16 January 2010
Hey KingCast, enough play, keep earning your top Civil Rights blog ranking by analysing "Cops" on Fox TV!
Okay, okay enough fun with the McDonald's Maxwell Smart suicide post, let's get back to what made you a top ranking Constitutional Law blogger:
On Right Wing Fascist Fox TV tonight I watched a cop use the dangerous neighborhood excuse to pat down a guy who had made no threatening gestures or comments toward the officer whatsoever. When he found some golden grams of marijuana, he then ordered the vehicle the man was driving searched, whereupon they discovered a gun and some Ecstasy pills and voila! -- Another black criminal is in the books!
Now let's count the Fourth Amendment/Search & Seizure Civil Rights violations shall we?
First off, being in a dangerous neighborhood does not give a cop the right to put his hands on you unless s/he has some sort of particularized suspicion that you are placing them in fear of their safety or committing a crime. The pat-down can only proceed into someone's pocket if the cop feels something that might be a weapon e.g. a hard item, but in this case it was only a bag of marijuana, clearly under bulk amount. Based on courtroom experience it appears to be what is called in street slang a "quarter-bag" or 1/4 of an ounce.
Next up is the issue of the gun and the E. The cops play lip service to the notion that the pills were within arms' reach of the driver, but they are still fruit of the poisonous tree because the perp shouldn't have been a perp in the first place. Just another TV show designed to get Americans ready to surrender their Civil Rights at the drop of a hat. I'm not fooled, nor should anyone else be. Remember that in most jurisdictions, lack of probable cause will result in a successful Motion to Suppress. See generally Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1 (1968). That is exactly what happened in Franconia, NH. What do I know about "High Crime Areas" and trials? Plenty.