Author Topic: The 4th Amendment is fading  (Read 188 times)

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Offline Jag

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The 4th Amendment is fading
« on: June 23, 2016, 10:58:54 AM »
A recent Supreme Court ruling shreds the 4th Amendment

From the link:
"The case involves a man who was stopped by police after he left a house where police suspected narcotics were sold. He was asked for his ID and when a police officer ran a check, found that there was an outstanding warrant against him for a traffic violation. He was then searched and, yes, police found the drugs.

These sorts of cases rarely work up much sympathy, but that’s the nature of how constitutional rights disappear.

You can be stopped now for doing nothing wrong, Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote in an astounding piece of writing that should be required reading for anyone who’s ever been tempted to read the Constitution."

Judge Sotomayor's dissent follows. It's well worth reading.
***
So, the 2nd Amendment is inviolate and cannot be touched, changed, modified, or adapted to contemporary times in which muskets are NOT the cutting edge in gun technology. But the 4th Amendment protections against illegal search and seizure? The Constitution is MUCH less rigid and inflexible about that part.

The highest court in the country has betrayed the American public. Again.
"Tell people that there's an invisible man in the sky that created the entire universe and the majority believe you. Tell them the paint is wet, and they have to touch it to be sure." ~George Carlin

Online Nam

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Re: The 4th Amendment is fading
« Reply #1 on: June 23, 2016, 01:02:32 PM »
Was it 4/4. Because if it was that's why.

Also, the war on drugs is nonsense. The only way to combatant it is by making it legal.

-Nam
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Offline natlegend

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Re: The 4th Amendment is fading
« Reply #2 on: June 23, 2016, 02:56:36 PM »
I've watched a gazillion YouTube videos of illegal detainment and arrest by US cops. Terrifying.
You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

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Offline Jag

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Re: The 4th Amendment is fading
« Reply #3 on: June 23, 2016, 03:55:46 PM »
I've watched a gazillion YouTube videos of illegal detainment and arrest by US cops. Terrifying.

Even more so when the SCOTUS says it's acceptable. I read Sotomayor's piece in absolute shock. I've half jokingly suggested to my BF that we may want to consider retiring outside the US. It will be a lot less of a joke the next time it comes up. WTF is happening to my country?
"Tell people that there's an invisible man in the sky that created the entire universe and the majority believe you. Tell them the paint is wet, and they have to touch it to be sure." ~George Carlin

Offline Jag

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Re: The 4th Amendment is fading
« Reply #4 on: June 23, 2016, 03:58:09 PM »
Also, the war on drugs is nonsense. The only way to combatant it is by making it legal.
Agreed, but that's only one of the many ways in which this new "interpretation" is going to trip people up.

Edit: the ruling was 5-3.
« Last Edit: June 23, 2016, 04:02:35 PM by Jag »
"Tell people that there's an invisible man in the sky that created the entire universe and the majority believe you. Tell them the paint is wet, and they have to touch it to be sure." ~George Carlin

Offline Graybeard

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Re: The 4th Amendment is fading
« Reply #5 on: June 25, 2016, 09:15:49 AM »
To me, all this seems very strange - some guy comes out of a place known for drugs, gives his details and is a wanted man - his car is searched and there are drugs... what's not to like? Had the house been unremarkable, the demand for ID would have been unreasonable, and he should have been able to refuse. Had he not been wanted, then he should not have been searched.

The intelligence on the house creates probable cause.

Where would we be if, in addition to drugs in his pockets, the police had found the dismembered remains of the man's wife in a search of his car? Or the man had got into his car and the car had been searched?

I think the Supreme court has rendered the intention of the law rather than a possible interpretation of the letter.

Less than this and it all turns into a game with arbitrary rules in which crime can be committed with impunity of the rules are followed.

I can hardly believe that this is what the framers of the Amendment intended.

However, I contrast this with:
A member of the public points at a running man and shouts "Stop Thief! He's got my wallet!" The police officer chases the man brings him to the ground, cuffs him and searches him for the wallet. Whether there is a wallet or not, or whether the man turns out to be entirely innocent, the police officer has acted in good faith even though he has not had time to establish the veracity of what the member of the public said. In UK law, this is considered "Hot pursuit" and is permissible. "The cry of "Stop thief!" creates probable cause. In the same way, the house creates probable cause.

