1.14.2009

A Jury Made Up Of President Bush Convicts Man

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 The problem is that the warrant had been withdrawn months before.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.

42 comments:

Anonymous said...

Seriously? Bush's new Supreme Court?

Anonymous said...

Rule #1 Do not have Meth and a Gun in your car, and you will not have a problem. We are not talking about the Police Officer arresting some Guy because of his religion or political views.

Come On Berry you are great but that is far left of even you.

Anonymous said...

Of course you're a lawyer, so perhaps your view is somewhat biased on the side of the defendant. Some people, who are more in favor of actual justice than whether or not the policeman said "may I" might see it differently. The guy actually had the illegal meth and actually was in illegal possession of a gun.

Was president Bush riding in the patrol car or was he telling the Justices of the Supreme Court what to do?

Now that we're getting a lefty in the White House next week, perhaps we'll get an "empty the jails" court next time around.

Anonymous said...

Crooks and crooks lawyers don't play by the rules so why should the Cops um-kay.

Anonymous said...

OMG--another guy with a pistol and meth had his civil rights violated because of a mistake. Sure hope this doesn't happen anymore---we might run out of criminals.

Anonymous said...

Cops are such a drain on our society. Yet they take themselves soooooooo seriously - like they're doing the public good. Ya know, the whole "we're out there, putting our lives on the line - just so that you can feel safe at night" mumbo jumbo.

Whatever we paid these guys is way to damn much.

wordkyle said...

I like these posts because they make me learn something new.

One quote I read was that in Hudson v Michigan, the Supreme Court followed the "general judicial trend," which views the exclusionary rule as a judicial remedy rather than a requirement under the Fourth Amendment. (Thank you, Wikipedia.)

In other words, the exclusionary rule was traditionally interpreted by the courts (at all levels) to deter misconduct by law enforcement. In this case, the error was made by another department and the officers operated in good faith, and therefore their actions could not be interpreted as "misconduct." The SCOTUS emphasized that the decision does not apply to "systemic error" and "reckless disregard of constitutional requirements."

Given that the majority opinion restricted their decision to "isolated errors" etc., wouldn't that offset your comment about systemic sloppiness of record keeping?

In this case I'll sign off as "Fake Perry Mason." I'm really interested in how you would argue this in court.

Anonymous said...

Protections accorded by the Constitution are the same as the right to vote. So just like you don't get to complain about how the idiot running the country is running the country if you didn't bother to get out and vote, if you do not care enough about the taking of your constitutional rights when it happens to someone else, don't whine about it when it happens to you or someone you love. When it comes down to it, even the people who post here are human, capable of making bad decisions, if only for a moment, and none of them want to go to jail if they ever did make those errors in judgment. No, what they would want is someone with Barry's skillset working every possible angle to keep them out of jail. Trouble is, when tried and true rules of law like the exclusionary rule suddenly come off the books, not to keep the terrorists at bay, but rather to lock up one more idiot meth freak, well, suddenly there aren't as many angles to work. Good luck out there folks, things are looking frightening and they won't be getting better anytime soon under the current Supreme Court.

Atticus said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

"Cops can search me without probable cause anytime because I've got nothing to hide", I think you're nuts."

Truer words never spoken dog.

Ryan said...

4:36,
How do you figure that? Would you prefer a society with no police?

Anonymous said...

As usual there is a twist to this. The officer acted in good faith with information from an officer of the court. The officer made the arrest after receiving information that a person had an arrest warrant. it isnt the oficer's fault the information was incorrect. the exclusionary rule dosent apply.

wordkyle said...

446 - If the ruling were anywhere close to what you posted, I'd scream loudly myself. (I've quoted Martin Niemoller many times myself.) However, it seems as though the SCOTUS actually followed precedent with this ruling. The rule as traditionally applied is to prevent misconduct on the part of police agencies. No one argues that misconduct was the case here.

Anonymous said...

This proves my point....had we executed the meth-head the first time you would be griping about Christians or American pride or something.

What scumbag judge didn't do his job? That's what I want to know.

Anonymous said...

First of all, Wordy has too much time on his hands (and still needs a good editor).......(zzzzzz)!!

....when all is said and done, folks, we are all gonna have to go to law school so we will KNOW what our individual rights are......

....should we ask the government to fund our law knowledge(?).....why not, they've handed out our tax dollars to everybody else...

Anonymous said...

Let me guess, Scalia, Roberts, Thomas, and Alito were in the majority? Who was the swing vote that broke? I know without looking that Stevens and Ginsberg were in the minority. I'd guess Souter was also. That leave Breyer and Kennedy. I'd guess Kennedy, correct?

