Supreme Court to hear Police Roadblock cases.......

Discussion in 'Free Speech Alley' started by LSUBud, Nov 12, 2003.

  1. LSUBud

    LSUBud Founding Member

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    The Supreme Court apparently will issue guidance on police roadblocks. Right now, it is unclear as to what the police can do and what they can look for at roadblocks.

    The USSC refused to hear an Ohio case 3 years ago involving a "routine" roadblock to look for unlicensed and uninsured motorist. But, they had ruled that same year that Police couldn't use drug sniffing dogs at these roadblocks (no probable cause).

    I can't understand how these roadblocks can EVER be squared away with the Constitution. I remember reading my first "unreasonable search and seizure" case in law school and wondering HOW IN THE HELL CAN INSURANCE/LICENSE CHECKPOINTS BE CONSTITITIONAL???

    I can understand during "emergencies" (strictly defined) where they are looking for a kidnapped child. But, I don't think it's a big secret that the PRIMARY REASON for these roadblocks is FINANCIALLY motivated. The individual police department needs a quick influx of cash so they give their traffic cops "quotas" (I've been told this by more than one cop) and set up "checkpoints" to FINE people without proof of license/insurance/inspection sticker.

    In the Ohio case mentioned above, it was noted that there was a sign placed 100 yards in front of the check point so that drivers who wanted to avoid the checkpoint "may" be able to do so. EVERY checkpoint I've ever been pulled over in is set up so that there is NO WAY OUT.

    Further, Breyer's statement in the article stating that it's only 10 second is completely untrue. I've been in roadblocks that have taken 10-30 minutes (causing me to be late for a meeting) because of the "backlog" in running the computer check.

    Hopefully, the Supreme Court will rule these "nonemeergency checkpoints" to be the CLEAR unreasonable search and seizure that they CLEARLY are.


    Supreme Court to issue guidance on Police Roadblocks
     
  2. JD

    JD Founding Member

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    The bottom line is that this is the same sloppy police work that supports profiling - there are sufficient traffic violations for a more legitimate check. Just hide at the corner of Washington and Carrolton and you can stop 3 people on each light switch (the police did it last year, but stopped).

    That said, if there are sufficient people driving without insurance, as there probably are, that would probably justify insurance checkpoints.
     
  3. LSUBud

    LSUBud Founding Member

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    Constitutionally, I think you are WAY OFF base. If there are sufficient people who use grass in a particular area (which there probably are - TO QUOTE YOU), would that be a good enough reason to bring drug sniffing dogs into EVERY FOURTH (or even Tenth) house in a particular area?

    And, while we're at it (since you brought up profiling) - since it can be shown that there are MORE uninsured individuals in urban (i..e, POOR, BLACK) areas, would it be constitutionally acceptable to you if they concentrated their roadblocks in these poor black neighborhoods?

    I don't think the Constitution makes a distinction. The "probable cause" relates to the INDIVIDUAL and not the STEREOTYPE (no matter how valid the "stereotype" may be).
     
  4. Mr. Wonderful

    Mr. Wonderful Founding Member

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    Way too simple dear fellow Esq.

     
  5. JD

    JD Founding Member

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    I didn't say any of this is constitutionally acceptable to me;


    Second, putting dogs in a house (which I assume is what you meant) is a much greater intrusion than asking for an insurance card - and as I'm sure you know, the level of intrusion does matter.
    I don't recall seeing warrants last time I saw drugs sniffing around at airports, which is about the level of intrusion as asking for an insurance card
    Last time I got on a plane, I don't recall a warrant being presented before i was frisked - again, a far greater intrusion than asking for an insurance card.
    I don't think you could name one neighborhood in NO that has as high a percentage of drug use per resident as La does non-insured driver per driver.
     
  6. TigerEducated

    TigerEducated Founding Member

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    You guys go and look into DWI convictions at DWI Checkpoints in this state...

    Anyone who refutes their arrest or subsequent charge is almost 93% of the time vindicated...or at least the research I did was indicative of that fact.

    I used a public defender in the City of Denham Springs when I was charged with DWI on June the 29th of this year.

