The Not So Gradual Erosion of the 4th Amendment at the Hands of Well Intentioned Laws

Discussion in 'Law and Justice System' started by George Costanza, Jul 16, 2010.

  1. George Costanza
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    George Costanza A Friendly Liberal

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    Sobriety check points. Driver's license check points. Laws prohibiting cell phone usage while driving. Search and seizure conditions of probation.

    All of this sounds pretty good, doesn't it? Who is in favor of drunk or unlicensed drivers? How many times has some moron just sat there in front of you yapping on a cell phone when the light turns green? Why shouldn't people convicted of crimes have to submit to searches without probable cause - they're CRIMINALS, aren't they?

    Well, in spite of how "good" all of these laws sound, they all have consequences that extend far beyond the face value of what they purport to accomplish. All of these laws have one thing in common - they give law enforcement the opportunity to observe things that are personal to citizens that they would otherwise not be able to observe.

    Your friendly law enforcement officer at the conveniently located checkpoint has much more on his/her mind than just checking for licenses or drunk drivers. They are also looking for contraband in plain sight or anything that will give them a wedge into the interior of the car to search it. You and I get stopped at a checkpoint. Assuming we have not been drinking and we have our licenses and proof of insurance, that's pretty much it. Young, Hispanic kid with a bald head and tats gets stopped at a check point, different story. He may have his license and insurance papers and he may be totally sober. He will be asked: "Do you have anything illegal in the car, there?" When he says no, the next question is automatic: "Mind if I take a look?" If he says OK, he has just given consent to search. It they find anything, game over. And remember - but for the checkpoint, they would never have had the opportunity to be talking to him because they would have had no reason to stop him.

    A person who gets pulled over for talking on a cell phone is subject to the same type of questions resulting in a "consensual search" of the car. Cars can contain a lot of things. On another thread, I mentioned a client of mine who got pulled over for cell phone usage. When the cop asks, "mind if I take a look inside the car?" what are most people going to say - NO? My client had methampetamine in his pocket and a strike prior. He got 32 months in state prison. If there had not been a cell phone law, he probably never would have been stopped.

    It used to be that search and seizure conditions could only be attached to probation where they were reasonably related to the original crime. Drug possession, theft, concealed weapon, etc., are crimes from which it can reasonably be inferred that the person involved may be the type of person who would hide contraband on his person. Hence, there is a logical reason to impose a S&S condition on his probationary status. Well, that has all changed. Current practice calls for S&S conditions regardless of the nature of the original crime.

    So what happens now? Every time there is any contact whatsoever between law enforcement and a citizen, the first question out of the cop's mouth (following the obligatory and TOTALLY disingenuous, "How's it going?") is: "You on probation or parole?" If the person says yes, it's game over - he is searched on the spot.

    What's the point of this lengthy rant?, I hear you cry. It is this. When you applaud such things as check points and the other ruses mentioned in the first paragraph, know that there is much more at stake than it would at first glance appear. What's at stake, my friends, is the status of the Fourth Amendment in this great land.

    And that status is being threatened from all sides these days.
     
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  2. fyrenza
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    fyrenza Ariel Looney Supporting Member

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    Didn't even read you post,

    BUT:

    If our Amendments ARE being "eroded?"

    It is NOT by "well intentioned" folks.

    NOW, I'll go back and see what you posted! ;)
     
  3. Oddball
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    Oddball BANNED Supporting Member

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    I'm not at all convinced of the "well intentioned" part.
     
  4. George Costanza
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    George Costanza A Friendly Liberal

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    Well, I was being charitable - and was generally referring to the good citizens who are in favor us such laws without having the slightest idea what they really mean.

    When it comes to those enacting them, of course not - they are nothing but a bunch of disingenous jerks.
     
  5. George Costanza
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    George Costanza A Friendly Liberal

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  6. Annie
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    Annie Diamond Member

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    seat belt stops.
    helmet laws
    no smoking in all buildings other than, so far, residences
    attempts to regulate certain foods other than purity
    the list goes on and on.

    Personally I see reasons for abiding by the intentions, but not laws or attempts at laws.
     
  7. fyrenza
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    fyrenza Ariel Looney Supporting Member

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    Okay, now I've read it and all I can say is:

    Boo FUCKING Hoo.

    I'm a criminal. I smoke up and I carry it with me.

    Guess what?

    I can't AFFORD you.

    IF I'm caught, that's MY fault. iow my bad

    But guess what?

    I'm not some flipping Menace to Society.

    Cops aren't Out To Get Me.

    If I'm STOOPID? They WILL get me,

    and quite frankly,

    if I wasn't ready to do the time? I wouldn't do the crime.

    Say whatever you want, but the FACT and the TRUTH of the matter is:

    Folks that ARE innocent?

    Don't get hassled and they don't go to jail.
     
  8. George Costanza
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    George Costanza A Friendly Liberal

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    Perhaps the 4th Amendment should be changed to read: "The right of people who are innocent of any crime to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated but, if they are in fact guilty of a crime, then screw them - they can be searched at will, without any type of probable cause whatsoever."

    Only problem with that is, you can't tell whether someone is guilty or innocent until AFTER the search has been conducted.
     
  9. Bfgrn
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    Bfgrn Gold Member

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    Thank you George! Great post!

    Our pea brain friends on the right believe they are tough on crime, but all they are tough on is freedom and liberty. What totally floors me is they have no problem calling you, me or any liberal a 'Statist' if we support a government program intended to help Americans. And they constantly show utter contempt and disdain for government. It is so inept that it can't chew gum and walk at the same time...BUT when it comes to arresting, incarcerating and executing human beings; government is our benign friend. It suddenly becomes flawlessly efficient, totally competent, always just, fair and NEVER EVER heavy handed or deserving of scrutiny ...

    This is how the right sees the criminal justice system...

    [​IMG]

    It is the WORST form of Statism, because NO totalitarian state would ever succeed without citizens that carry their views...

    Bad laws are the worst sort of tyranny.
    Edmund Burke
     
  10. Dante
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    Dante On leave Supporting Member

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    George, where do you live? These are all laws that deal with the privilege of having a driver's license. Do you consider driving a civil right?

    I know Dude and others have cluelessly overlooked this obvious fact. But I have faith in you. You know what is really bothering you. Spit it out.
     

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