Skip to comments.Free to Search and Seize (NY Times OP ED)
Posted on 06/24/2011 10:04:33 AM PDT by The Magical Mischief Tour
THIS spring was a rough season for the Fourth Amendment. The Obama administration petitioned the Supreme Court to allow GPS tracking of vehicles without judicial permission. The Supreme Court ruled that the police could break into a house without a search warrant if, after knocking and announcing themselves, they heard what sounded like evidence being destroyed. Then it refused to see a Fourth Amendment violation where a citizen was jailed for 16 days on the false pretext that he was being held as a material witness to a crime.
In addition, Congress renewed Patriot Act provisions on enhanced surveillance powers until 2015, and the F.B.I. expanded agents authority to comb databases, follow people and rummage through their trash even if they are not suspected of a crime.
None of these are landmark decisions. But together they further erode the privilege of privacy that was championed by Congress and the courts in the mid-to-late-20th century, when the Fourth Amendments warrant requirement was applied to the states, unconstitutionally seized evidence was ruled inadmissible in state trials, and privacy laws were enacted following revelations in the 1970s of domestic spying on antiwar and civil rights groups.
For over a decade now, the government has tried to make us more secure by chipping away at the one provision of the Bill of Rights that pivots on the word secure the Fourth Amendments guarantee of the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures.
(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...
What are you scared of? How much pot are you growing? Your government means well and needs room to maneuver. You need to be like a little mouse when authority comes.
Sarcasm Toggle ON
I was watching a piece about a police officer that was shot. The traffic stop was described as such:
“The officers discovered a suspicious vehicle. They also observed that the occupants were not wearing seat belts. So they decided to initiate a traffic stop to investigate the suspicious vehicle and enforce the seat belt law and other minor traffic violations.” Yup, it sucks that the cop got shot. But the way it was done made me sick, as probable cause for the stop was manufactured. The Police knew the gang members in the car, knew who they were.
Clearly the plethora of traffic laws on the book are simply law enforcement tools designed to subvert the 4th Amendment.
The Sheeple bleet, bleet, bleet, thank you officer friendly for keeping me safe! The officers just smirk about how the idiots gave them every necessary tool to subvert the 4th.
I can not fathom why Americans, and especially American conservatives want to live with a government that is empowered to intervene at any moment in daily life. That is NOT freedom, it is not liberty, it is not pursuit of happiness. BUT the sheeple want it. Many Freepers want it. I just wish I could accept tyranny. I would be happier. I rue the day I read Locke, Jefferson, Blackstone. Why couldn’t I have stuck with watching Brittney get out of her car without panties? I wish I could embrace globull warming and recycling. Damn it is it too late to scrape out my brain and replace it with jello?
No, we don't have the courage or character for true reform, the next election will at best slow down the demise of Western civilization. You cant wait for the next political letdown, it won't change much - now the coming of Jesus in glory, that changes everything, and for that I can't wait.
The New York Times is just a bunch of durn Liberals.
“the sound of evidence being destroyed”.
“Your Honor, we knocked, announced that we were police officers, then listened. We could clearly hear the sound of files being wiped from a hard drive. We used a dynamic entry technique, then, being in fear for our safety, deployed six flashbangs and two tear gas canisters. At this time we noticed the deceased’s dog behaving in an odd manner, and once again, fearing for our safety...”
I have been asking that question of many Freepers, including Jim Rob and no one can give me a straight answer... they just call me a cop hater and tell me to piss off...
I have come to realize that I am not a modern American Conservative. It kills me to realize that. But it is what it is.
I am a different animal, and so are you. The best description I can come up with is:
Constitutional Republican. Or, Jeffersonian Classical Liberal.
I like “Constitutional Republican”, except that it sort of links me with the Republican Party, the GOP. I don’t like the GOP. Not even a little bit. So even having the word “republican” in the description can be misleading in a modern sense. In a classical sense it is a fantastic definition.
I don’t like the Jeffersonian Classical Liberal, because calling myself a “liberal” in the modern sense is not descriptive either. So I am really trying to define this thing.
1. Constitutional enumerated powers.
2. Eliminate the Bill of Rights as redundant.
But then you have the problem of the States. You would have to craft a State Constitution that also uses enumerated powers. Make sure the States do not regulate firearms, religion etc.
Anyway. Work in progress. We need a third party but it’s probably not politically viable. People want their tyranny. They are willing to pay for it.
