Category Archives: Law Enforcement
The gallery at the House Ways and Means Committee Friday had to be called to order after it burst into applause and some gave a standing ovation following an impassioned diatribe against the IRS by Pennsylvania Republican Rep. Mike Kelly.
Kelly took his time during the hearing on the IRS’s targeting of conservatives to lambaste outgoing head Steven Miller, reminding Miller that while the IRS would like to chalk the organization’s recent actions up to a mistake, regular Americans do not get that luxury when dealing with the IRS.
“If you think it’s uncomfortable sitting over there you ought to be a private individual when the IRS is across from you asking you questions,” Kelly began, and that set the tone for the subsequent four minutes.
Some of the highlights:
- “I have a grandson who’s afraid to get out of bed at night because he thinks there’s someone under the bed that’s going to grab him. And I think most Americans feel that way about the IRS.”
- “This kind of reconfirms that, you know what, they [the IRS] can do almost anything they want to anybody they want, anytime they want. This is very chilling for the American people.”
- “This is a Pandora’s Box that has been opened and I don’t think we can get the lid back on it.”
- “I don’t believe the White House just found out about this in a news report.”
- “I got to tell you, where you’re sitting, you should be outraged — and you’re not. The American people should be outraged, and they are.”
- “This reconfirms everything the American public believes! This is a huge blow to the faith and trust the American people have in their government!”
- “Is there any limit to the scope of where you folks can go?”
- “It’s sure as hell intimidating. And I don’t’ know that I got any answers from you today.”
- “I am more concerned today than I was before. The fact that you all can do just about anything you want to anybody. You know, you can put anybody out of business that you want anytime you want.”
- “And when the IRS comes in, you’re not allowed to be shoddy, you’re not allowed to be run horribly, you’re not allowed to make mistakes, you’re not allowed to do one damn thing that doesn’t come in compliance. If you do, you’re held responsible right then.”
- “This is absolutely an overreach and this is an outrage for all America!”
you can watch the impassioned speech below and watch the gallery erupt:
- The Scathing Speech That Just Got a Standing Ovation During the IRS Hearing (theblaze.com)
- The Scathing Speech That Just Got a Standing Ovation During the IRS Hearing (usapartisan.com)
- Congressman gets standing O for nailing IRS chief (wnd.com)
- Congressman Goes On Berating Rant At Ousted IRS Commissioner And Gets A Standing Ovation (businessinsider.com)
- Independents, Republicans believe IRS, Benghazi scandals deserve further investigation (theblaze.com)
- AWESOME! Rep Mike Kelly Receives Standing Ovation After Epic Rant at IRS Hearing (Video) (thegatewaypundit.com)
Law Enforcement Stands With NRA and America’s Gun Owners
Back in February, several gun manufacturers decided to boycott law enforcement in states that are hostile to the Second Amendment, states like New York for instance. They would not be providing weapons or ammunition. Within a week that number had grown by over 700%. In the first article I provided information for several gun manufacturers that could be contacted to come on board with this boycott, including Glock, Sig Sauer, Smith & Wesson and Remington. Well, now we know where Remington stands. They stand on the side of government as they have let it be known that they will be staying in New York and they have now acquired a government contract worth $80 million.
Remington informed New York state lawmakers that they were planning to spend $20 million to upgrade their manufacturing facility in Mohawk Valley. The word was that they were considering moving if New York implemented stricter gun control laws as they have in the NY SAFE Act. Remington had been approached by several states to move.
Lawmakers spoke with Remington about their expansion. The company has received $5.5 million in state incentives over the past five years.
via Discovery News
Tim Faucett, who owns APlus Mobile which makes mobile computer units that manage robots and unmanned aircraft vehicles for the U.S. Navy and Lockheed Martin, believes we’ll need to protect ourselves from drones, and not just the ones being piloted by the military and government.
“There are going to be private drones, there’s going to be commercial drones,” he told Co.Exist’s Zak Stone. “Everybody’s going to have access to a drone. And people are going to have good intentions with them, and people are going to have bad intentions with them.”
Don’t think Faucett is some kind paranoid conspiracy theorist — his claims are credible. Drones are being employed domestically for surveillance and law enforcement.
However, Faucett thinks we should be concerned about those with “bad intentions.” That’s why his startup Domestic Drone Countermeasures recently filed the first of nine patents for, as Stone put it, “a system that will detect and disable drones before they have the chance to film their targets.”
Faucett was hesitant to reveal too many details about the system, but he did say it would be able to identify UAVs by their electromagnetic signature, alert the system owner and “neutralize the drone’s capability to see you with its camera.”
President Barack Obama has the authority to use an unmanned drone strike to kill US citizens on American soil, his attorney general has said.
Eric Holder argued that using lethal military force against an American in his home country would be legal and justified in an “extraordinary circumstance” comparable to the September 11 terrorist attacks.
“The president could conceivably have no choice but to authorise the military to use such force if necessary to protect the homeland,” Mr Holder said.
