The Police State In Action

Discussion in 'Politics & Religion' started by pspr, Jul 5, 2013.

  1. pspr

    pspr

    If this isn't in violation of existing law, let alone the 3rd Amendment challenge, something is terribly wrong in Mudville.
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    Ilyah Somin, at The Volokh Conspiracy, highlights one of those stories which normally wouldn’t qualify as anything above “local news” were it not for the interesting constitutional questions involved. The family of Anthony Mitchell, in Henderson, Nevada, just outside of Vegas, have filed a claim which states that the police have violated their third amendment rights.


    LAS VEGAS (CN) – Henderson police arrested a family for refusing to let officers use their homes as lookouts for a domestic violence investigation of their neighbors, the family claims in court.

    Anthony Mitchell and his parents Michael and Linda Mitchell sued the City of Henderson, its Police Chief Jutta Chambers, Officers Garret Poiner, Ronald Feola, Ramona Walls, Angela Walker, and Christopher Worley, and City of North Las Vegas and its Police Chief Joseph Chronister, in Federal Court…

    Mitchell claims that defendant officers, including Cawthorn and Worley and Sgt. Michael Waller then “conspired among themselves to force Anthony Mitchell out of his residence and to occupy his home for their own use.”

    Because it comes up so infrequently, a quick refresher course on the 3rd:

    No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

    The Courthouse News article linked above has all the specifics, but the bottom line certainly does make the actions of the police look questionable. The cops were investigating a domestic violence complaint involving one of Mitchell’s neighbors and determined that they wanted to set up shop in Mitchell’s house to keep an eye on the other residence. When Mitchell declared that he didn’t wish to become involved and declined, the cops busted down his door with a ram, arrested him, and took over the residence anyway.

    But, as Somin points out, this may still be a bit dodgy, at least in terms of making a 3rd Amendment case, specifically because police do not immediately qualify as “soldiers” for purposes of this discussion. Or do they?

    The most obvious obstacle to winning a Third Amendment claim here is that police arguably do not qualify as “soldiers.” On the other hand, as Radley Balko describes in his excellent new book The Rise of the Warrior Cop, many police departments are increasingly using military-style tactics and equipment, often including the aggressive use of force against innocent people who get in the way of their plans. If the plaintiffs’ complaint is accurate, this appears to be an example of that trend. In jurisdictions where the police have become increasingly militarized, perhaps the courts should treat them as “soldiers” for Third Amendment purposes.

    A second possible impediment to winning a Third Amendment claim in this case is that the Amendment is one of the few parts of the Bill of Rights that the Supreme Court still has not “incorporated” against state governments. For incorporation purposes, claims against local governments (like this one) are treated the same way as claims against states. On the other hand, the Supreme Court has never ruled that the Third Amendment does not apply to the states. If, as the Court has previously decided, virtually all the rest of the Bill of Rights applies to state governments, there is no good reason to exclude the Third Amendment. If the Third Amendment part of the case is not dismissed on other grounds, the federal district court may have to address the issue of incorporation.

    Some of the people commenting on that article already seem to be confusing the 3rd Amendment with the 4th, at least in terms of questioning whether or not the government has trod upon Mitchell’s “privacy” in this instance. But while a valid question, it’s still very different from the quartering of soldiers. The pertinent section there would include, “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause…”

    Mitchell was accused of nothing before having the security of his person and house disrupted, so perhaps they’d have done better with a 4th Amendment argument. Then again, I’m not a lawyer, so it’s tough to say. Either way, it would be interesting popcorn fodder, if nothing else, to see this one run up the chain of the courts.


    http://hotair.com/archives/2013/07/05/a-real-3rd-amendment-case/
     
  2. BSAM

    BSAM

    If you want to see the police state, just use the internet, your telephone, or mail a letter.
     
  3. BSAM

    BSAM

    It's Nazi Germany x100.
     
  4. pspr

    pspr

    The police state has got us all by the balls any time they want.
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    Elizabeth Daly went to jail over a case of bottled water.

    According to the Charlottesville Daily Progress, shortly after 10 p.m. April 11, the University of Virginia student bought ice cream, cookie dough and a carton of LaCroix sparkling water from the Harris Teeter grocery store at the popular Barracks Road Shopping Center. In the parking lot, a half-dozen men and a woman approached her car, flashing some kind of badges. One jumped on the hood. Another drew a gun. Others started trying to break the windows.