Classical liberalism is perfect.
Although many here, sadly will freak out at that term on its face... further evidence of the lack of understanding that so pollutes the conservative movement and the repubs today.
Look, I do think the police are over-reaching in some instances. Your example is not one of them.
In your example known gang members are out prowling, looking for trouble. The officers note a minor violation and pull the car over. Then one officer is shot, because the guys in the vehicle were armed.
This you see as evidence of the police overstepping their bounds. No, it’s evidence of the officers recognizing a clear problem from the get-go.
One ponders what crimes were not committed due to these officer’s intervention. You don’t get four or five guys armed in a car who are headed out to dinner, to the mall, the dance club, or the movies. They’re headed somewhere to use their weapons.
According to the decision, what the Supreme actually decided was that police knocking on a door and announcing that they are the police is not a violation of the fourth amendment.
You're omitting the next part, where the cops then proceeded to kick in the door and search the premises absent a warrant...
Look, the police are clearly over the line in some regards and we all know it. Some of the new “permissions” by the courts in the last few years are clearly way over the line.
Just because you recognize it an others don’t, doesn’t mean that you are not a Conservative.
If you demand a close adherence to the U. S. Constitution you certainly are one.
Where I start going south on people is when they pick a case at random, and start going off on the police when there was clearly probably cause and Constitutional grounds.
The case mentioned above where the police noticed known gang members in a car and made a stop to cite the driver was a good case on point. You don’t take a pass on being able to check known gang members out. I don’t want a car full of armed gang members prowling my neighborhood at night. I doubt you do either.
There was a code violation. They made a reasoned stop.
Trying to make the case this was a Fourth Amendment violation makes the person leveling that charge look dim.
Its called a slippery slope and its the reason we are having this conversation to begin with...
There is no such thing as reasonable suspicion or probable cause anymore in law enforcement... the reality of it all is based more on testilying than anything else.
They had valid exigent circumstances. They didn't need a warrant.
I don’t want the Police empowered to do that. Instead I want no restrictions on the 2nd. I will take my chances.
I am aware that I chose an extreme example. That was not on accident. I chose that example to demonstrate my commitment to the 4th amendment.
I stand by the statement!
I appreciate the response, but I wasn’t able to understand your point. Could you expand on that.
“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.”
Moonman, when is the last time you read the 4th?
“There was a code violation. They made a reasoned stop.”
Your statement here is the crux of the debate. You think it is “OK” to stack the books full of reasons for the City, County, or State to intervene in daily activity. I see that threshold as much much higher. I see Freedom to be sacred and not to be trifled with. You, don’t really mind occasionally performing Proskynesis for the State on occasion.
You see routine code violations. You think it’s just fine to empower your government to micro manage people’s lives. I find it makes me ill. I want to vomit in a trashcan.
I demand FREEDOM and LIBERTY. They mean something real to me. To you, routine code violations are something you will support and vote for, and vote to fund. That is why I am not a modern conservative. I will not vote for, nor will I vote to fund the enforcement of chicken shiite micro managing of other people’s behavior. Seat belt laws, texting laws, hand free device laws, vehicle registration laws, 90% of the traffic laws.
As a society we could teach people how to drive cars. We don’t do that. We teach people to comply with laws. That way we have a society of incompetent drivers who need lots of laws. Everybody is in violation, so everybody can be stopped. That is the whole point of drivers licenses, and the the whole “driving is a privilege not a right”.
Traffic laws are used to subvert the 4th.
I usually self identify as a Constitutional Conservative.
Searches and seizures based on valid exigent circumstances are reasonable.
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.
And that part of the amendment is the law that applies to search warrants.
My point is that the police no longer allow for reasonable suspicion to lead into an investigation which produces solid probable cause for an arrest. They simply jump over such basic legal thresholds straight into what courts now call testilying, to make the case.
The Wall Street Journal does a wonderful job of explaining this troubling trend in law enforcement today.
Legal System Struggles With How to React When Police Officers Lie
What do you consider valid exigent circumstances?
I think the point being that they were pulled over for not wearing their seat belts. Remember when they seat belt law was passed. The promise was no one would be pulled over for not wearing their seat belt. Yea. Right. I knew, knew dammit that was just bullshit to get the laws passed. And guess what. I was right.
Anyway, if you want to look at it another way, the officer was killed because of the seatbelt law. Why not? Makes as much sense as anything else.
