The Perverse Ingenuity, and Routine Lawlessness, of Law Enforcers
By William Norman Grigg
Pro Libertate Blog
January 16, 2017
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Enforcers of drug prohibition can be perversely ingenious in devising methods to subvert due process guarantees. One tactic widely employed by police officers looking for a way to circumvent the Fourth Amendment is to intimidate a subject into giving the officers permission to invade the rights of others – such as residents of an apartment building, or passengers in an automobile. That ruse has been rebuffed in two recent state Supreme Court rulings.
Police officers in Berlin, Connecticut who conducted a warrantless search of an apartment complex using a drug-detecting dog violated the Fourth Amendment, acknowledged a December 22nd ruling from that state’s highest appellate court.
In May 2012, acting on an anonymous tip, police obtained permission from the owners and managers of an apartment complex to carry out what was called a “canine examination of the common areas of the building.” A drug-detecting dog named Zeusz was deployed in the hallway of each floor of the complex, and allowed to sniff at the bottom of each door. Zeusz displayed what is called a “passive alert” at unit 204, which prompted the officers to obtain a search warrant. This led to the discovery of several marijuana plants.
The Fourth Amendment’s definition of a reasonable search refers to a particular description of “the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized”; this language was designed to forbid the kind of general warrants that were commonly used by British military and customs officials in the years immediately prior to the colonial rebellion. By getting the owners of the apartment complex to authorize a warrantless search – waiving the rights of dozens of people to be secure in their individual domiciles — the Berlin Police behaved less like their British forebears than their antecedents in Communist East Germany.
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The police are absolutely out of control. Time to reign them all in. Need to end the “(pseudo) War on (some) Drugs” from whence all these illegal search and civil forfeiture abuse originates from.
Juries must vote “not guilty” on all drug laws or any OTHER “victimless crime” like prostitution.
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