And, so, it begins. Today the U.S. Supreme Court took the first step towards an ever increasing police state mentality. Drives me crazy. Old rule #1: Police need probable cause to arrest you. Old rule #2: If you are arrested based upon probable cause, police may search you and the car you were in. Old rule #3: If police do not have probable cause to arrest you, the Exclusionary rule requires all evidence found after the arrested to be suppressed and cannot be used against you New rule#4: Not so fast In the case decided today, some Alabama cop, well versed in the Bill of Rights I'm sure, started checking with local court clerks to see if a guy he was following had outstanding warrants. One clerk said, "Why, yes, he does." So the cop stops the guy and arrests him. Then a search reveals he had meth and a pistol. The meth, of course, is illegal to possess. The gun, for that guy, was illegal to possess because he was a convicted felon. The problem is that the warrant had been withdrawn months before. The court clerk, to her credit, quickly discovered the mistake and contacted the cop. But the arrest and discovery of contraband had already occurred. So this one is easy, right? We had an arrest made without probable cause (there was, in fact, NO reason to arrest him.) So the Exclusionary Rule says that the dope and gun cannot be used against him, right? Not so fast my friend, Bush's new Supreme Court, in a 5-4* decision, said (and I'm paraphrasing here), "Screw the Exclusionary Rule." Or, more accurately, “When police mistakes leading to an unlawful search are the result of isolated negligence attenuated from the search, rather than systemic error or reckless disregard of constitutional requirements, the exclusionary rule does not apply.” Get ready, folks. There is more to come in the years ahead. Plus, your government now has every incentive to keep crappy records about arrest warrants. And what's to keep a cop from saying, "Oh, I misread the screen in my patrol car. I thought he had a valid warrant but I made an isolated and negligent mistake. My bad." And for all of those that say, "That's fine with me. Cops can search me without probable cause anytime because I've got nothing to hide", I think you're nuts. ___________ *Edit: I called it a "Jury of President Bush" because his two most recent appointments, Roberts and Alito, were in the majority of this 5-4 decision.
at 3:42 PM