In this case he thinks the sound of a toilet flushing was valid exigent circumstances...
I bet he loves the “furtive look”.
I have always wondered how in the hell a defense attorney could challenge the probable cause doctrine in a case like this.
Officer: I stopped the car and searched it after the passenger gave me a furtive look.
Attorney: No he didn’t.
Officer: Yes he did.
Judge: Off with his head!
You sum up the whole problem with such cases. Its basically the cops word against the accused. And more and more we are seeing more cops caught lying or testilying on the stand.
And nothing happens to them at all... we just had a cop here in Nashville caught redhanded lying in court on DUI cases. Over 30 of his DUI cases were tossed out due to what they called serious inconsistencies between his reports and the video of the event.
Yet he’s still on patrol, still locking people up for DUI and no doubt still lying on his reports too...
LOL... that's a good one, you got any other jokes you can tell?
Seriously, you don;t believe that crap do you?
Traffic court is nothing more than a money extraction scheme, put in place by politicians looking to fatten the general fund.
Thank you for the link.
If you’re addressing police corruption, I believe there has always been a problem with that, to a lesser/greater extent. Are there bad police officers out there? Yes. There are bad humans in just about any organization. It’s where folks try to make the case that the vast majority if officers are bad, that I roll my eyes and leave the room.
I continue to believe there are officers out there who try to be of service to the community they serve. I still believe most officers fall into that category.
I do believe it is a tough job. I wouldn’t want to be doing it. Coming into constant contact with criminals tends to warp a person’s outlook.
Not only do you see the absolute worst of humanity, but walking into a situation trying to help one person out may cost you your life.
I was outside a club one night. A guy had thrown his date onto the hood of a car and was continuing to act violently toward her. My friend and I tried to come to her aid, when she jumped off that hood and cursed us up one side and down the other, almost becoming violent towards us.
This is what police officers go through on a regular basis. No thanks.
It is a matter of how much risk a person is willing to take on, versus how much risk a person wants to transfer.
I am willing to pay for liberty with risk. Most will not make that bargain. They want safety guaranteed, or at least attenuated. Lots of conservatives make the same arguments you do for freedom. But at the end of the day are pretty happy to have the streets crawling with armed government employees.
As far as the personal culpability of cops goes I have a differing idea of that as well. I would never, ever, not if I was starving to death take a job for any city or county. Police convert the mass tyranny of my neighbors into an individual application of subjugation. Yet cities and counties never find themselves short of applicants. So I cannot respect a person who will trade the God given dignity and self respect of individuals for a big hunk of gubment cheese.
In former times we suffered from lawlessness. Today, we suffer from too many laws. It is an old, old story. Participating in modern law enforcement is to participate in Athenian style democracy. “They” can vote you dead. Our Republican Constitution was designed to thwart the Athenian mob. You know this mob. It was the mob of the guillotine. The mob of the French Revolution.
We have a Declaration of Independence that talks about Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. Then Adams, Locke, Jefferson, Franklin, Washington tried to create a constitution that would keep the mob in check, and the government in check.
Today we have a government that tries to do everything. Constitution be damned. Nothing the Commerce clause cannot accomplish at the federal level. At the local level everybody salivates at the chance to harness the full force of government to control the behavior of other people. I am not a modern conservative in the sense that I don't want to harness the power of government to do anything. I want contact with government to be rare, not routine. Conservatives don't want that. They want “good government”. I want freedom, and I will pay for it in risk.
“If youre addressing police corruption, I believe there has always been a problem with that, to a lesser/greater extent. Are there bad police officers out there? Yes. There are bad humans in just about any organization. Its where folks try to make the case that the vast majority if officers are bad, that I roll my eyes and leave the room.”
This is why you don’t elevate overlords. People will always be corrupt.
It's said that "power corrupts," but actually it's more true that power attracts the corruptible. The sane are usually attracted by other things than power. When they do act, they think of it as service, which has limits. The tyrant, though, seeks mastery, for which he is insatiable, implacable.
David Brin, The Postman (1997)
In the end, what you propose is absolute anarchy.
Someone guns down your spouse on the street, hey, I got a shot off before he ran off. Whoopie. Now he’s free to go two miles over and do it again.
Three months later he’s doing stuff in San Diego. Here’s a guy that would be known to have committed fifteen murders, 72 armed robberies, and an untold amount of other petty larceny or outright felonies. Sad think is, San Diegans don’t have clue one who they are dealing with. Nobody is collecting data and disseminating it with regard to this guy.