In a case about 3 or 4 years ago, US police received intelligence to say that a man in a northern state had a marijuana factory in a cabin the woods. The police went with thermal imaging cameras and found massive heat emanating from the roof and windows. They raided and found many kilos.

The perpetrator claimed illegal search (the use of the TI camera.) The judge was clear. If you are engaged in any enterprise you are responsible for your own privacy and if you leave clues that can be perceived from any distance by any means, then you cannot complain. All this makes prevention of crime easier.

Nobody says “There are many things that we thought were natural processes, but now know that a god did them.”

Online jaimehlers

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Re: The 4th Amendment is fading
« Reply #6 on: June 25, 2016, 11:03:14 AM »
Not known for drugs, suspected for drugs.  That difference destroys your argument, Graybeard, because it means the police had not shown probable cause for searching individuals coming out of this house for drugs - just that there was a lot of traffic in and out of the house, which is far from enough.  That's why the police officer went through this song and dance of detaining the man, running his license - even though he was a pedestrian - discovering that he had an outstanding small traffic warrant, using that as an excuse to arrest and search him, and subsequently finding drugs on him.

Like it or not, the police officer on the scene had no cause for detaining him.  This was not a "hot pursuit" situation like the one you described; the police had let any number of people leave the building without detaining them.  Similarly, the other case you cited also does not apply here, because the police had nothing to go on but an anonymous tip and people regularly entering and leaving the building, which is not enough to show that drugs were being bought and sold there.  I can think of legitimate reasons why a house might have a lot of traffic - for example, perhaps the residents have lots of friends who regularly visit, or perhaps they are trading things legally there (such as collectible cards).

Claiming that this makes crime prevention easier misses the point; there are a lot of things which make crime prevention easier, but are anathema in an open democratic society such as ours.
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Offline Graybeard

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Re: The 4th Amendment is fading
« Reply #7 on: Yesterday at 09:00:08 PM »
Not known for drugs, suspected for drugs.  That difference destroys your argument,
TBH, it was not an argument but an opinion. However, I seem to be in agreement with the majority of the judges.
Quote
because it means the police had not shown probable cause for searching individuals coming out of this house for drugs
I suppose it is the level of suspicion. The word "suspicion" is vague. The transcript shows an anonymous tip off was the suspicion.
Quote
Like it or not, the police officer on the scene had no cause for detaining him.
From the linked extract: "Officer Fackrell’s  purpose was not to conduct a suspicionless fishing expedition but was to gather  information  about  activity inside  a  house  whose  occupants were  legitimately  suspected of dealing  drugs."

I suppose that if you come out of a KFC, you might be legitimately suspected of having food.
Quote
Claiming that this makes crime prevention easier misses the point; there are a lot of things which make crime prevention easier, but are anathema in an open democratic society such as ours.
I suspect it might seem an anathema to some people in your society, but to others, it might not.

Moral - don't do drugs.
Nobody says “There are many things that we thought were natural processes, but now know that a god did them.”

Offline screwtape

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Re: The 4th Amendment is fading
« Reply #8 on: Yesterday at 09:55:13 PM »
TBH, it was not an argument but an opinion. However, I seem to be in agreement with the majority of the judges.

To be fair, you agreed with the conservative judges.  On the US Supreme Court, they are usually on the side of a fascist police state and anti-intellectualism.  Not too long ago they agreed corporations could have religious beliefs and private property could be seized for private enterprise.   So, I wouldn't be too proud about that.

I suppose it is the level of suspicion. The word "suspicion" is vague. The transcript shows an anonymous tip off was the suspicion.

And we should take uncorroborated, anonymous tips to be valid reasons to detain citizens?  I don't think so.  Are you familiar with swatting?[1]  Just so you know, in the US the police are abominably lazy.  It is unlikely they bothered to corroborate the "tip" at all.  More likely, the "tip" came from a cop.  Or there was never any tip at all. US cops lie with impunity. See also my militarized police state thread.