    Daly understandably panicked. With her roommate in the passenger seat yelling “Go, go, go!” Daly drove off, hoping to reach the nearest police station. The women dialed 911. Then a vehicle with lights and sirens pulled them over, and the situation clarified: The people who had swarmed Daly’s vehicle were plainclothes agents of the Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control. The agents had thought the sparkling water was a 12-pack of beer.

    Did the ABC’s enforcers apologize? Not in the slightest. They charged Daly with three felonies: two for assaulting an officer (her vehicle had grazed two agents; neither was hurt) and one for eluding the police. Last week, the commonwealth’s attorney dropped the charges.

    The agents’ excessive display of force is outrageously disproportionate to the offense they mistakenly thought they witnessed: an underage purchase of alcohol. But in a sense, Daly got off easy. A couple of weeks after her ordeal, a 61-year-old man in Tennessee was killed when the police executed a drug raid on the wrong house. A few weeks later, in another wrong-house raid, police officers killed a dog belonging to an Army veteran. These are not isolated incidents; for more information, visit the interactive map at www.cato.org/raidmap.

    They are, however, part and parcel of two broader phenomena. One is the militarization of domestic law enforcement. In recent years, police departments have widely adopted military tactics, military equipment (armored personnel carriers, flash-bang grenades) — and, sometimes, the mindset of military conquerors rather than domestic peacekeepers.

    The other phenomenon is the increasing degree to which civilians are subject to criminal prosecution for noncriminal acts, including exercising the constitutionally protected right to free speech.

    Last week, A.J. Marin was arrested in Harrisburg, Pa., for writing in chalk on the sidewalk. Marin was participating in a health care demonstration outside Gov. Tom Corbett’s residence when he wrote, “Governor Corbett has health insurance, we should too.” Authorities charged Marin with writing “a derogatory remark about the governor on the sidewalk.” The horror.

    This follows the case of Jeff Olson, who chalked messages such as “Stop big banks” outside branches of Bank of America last year. Law professor Jonathan Turley reports that prosecutors brought 13 vandalism charges against him. Moreover, the judge in the case recently prohibited Olson’s attorney from “mentioning the First Amendment, free speech,” or anything like them during the trial.

    In May, a Texas woman was arrested for asking to see a warrant for the arrest of her 11-year-old son. “She spent the night in jail while her son was left at home,” reports Fox34 News. The son never was arrested. Also in Texas, Justin Carter has spent months in jail — and faces eight years more — for making an admittedly atrocious joke about shooting up a school in an online chat. Though he was plainly kidding, authorities charged him with making a terrorist threat.

    Federal prosecutors also recently used an anti-terrorism measure to seize almost $70,000 from the owners of a Maryland dairy. Randy and Karen Sowers had made several bank deposits of just under $10,000 to avoid the headache of filing federal reports required for sums over that amount. The feds charged them with unlawful “structuring.” Last week, they settled the case. Authorities kept half their money to teach them a lesson.

    “I broke the law yesterday,” writes George Mason economics professor Alex Tabarrok, “and I probably will break the law tomorrow. Don’t mistake me, I have done nothing wrong. I don’t even know what laws I have broken. … It’s hard for anyone to live today without breaking the law. Doubt me? Have you ever thrown out some junk mail that … was addressed to someone else? That’s a violation of federal law punishable by up to five years in prison.” Tabarrok notes that lawyer Harvey Silverglate thinks the typical American commits “Three Felonies a Day” — the title of Silverglate’s book on the subject.

    As The Wall Street Journal has reported, lawmakers in Washington have greatly eroded the notion of mens rea — the principle that you need criminal intent in order to commit a crime. Thanks to a proliferating number of obscure offenses, Americans now resemble the condemned souls in Jonathan Edwards’ “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” — spared from perdition only by the temporary forbearance of those who sit in judgment.

    “What once might have been considered simply a mistake,” The Journal explains, is now “punishable by jail time.” And as 20-year-old Elizabeth Daly has now learned, you can go to jail even when the person making the mistake wasn’t you.


    bhinkle@timesdispatch.com

    http://www.timesdispatch.com/opinio...cle_58344fc1-7d4f-584a-8d16-36a1b1f2cdc0.html