There’s no police force or other agency around to develop information and be on the look-out for him. He won’t be picked up at all. And until some unsuspecting citizen is able to avoid this guy’s initial attack and turn the tables, he going on doing what he wants.
This may sound good to you. It doesn’t to me.
Look, please don’t quote some Leftist’s idea of sentient thought from a movie spewing a Liberal’s point of view about a post apocalyptic world to me.
We’re talking about a civilized society that must have some ground-rules.
If you want to talk about some hypothetical post apocalyptic world, I’m not your guy.
The point you keep sailing right past is that how can we be a "civilized society" that has "some ground-rules", when those we hire to enforce our ground-rules, simply ignore them altogether far too often?
You get all puffed up at the mere thought of someone painting the cops with a broad brush yet here you are more or less doing the same, just in the opposite direction...
You would much rather risk being killed by the cops or a SWAT Team who are acting under the guise of exigent circumstances, furtive gestures or information obtained via a criminal informant?
The pendulum swings both ways.
I acknowledge that there are good cops, and you don’t acknowledge there is even one. This to you indicates that I am as biased as you are.
You really don’t have a clue what I believe or don’t.
I think our society has gone SWAT crazy. I don’t believe in quite a bit that is taking place. I’m am perfectly willing to address problem areas. I am not in lock step behind everything the police do.
The place to address what police do, is not to hate the individual officer. It’s to make it so hot for the local city council and managers that they reign in the attack dog portion of their police departments.
If a particular officer is known to be a very problematic guy, then by all means take it to the police chief and the city council and get the guy or guys reigned in. If they won’t do anything, then wage a war against them. Get them removed. Get new people in there who are more sane on such matters.
It is all about how much risk you are willing to shoulder for yourself. I want the government hindered and the people free.
This scenario is not without risk. That is why we need an unfettered 2nd amendment.
You call it anarchy. I call it liberty.
DB, it seems to me that people who make the arguments you are making, have not thought it all the way through. You may think I haven’t either. I guess that’s the nature of this argument.
Someone could come to your home during the day and cause all sorts of havok with your family.
Witnesses could tell the police a lot of information, but then there are no police. No license plate can be presented. No description of the car can be presented. No description of the man or even his name can be provided, even if people know it.
No, the guy is free to drive off and do it again in the U.S. or some place else.
There are literally hundreds if not thousands of scenarios like this that could play out pretty much the same way.
It would take no time at all before war-lords would take over much the same way Somalia was (perhaps still is) being run.
Is that Liberty? Really? No, you give up civilized society for an uncivilized one.
Are you free to travel today? Are you free to associate with whom you chose to? Are you able to procure what you want? Are you able to chose what line of work you wish to participate in? Are you able to chose your own wife, and have relationships with family and friends in a safe environment?
With few exceptions, you are.
You look at exceptions to the rule and blow them out to make it look like we’re living in a police state. I do recognize there are some problems, and I’ve addressed ways to counter them.
We are not living in a police state. We are living in a civilized society, where the power has temporarily swung too far in the direction of law enforcement.
There are ways to remedy that. Campaign for it locally. Get a group together to oppose city councilmen and the police chief who disagrees with you.
Don’t advocate for war-lord replacements.
If we have warlords it is cities next to interstate farming the traffic for revenue. That is just “good government” to most people. I reject it as State sponsored extortion.
The idea of having Police to protect property is fine with me. That is a very limited mission. But you keep telling me over and over how little respect you have for the fourth amendment.
I want Liberty. I demand Freedom. It is my birthright it is my heritage. You want safety. You are willing to give up far too much to get it.
Let me ask you. Should I be required to have a permit to carry a revolver in my belt?
DB, there’s so much confusion in your posts that it’s pointless to continue this.
I haven’t defended one fourth amendment violation. I have explained ways to counter what I believe to be Fourth Amendment infringements.
You say we don’t need police and then you say you actually do see a need for them. Your definition of what cities are, is just bazaar.
You may wish we could live like six people on an island, but it’s not that sensible laws help protect individual rights.
You may wish we could live like six people on an island, but its not that way, and sensible laws help protect individual rights.
Your confusion lies that I have two threads. One thread is supporting the fourth amendment, the other thread of thought is my criticism of the way conservatives vote.
I want freedom. I don't want overlords. How is that confusing?