From the linked extract: "Officer Fackrell’s  purpose was not to conduct a suspicionless fishing expedition but was to gather  information  about  activity inside  a  house  whose  occupants were  legitimately  suspected of dealing  drugs."

Dude, that is just PR.  Police spin.  Subjective judgment.

I suppose that if you come out of a KFC, you might be legitimately suspected of having food.

I don't think that's an apt analogy.  After all, they do more than just sell drugs there.  They live there.  So, some portion of the people coming and going will have nothing to do with drugs.  And the police should have to have a way to differentiate between the two. 


Moral - don't do drugs.

That's not the moral at all.  The problem is you are looking at this with 20-20 hindsight.  You are not understanding the precedent this sets and how the police will abuse it against law-abiding citizens.  The whole point of the 4th amendment was to keep the police from hassling us without good reason to do so. Now, they have greater license to intrude, as if they needed that.

You should read the dissent from Sotomayor. 
 1. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swatting
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Offline Add Homonym

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Re: The 4th Amendment is fading
« Reply #9 on: Yesterday at 10:30:39 PM »
I've watched a gazillion YouTube videos of illegal detainment and arrest by US cops. Terrifying.

I like that guys who go around repetitively videoing cops and saying "Am I being detained? Am I free to go?" Basically topic jamming the conversation with them, down to those two questions.
When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be bleedn obvious.

Offline Graybeard

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Re: The 4th Amendment is fading
« Reply #10 on: Today at 07:56:40 AM »
TBH, it was not an argument but an opinion. However, I seem to be in agreement with the majority of the judges.

To be fair, you agreed with the conservative judges.
Judges are there to state what the law is. Once they have stated it, they are correct. Their political opinion does not matter. It is unfortunate in some cases, but that is how it is. To argue any other way is to argue against the entire basis of US law.

On the US Supreme Court, they are usually on the side of a fascist police state and anti-intellectualism.
Or, as they might say "Helping the police do a difficult job, suppressing crime, and allowing a broad range of opinions." - I'm not sure emotional rhetoric helps a great deal. ; )

Not too long ago they agreed corporations could have religious beliefs and private property could be seized for private enterprise.   So, I wouldn't be too proud about that.
Since the 1870s in the UK, corporations have been considered "persons" in law.


I suppose it is the level of suspicion. The word "suspicion" is vague. The transcript shows an anonymous tip off was the suspicion.

And we should take uncorroborated, anonymous tips to be valid reasons to detain citizens?  I don't think so.

I think you do.
Scenario: You are a police officer. Your are told by control to attend an incident of an attack on an old lady and that an ambulance has already been called. You arrive to find the ambulance and an elderly lady is lying on the ground. There is blood on her head. At a distance of 25 yards a young poorly dressed man is looking from her to you and seems nervous. Another old lady tells you "It was him! He hit her with an iron bar."

What's your next move? All the information so far is uncorroborated. 

Are you familiar with swatting?

I am now. But I am having difficulty relating it to the situation because of this:
Just so you know, in the US the police are abominably lazy.  It is unlikely they bothered to corroborate the "tip" at all.  More likely, the "tip" came from a cop.  Or there was never any tip at all. US cops lie with impunity. See also my militarized police state thread.

The problem with this line of argument is that your suspicions are uncorroborated: how should I view them?

From the linked extract: "Officer Fackrell’s  purpose was not to conduct a suspicionless fishing expedition but was to gather  information  about  activity inside  a  house  whose  occupants were  legitimately  suspected of dealing  drugs."

Dude, that is just PR.  Police spin.  Subjective judgment.
No, that is the judgement of the court.


I suppose that if you come out of a KFC, you might be legitimately suspected of having food.

I don't think that's an apt analogy.  After all, they do more than just sell drugs there.  They live there.  So, some portion of the people coming and going will have nothing to do with drugs.
Really? It is a question of the balance of probabilities.

And the police should have to have a way to differentiate between the two.

And that would be?

The problem is you are looking at this with 20-20 hindsight.  You are not understanding the precedent this sets and how the police will abuse it against law-abiding citizens.  The whole point of the 4th amendment was to keep the police from hassling us without good reason to do so.

