare (wel'far), n. [< ME. welfare (= MLG.wolvare); <. Well2 + fare1.]
1. A state or condition of doing well; prosperous or satisfactory course or relation; exemption from evil; state with respect to well-being: as, to promote the physical or the spiritual welfare of society; to inquire after a friend's welfare; to be anxious about the welfare of a ship at sea.
2. A source of well-being; a blessing; a good.
Black’s Law Dictionary, 4th Edition, 1968PUBLIC WELFARE.
The prosperity, well-being, or convenience of the public at large, or of a whole community, as distinguished from the advantage of an individual or limited class. See 4 Ohio St. 499.
Well-doing or well-being in any respect; the enjoyment of health and common blessings of life; exemption from any evil or calamity; prosperity; happiness. Wiseman v. Tanner, D.C. Wash., 221 F. 694, 698.
Black’s Law Dictionary, 5th Edition, 1979Public welfare.
The prosperity, well-being, or convenience of the public at large, or of a whole community, as distinguished from the advantage of an individual or limited class. Shaver v. Starrett, 4 Ohio St. 499. It embraces the primary social interests of safety, order, morals, economic interest, and non-material and political interests. State v. Hutchinson Ice Cream Co., 168 Iowa, 1, 147 N.W. 195, 199, L.R.A.1917B, 198. In the development of our civic life, the definition of "public welfare" has also developed until it has been held to bring within its purview regulations for the promotion of economic welfare and public convenience. Pettis v. Alpha Alpha Chapter of Phi Beta Pi, 115 Neb. 525, 213 N.W. 835, 838.
Well-doing or well-being in any respect; the enjoyment of health and common blessings of life; exemption from any evil or calamity; prosperity; happiness. See also General welfare; Public welfare.
Constitutional provision (Art. I, § 8) permitting the federal government to enact laws for the overall general welfare of the people. It is the basis for the exercise of implied powers necessary to carry out the express provisions of the Constitution.
The prosperity, well-being, or convenience of the public at large, or of a whole community, as distinguished from the advantage of an individual or limited class. It embraces the primary social interests of safety, order, morals, economic interest, and non-material and political interests. In the development of our civic life, the definition of "public welfare" has also developed until it has been held to bring within its purview regulations for the promotion of economic welfare and public convenience.
General term used to describe the government's concern for the health, peace, morals, and safety of its citizens.
General welfare clause.
The provision of the U.S. Constitution (Art. I, Sec. 8, Cl. I) which declares that Congress may tax and pay debts in order to provide for the "general welfare of the United States."
All of the above definitions would suggest that a “welfare check” would have the best interest of the people (whether individually or collectively) at heart. Not so…
Social Legislation and the Courts, Henry Campbell Black, 1921
Now this is an era of change. The day of intensive individualism is past. We are no longer an aggregation of units: society is the unit. Democracy is an organization of society in which every man is the keeper of his brother's welfare. Whatever injures or debases one reacts upon the whole. Whatever elevates one makes for the common good. Moreover, it is not an age of simple and uncomplicated relations. More and more the complexity of social and industrial interactions increases. So it is necessary to revise old rules, to discard outgrown standards.
The Law Dictionary on “Welfare Check:”
Legal Beagle on “Welfare Check:”When a loved one fails to respond, the police can be called in to conduct a welfare check.
No court order is required for the police to conduct a welfare check.
Essentially, as long as they have reasonable grounds to believe that an inhabitant in a residence in endangered, they can legally enter the premises.
They typically knock on the door and await a response before announcing their law enforcement affiliation.
If they still receive no response, they may enter the property.
*************A police welfare check is a law enforcement function performed with significant regularity.
A police welfare check occurs when a report is made to law enforcement about an individual who may be in some sort of peril, usually in that person's residence.
Through a police welfare check, law enforcement goes to the person's residence, usually along with the person who made the report. Law enforcement officers enter the residence to determine the safety of the individual.
A police welfare check is a significant law enforcement function because it allows for professional intervention if an individual is in distress or need of assistance because of a health condition, injury or some other situation.
A court order is not necessary since the purpose of the check is to provide immediate protection for an individual who may be in need of emergency assistance.
Public Policy Enforcers, under the guise of “welfare checks,” are breaking into homes, damaging and stealing property, kidnapping and murdering people. A quick search produced these notable infringements:
Mentally disabled woman who locked herself in her room was shot multiple times during “welfare check”. LINK
Police shoot and kill elderly man who drew a gun on them when they broke into his house at midnight to do a “welfare check”. LINK
Elderly man arrested and private property was stolen when guns and “explosives” were found during a “welfare check.” LINK
Arrests made when drugs were found during a “welfare check.” LINK
Here is an article about a recent court case:
Police Can Now Say These 2 Words To Enter Your Home Without A Warrant, Judge Rules
A federal judge has ruled that police have the right to enter homes without a warrant as long as they claim to be conducting a “welfare check.”
Lieutenant Joseph Buccilli did not violate the Fourth Amendment when he forced his way into the home of Timothy, LuAnn and Joseph Batt without a warrant in 2012, U.S. District Judge Frank Geraci Jr ruled earlier this year. The case currently is being appealed, and a ruling is expected this fall.
Buccilli was at the home to check on the welfare of Fred Puntoriero, LuAnn’s father, who suffered from dementia.
The Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) is representing the family.
“Buccilli and another officer arrived at the Batt home and told Joe they wanted to conduct a welfare check on his grandfather,” the HSLSA reported. “After Joe respectfully refused, explaining that his grandfather had just been seen by a nurse’s aide who reported that all was well, Buccelli forced his way in.”
Geraci concluded in March that Buccilli was immune from the Fourth Amendment because police do not need warrants for welfare checks on at-risk adults, The New York Law Journal reported . Geraci upheld a similar decision made by U.S. Magistrate Judge Leslie Foschio of the Western District of New York in July 2016.
“At issue in this case are so-called welfare checks, which we believe are being used by some officials to circumvent constitutional protection for private citizens to be safe and secure in their homes,” HSLDA contended.
The Batts – who are members of the HSLDA — contend Buccilli violated the Fourth Amendment by entering their home without a search warrant.
‘I Have a Right to Enter the House’
“Numerous opinions in federal courts all the way up to the Supreme Court specifically declare that warrantless welfare checks in the home are subject to traditional Fourth Amendment analysis,” according to the HSLDA. “Unless there is a clearly defined emergency, a state official simply cannot enter a home without a court order.”
Buccilli said a search warrant was not needed. The encounter was recorded on video.
“All I know is a county agency called,” Buccilli said. “And based on their request, I have a right to enter the house and forcibly, if need be, when somebody’s welfare is possibly in question. And that’s why I’m here. The allegation was made that they wanted a welfare check.”
Upon entering the home, Buccilli reported that Fred Puntoriero was in a good environment.
HSLDA said the case could have a major effect on privacy.
“The Fourth Amendment right of individuals to remain safe and secure in their own homes is not only a fundamental civil liberty; it complements the right of parents to direct the education of their children from the sanctuary of home,” HSLDA argued. “Although this case deals with an unwarranted and non-emergency welfare check on an elderly person, the same principles apply to welfare checks on younger people.”
URLs in this post:
 http://www.newyorklawjournal.com/id=120 ... 0516145044