Anonymous said...

I agree with your post. Very well said.

Biff Tannen said...

Another day, another opportunity to say: F the police!

Anonymous said...

So if you're caught with meth while digging a tunnel to Qubec, with the intention of delivering, say a dirty bomb, to those dirty Candians, does the ruling still apply?

wordkyle said...

645 - It takes less time to learn something than you might think. Try it sometime. And if you have qualifications as an editor, demonstrate it and I'll give your opinion more consideration. If you have advice that will earn me more money, I'll gladly take it.

Anonymous said...

Maybe you Rigt-Winger-Ding-a-Lingers can eventually get it where the cops can just shoot people on the street if they think they need shootin'. Like in those countries we don't like, and go to war with 'cause they are "bad."

Anonymous said...

When I grew up in the 60's we were taught about big bad Russia. It seems they prosecuted for no reason other than political (Gonzales DOJ) transferred people to concentration camps (Gitmo) and tortured them (new admissions today).
Of course we were taught that our country was far better that that.
Really?

Ralph in Rugersville said...

C'mon 8:47 pm dawg, if we let the cops shoot just anyone they think needs, all the defense lawyers will be dead. No more liberal blog in Wise County, no more neurosis about socks, no more half-naked girls. We can't let cops shoot the people they think need it.

Anonymous said...

That is a good ruling by the supreme court clap clap clap

Anonymous said...

8:47,
when that starts happening, you let us know...

9:15,
You obviously spent too much time in the 60's killing brain cells. Even the half you have left wouldn't buy into the stretch you're trying to make.

I'll bet this idiot got another day in court and wasted a whole lot more tax payer cash.. or maybe he was whisked away to a secret gulag in an unmarked black van being tortured day and night...

dude, put the bong down and slowly back away...

Anonymous said...

446 said and I quote "When it comes down to it, even the people who post here are human, capable of making bad decisions, if only for a moment, and none of them want to go to jail if they ever did make those errors in judgment" Your absolutely right, just like this poor abused soul who obviously made a onetime error in judgment... Oh, I forgot he was also a CONVICTED FELON that was committing 2 new felonies. Yep 1 poor decision alright! What kind of moron are you? Probably one of the same ones that is always so quick to call Johnny Law the first time one of your neighbors annoys you by letting their dog bark, or not put their trash cans away in time, or are playing Mexican Music so as if you turn off your TV and strain really hard you can faintly hear with the window open. Get a life smart guy. Have You Thanked A Cop Lately???

Anonymous said...

it's a shame they didn't pick a hotshot lawyer like Barry Green to represent him.

Anonymous said...

Since we're speaking of our Rights, here's one for you I heard yesterday. This Bernie Madoff guy that scamed everyone, he really did nothing different than the Federal Government is doing with our tax dollars. At least Madoff invested some of the money and in fact made some money and the people he had stolen from didn't have to invest with him. On the other hand, the Federal Government requires (a law) everyone who works to pay over 12% of their check to Social Security. That money goes straight from us to the Government to the Social Security receipient and is never invested. Therefore if it's never invested the individuals who pay in may not ever see a dime of what they've been required to pay by the Federal Government. What's the difference? I would like for more attention to be given to issues like this than some idiot, crackhead who has probably never paid into S.S. in the first place. The Federal Government wants you to be concerned about the Crackhead so you don't focus on the real issues such as the U.S. Senate and the crap they pull.

Anonymous said...

If I made my living like Barry does, I would have an issue with this law too. It would seriously impede my ability to defend my clients. Luckily, I stand on the side of what is RIGHT and GOOD in this country, not how to make my left wing $$ :) Have a great day!

Anonymous said...

Immorality brought down the Roman Empire. Case and Point, how bad has our society become when we sympathize with gun toting Meth users. Should they have rights? Meth is the root of many if not most of our local crime. People steal electrical wires for the copper. They steal from family and friends and even kill someone from time to time just to get their Meth. Wake up Barry. I hope you never become pray for one of your clients. But if you do, I would contend, you will not worry about their rights.

Anonymous said...

Good Gosh! Just going by the numbers, Barry's looking like a total ass on this subject. Too bad, sooooooooooo sad

Mac said...

On one side, i am glad the guy is in jail. He is obviously not a law abiding citizen, and more than likely, would end up doing harm to someone in the future.

However, where do we draw the line between freedom granted to us by our constitution and our ever inreasing need for the government to provide us with more 'security'?