    They proceeded to charge me and think I'd cave, even though they admitted in police reports that they gave me no field sobriety tests because I refused, as well as mentioning in writing that I stated I was invoking my 5th and 6th amendment rights after providing my license and registration.

    They had no factual basis for my case, and even the Administrative Law Judge who dealt with my license suspension hearing (a totally different civil matter, I understand) told me off the record (a retired DWI expert with State Police of 37 years experience) that anytime a subject refuses field sobriety tests and breathalyzers on site and at the station, it's basically an unprosecutable case.

    I worked for the alcohol lobby, and I admit that I knew what to do in the event of being pulled over in that situation. But, the evidence that I saw when it came to enforcement is that as long as you refuse to submit to any field sobriety tests, and you refuse to give a Breathalyzer, you're in the clear.

    The city police department, and directly, the City of Denham Springs itself, had no real case against me, and could not deny the fact that even after I had invoked my right against questioning without legal counsel present, they continued to harass me and question me regarding my refusal to take the field sobriety tests.

    They eventually dropped the DWI, in exchange for me pleading to the Careless Operation charge.

    Those checkpoints are easily contested, and as long as you keep a clear head and remember not to hand anyone a gift wrapped prosecution case by submitting to anything like that, you're fine.
     
  7. JD

    JD Founding Member

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    All the state needs to do is impose a 5 year license suspension for refusal to take the test

    How did you get your license unsuspended?

    Somebody needs to think of a solution to this because intoxicated people should not drive and it should be harshly punished. (although I suppose for someone who is so intoxicated that the walk from his car to the police car indicates drunkedness, that the police observation could be substantial evidence).
     
  8. TigerEducated

    TigerEducated Founding Member

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    On your ticket information, it states that you have the right to an administrative hearing to debate the legality or validity of the state's attempt to suspend your license.

    I used the paperwork, filled out the information, and mailed it off within the 15 day time period.

    I got a hearing scheduled, but because of my financial state, I didn't have enough money to subpeona any of the officers that were there-which was fortuitous on my part.

    I showed up at my hearing, reviewed the police reports and other information...and my administrative law judge walked in, got the information back from me, and we proceeded.

    He lambasted the information presented as totally circumstantial, and that due to shoddy work by the police department in writing the information up, and relying on poorly handwritten work that he couldn't even read at points, dismissed the case based on insufficient evidence.

    He could not even read what the arresting officer wrote. He was an older gentlemen, and I'll admit, at 24 with 20/20 vision, I even had difficulty reading it.

    He told me to rest my case on the fact that the evidence and official copies of the arresting reports and other information were so shoddily thrown together and so poorly worded and written, that they could not support nor provide an accurate picture, and the "prima fascia" evidence was not available, nor was their testimony.

    He also said off the record that the evidence presented would not hold up anywhere other than a "kangaroo court", and said that any police officer unintelligent enough to admit in a police report that a subject he arrested who invoked his 6th amendment rights afforded him in the Constitution he later continued questioning after this statement deserved to have his case overturned...

    He did his part, absolutely tearing the arresting officer a new one in the official decision (which was recorded on a PC he was operating for archival purposes)...lambasting his police work, saying that in 37 years of law enforcement, he had never seen a more poor case presented by any law enforcement agent. This was on the record.

    At any rate, he suggested a few DWI specialists for legal counsel, and wished me luck.

    My public defender was more than enough to show them how silly their case was. Anyone with a knowledge of the basic laws bounding your rights at the time of a traffic stop of this nature would realize how many mistakes they made, which are numerous and could be stated here, but would really bore most.

    Suffice to say, the City didn't have much of a case, and it was a silly thing to have taken it so far as to have me plead in front of the judge before they took me back to a "conference status"...
     
  9. JD

    JD Founding Member

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    What I really want to know is how did you rate a public defender?
     
  10. Bengal B

    Bengal B Founding Member

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    Agreeing to blow into the balloon is the equivilent of giving up your 5th amendment rights against self incrimination. They don't even read you your rights before they try to get you to submit to a breath test. I agree that a person convicted ofdrunk driving should be harshly punished but for the state to impose harsh adminitrative sanctions on those who have stood up for their rights against self incrimination before they have had their day in court is surely unconstitutional.
     

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