It is the definition of "good", isn't it?

The jobs I worked in all required a rapid assessment of people and their motives. If I suspected deception then I could inconvenience the subject. I did not want to inconvenience the innocent as that caused problems and wasted time. I and my colleagues found we were able to make an accurate assessment of someone in the first few moments of seeing and speaking to them about 95% of the time and that, proportionally, justified what we did. Yes, there were misjudgements but as long as we were polite, and later gave apologies and explanations, complaints were few and the innocent did not suffer.

My point here is that the vast majority of police officers and authority figures are honest and helpful and see their job as "protect and serve". They also develop a good sense of who is suspicious and who is not.

I do not think that it is reasonable that the police should be required to act blindly or as if they had no experience at all.

You were not there at the arrest, and you do not have the experience of the officer.

Quote
You should read the dissent from Sotomayor.

I did, and was unimpressed.
Nobody says “There are many things that we thought were natural processes, but now know that a god did them.”

Online Nam

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Re: The 4th Amendment is fading
« Reply #11 on: Today at 10:36:28 AM »
You can't compare your experiences with experience here. While a bigger percentage of police here may be good those same good police look away when a bad police officer does something bad. Its the same with religious mentality. And since the vast majority of police in this country are religious; it's no wonder they have that mentality. It is is also like the mentality of a crook: you don't rat on a fellow crook -- you don't rat on a fellow cop.

If there was no video of the cop who shot and killed and planted evidence on that one guy who fled, the other cop (the good one) would have backed the bad cop. Not because he agreed with what he did but that's the mentality.

Then you have some IA (internal affairs) helping to cover up bad cops' actions. I read about it, and saw a documentary on it. Because IA are cops themselves. Also, they have this professional person that is a psychiatrist or psychologist that goes around the country defending bad cops', and talking about their mentality and such. This is the police force hiring this guy. The good guys trying to get the bad guy off.

Do they do that where you live?

-Nam
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Online jaimehlers

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Re: The 4th Amendment is fading
« Reply #12 on: Today at 11:10:31 AM »
TBH, it was not an argument but an opinion. However, I seem to be in agreement with the majority of the judges.
The Citizens United ruling, which overturned literally decades of precedent, would be enough in and of itself to call the judgment of four of the five justices[1] who affirmed this particular decision into question.  Screwtape mentioned additional court cases, and I wouldn't be surprised to find that there are more of them besides.

Quote from: Graybeard
I suppose it is the level of suspicion. The word "suspicion" is vague. The transcript shows an anonymous tip off was the suspicion.
An anonymous tip-off, or even the building traffic, is in no way sufficient to justify the behavior of this officer in his illegally detaining this person, nor the further illegal actions he subsequently took.  You will note, Graybeard, that even the State of Utah admitted that the officer's search was illegal - its argument was that the evidence he had found in this illegal search should be permissible in court, despite the long precedent arguing otherwise, which was overturned by this decision.

Quote from: Graybeard
From the linked extract: "Officer Fackrell’s  purpose was not to conduct a suspicionless fishing expedition but was to gather  information  about  activity inside  a  house  whose  occupants were  legitimately  suspected of dealing  drugs."
If they were legitimately suspected, why did the police not go to a court and get a warrant allowing them to search individuals coming out of this house?  Answer:  Because they didn't have enough evidence to justify such a warrant.  To call something "legitimate" means that it falls within the bounds of the law, and the fact of the matter, Graybeard, is that this officer's searches did not.  At the risk of repeating myself, even the State of Utah admitted that the officer's search was illegal.  I would really like to know just how you can conclude that the police had legitimate suspicion when the action being contested was admitted to be illegal by the prosecution.

That's not just a red flag, that's a floodlit sign and blaring siren.   The fact that five members of the Supreme Court missed it even so makes me wonder if those justices have working eyes and ears, metaphorically speaking.

Quote from: Graybeard
I suppose that if you come out of a KFC, you might be legitimately suspected of having food.
However, the individual was not coming out of a KFC, was he?  He was coming out of a house.  You know, a place where people live.  Therefore, this analogy fails because you cannot legitimately suspect someone coming out of a house of "having food", as it were.  In fact, it fails on another level because many people who leave fast food restaurants do not take food out with them in the first place - they eat it there, known as "dining in".  If you corrected it to "having eaten food", that would answer the second fail, but not the first, because of the difference between a fast food restaurant and a residence.  Which you undoubtedly know.