Today this guy gets pulled over without probable cause for meth and gun possession.

Tomorrow, you get pulled over without probable cause and get hauled off to jail for not paying your taxes on time, spouting what might be considered hate speech because of a bumper sticker, or playing online poker illegaly.

be careful what you wish for.

There are wide implications for this case, and i believe this is what the author is trying to bring to light.

Great post.

sincerely,

Mac

Anonymous said...

the guy is a felon, had meth and a pistol in his car. He should be in jail. I hate it when people sympathize with criminals.

Anonymous said...

2:26 am

My goodness, but aren't you a tolerant individual. Someone expresses an opinion that you don't like, and instead of drawing satisfaction from expressing your own opinion, you can't help but drop down to name-calling. Your parents must be so proud. The point of the exclusionary rule is to make certain that when police officers make a stop (or arrest), they have probable cause to do so. That's been the point of the rule for decades ("The history of the use, and not infrequent abuse, of the power to arrest cautions that a relaxation of the fundamental requirements of probable cause would have law abiding citizens at the mercy of the officers' whim or caprice." United States Supreme Court...Bringar vs. U.S., 1946). In the case under consideration, someone made a mistake, as a result of that mistake, the officer thought there was probable cause to make the stop, but there was, in fact, was nothing other than the his having singled the individual out on the road to justify the stop. That the evidence was not surpressed represents a retreat from the previous rule and, in my opinion, that is not a good thing. Not all cops are bad, heck, all the ones that come out to my place to shut up the neighbor's dog and tell him to turn down his mustic and put away his trashcans seem very, very polite. But our founding fathers understood that the power of the police to make an arrest was so strong that the few bad apples needed to be heavily restrained in order to keep them from destroying the respect necessary to permit the good ones to do their jobs. And, i do try to thank a police officer from time to time. The positive things they do are not lost on me.

wordkyle said...

In all fairness to BG, who I disagree with on this subject, he was not defending the guy, so much as he was defending the system. The system is set up to put the burden on the police and the courts, to make it more difficult for government to abuse its power. That philosophy I agree with. The state, with all its resources, should have to shoulder the burden, not the poor citizen, innocent or guilty.

What I disagreed with BG about was his depiction of the decision of the SCOTUS as being extraordinarily out of the realm of reason and precedent -- which it was not -- and purposely designed by Bush and his appointees to remove the constitutional rights of citizens. The reasoning, which has been made by previous courts, was that the exclusion rule is designed to prevent misconduct by police, not to help individuals hide evidence from juries.

Anonymous said...

7:42, you miss the point. It is not about the individual but the ramifications of the action. First thing is that he was looking for some reason to stop a certain individual, not because he had probable cause, but because he wanted to nail that certain person. He went looking for reason, hence he “started checking with local court clerks to see if a guy he was following had outstanding warrant,” as clerks being plural looking for a reason to stop this individual and search his car. Sure, this time it was a crack head, but next time it might be you because he did not like how you looked when you passed him. If you do not stand up for what is right today, tomorrow it might be you. And if the cops are out looking out for our best interest, then why do they hide trying to catch an unsuspecting motorist who in a moment of distraction gets a few miles over the speed limit on a road where they are no one on the road except him and the hiding officer?

Anonymous said...

The other side of the coin, maybe the officer was attempting to do police work. You know some of the most heinous criminals have been caught or discovered through minor infractions or petty warrants. The officer looked into the targeted criminal’s record. Was told he had warrants and at that time had probable cause for a contact or detention. The fact the clerk was wrong, does not make the officers actions wrong.

Anonymous said...

p.s. -BG it won’t be long and the pendulum will swing to the dark side if Obama makes any appointments to the Supreme Court. Hell cops maybe abolished altogether or reassigned to the IRS to collect taxes so we can spread the wealth.

Anonymous said...

11:30 - that's thin, way too thin an argument to tie speeding in to this subject

soz said...

"The reasoning, which has been made by previous courts, was that the exclusion rule is designed to prevent misconduct by police, not to help individuals hide evidence from juries."

so, 11:11, how does this ruling help prevent police misconduct? it would appear that if anything it makes it, at least in regard to probable cause, moot.

wordkyle said...

1119 - The court's ruling was that there was no misconduct, so the exclusionary rule was not applicable in this case, and therefore the evidence should be admitted. My point was that this ruling (and its reasoning) is consistent with that of previous courts, so BG's comment portraying it as "screw the exclusionary rule" was inaccurate.

soz said...

gotcha. thanks.