Here's some information on probable cause and reasonable suspicion that you really should read, Graybeard:  http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Probable+Cause+and+Reasonable+Suspicion

Quote from: Graybeard
I suspect it might seem an anathema to some people in your society, but to others, it might not.
This is specious reasoning and therefore beside the point.  No doubt there are people in America who do not recognize the danger of decisions which undermine the Constitution, but that does not mean that the danger does not exist.

Quote from: Graybeard
Moral - don't do drugs.
That is not at all the 'moral', Graybeard.  Besides from which, do you realize just how trite and stupid-sounding the "don't do drugs" slogan is?  It's almost as bad as "guns don't kill people, people kill people".

I think you do.
Scenario: You are a police officer. Your are told by control to attend an incident of an attack on an old lady and that an ambulance has already been called. You arrive to find the ambulance and an elderly lady is lying on the ground. There is blood on her head. At a distance of 25 yards a young poorly dressed man is looking from her to you and seems nervous. Another old lady tells you "It was him! He hit her with an iron bar."

What's your next move? All the information so far is uncorroborated.
First off, this is in no way anonymous, which you totally ignored despite the fact that it was a critical part of what screwtape said.  But on top of that, it also is not uncorroborated.  The mere fact that the police officer in your example received information from a dispatcher, then upon arriving on-scene, found that the information matched the reality, means that it was not uncorroborated.  The only thing which might be argued to be uncorroborated is the accusation by a bystander - since the police officer has no additional information which supports her statement.  However, in this case, probable cause applies, at least well enough to detain the person suspected of committing the assault.

What you overlooked is that this analogy does not even come close to matching the case being discussed here.  Furthermore, this is at least the second time that you have presented an analogy in this thread which does not match the case being discussed.  The point of presenting analogies is to pick simplified, relevant examples that can be easily understood.  You seem to be forgetting the necessity of making sure your examples are relevant - because both of the ones you have presented have not been.  The first, referring to someone coming out of a KFC having food, ignores the difference between a food-service establishment and a residence.  The second, the police officer coming upon a scene which matches that which was reported to him, was neither anonymous nor uncorroborated, and demonstrated clear probable cause which did not exist in the case at hand.

You do not help your argument[2] any by presenting analogies which detract from it, as these two have.
 1. the fifth was Scalia, who is deceased
 2. whether it is based on an opinion or not, it is still an argument
« Last Edit: Today at 11:12:34 AM by jaimehlers »
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Online jaimehlers

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Re: The 4th Amendment is fading
« Reply #13 on: Today at 12:23:59 PM »
My point here is that the vast majority of police officers and authority figures are honest and helpful and see their job as "protect and serve". They also develop a good sense of who is suspicious and who is not.
That may be true, but the problem is that those who are not honest or helpful, who see their job not as "protect and serve" but "bully and oppress", are having their misdeeds covered up by the rest of the police.  It is fundamentally the same issue as with the Catholic priests who sexually abused children under their care getting their misdeeds covered up by the rest of the Catholic church.  As a really ancient saying goes, "who watches the watchers?"

Quote from: Graybeard
I do not think that it is reasonable that the police should be required to act blindly or as if they had no experience at all.
Nobody is saying that they should act blindly or pretend they have no experience - just that they should obey the law.  If the people who's job it is to uphold the law break it in order to do so, then there is a serious problem.  And that's what happened here - a police officer broke a higher law than the one he was supposedly serving at the time.

Quote from: Graybeard
You were not there at the arrest, and you do not have the experience of the officer.
Neither were you!  And citing your own personal experience in a different country where the laws are different isn't going to present you as an authority on procedures here in America.  Plus, something you either haven't noticed or disregarded, Graybeard - the State of Utah acknowledged that the officer's actions were illegal.  Their argument was that even though he broke the law, the evidence should still be admissible in court.  Do you not see the problem with this?
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