His statement was described as “more than frightening” by Senator Rand Paul, a Republican from Kentucky, who had demanded to know the Obama administration’s position on the subject.
“It is an affront the constitutional due process rights of all Americans,” said Mr Paul, a 50-year-old favourite of the anti-government Tea Party movement, who is expected to run for president in 2016.
Mr Holder wrote to Mr Paul after the senator threatened to block the appointment of John Brennan as the director of the CIA unless he received answers to a series of questions on its activities.
Mr Paul on Wednesday evening took to the floor of the Senate to launch an old-fashioned filibuster in an effort to delay a vote on the approval of Mr Brennan for CIA director. “I won’t be able to speak forever, but I’m going to speak as long as I can,” he said, before embarking on several hours of criticism of Mr Obama’s compliance with the US constitution.
Mr Obama has been sharply criticised for the secrecy surrounding his extension of America’s “targeted killing” campaign against al-Qaeda terrorist suspects using missile strikes by unmanned drones.
The secret campaign has killed an estimated 4,700 people in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia. A quarter are estimated to have been civilians prompting anger among human rights campaigners.
According to research by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, drone strikes killed between 474 and 881 civilians – including 176 children – in Pakistan between 2004 and last year.
Criticism within the US has focused on the implications for terror suspects who are also US citizens, after Anwar al-Awlaki, a radical cleric born and educated in the US, was killed in Yemen in 2011.
The administration claims it has the legal authority to assassinate Americans provided that they are a senior al-Qaeda operative posing an imminent threat and it would be “infeasible” to capture them.
This justification emerged only last month in a leaked memo from Mr Holder’s department of justice. Mr Obama this week agreed to give Congress his full set of classified legal memos on the targeting of Americans.
Civil liberties campaigners accuse the president and his aides of awarding themselves sweeping powers to deny Americans their constitutional rights without oversight from Congress or the judiciary.
- Eric Holder clarifies policy on drone attacks on U.S. soil (reuters.com)
- Flashback: Obama Says Waterboarding Is Torture …(But He’ll Drop a Drone Bomb On Your Head) (thegatewaypundit.com)
- Sen. Rand Paul: I’ll end filibuster once Obama says no to drone strikes in the U.S. (rawstory.com)
- America is shamed that only Rand Paul is talking about drone executions | Amy Goodman (guardian.co.uk)
via Washington Times
Almost exactly 24 hours after Mr. Paul began his information-seeking filibuster against John O. Brennan, Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham took to the Senate floor to denounce his demands and say he was doing a “disservice” to the debate on drones.
“The country needs more senators who care about liberty, but if Mr. Paul wants to be taken seriously he needs to do more than pull political stunts that fire up impressionable libertarian kids in their college dorms. He needs to know what he’s talking about,” said Mr. McCain, Republicans’ presidential nominee in 2008 — who topped Mr. Paul’s father, former Rep. Ron Paul, in that year’s primary.
And where Democrats praised Mr. Paul for using Senate rules properly to launch a filibuster, Mr. McCain said it was an abuse of rules that could hurt the GOP in the long run.
“What we saw yesterday is going to give ammunition to those who say the rules of the Senate are being abused,” the Arizona Republican said.
Mr. Paul said he was filibustering to get the administration to affirm it won’t kill non-combatant Americans in the U.S. — and his effort was joined by more than a dozen other senators who said they, too, supported his effort to get answers.
Mr. Graham said asking whether the president has the power to kill Americans here at home is a ludicrous question.
“I do not believe that question deserves an answer,” Mr. Graham said.
Mr. Graham and Mr. McCain led a Republican delegation that held a private dinner with President Obama on Wednesday, as Mr. Paul was holding the floor with help from other GOP colleagues.
Mr. McCain even joked about Mr. Graham’s “behavior” at the dinner.
“He was on his best manners and everyone was impressed,” Mr. McCain said.
- McCain And Graham’s @SenRandPaul Temper Tantrum (thecampofthesaints.org)
- IT’S WAR: John McCain And Lindsey Graham Are Tearing Into Rand Paul Right Now On The Senate Floor (businessinsider.com)
- Rush to Rand: ‘You’re a hero’ (wnd.com)
- McCain, Graham blast Paul filibuster (politico.com)
- Moronic: Sen. McCain blasts Sen. Paul’s filibuster as ‘political stunt,’ ‘ridiculous’ (twitchy.com)
- Rand Paul’s Drone Filibuster Sparks GOP Civil War (tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com)
Sierra Adamson interviews Chris Hedges at the hearing for the second court of appeals in the Hedges v Obama NDAA lawsuit. Hedges explains what has happened in the lawsuit to date, the next steps and what he sees in America’s upcoming future.
Citing week-old Supreme Court precedent, the President Barack Obama administration told a federal judge Wednesday that it should quash a federal lawsuit accusing the government of secretly siphoning Americans’ electronic communications to the National Security Agency without warrants.
The San Francisco federal court legal filing was in response to U.S. District Judge Jeffrey White’s written question (.pdf) to the government asking what to make of the high court’s Feb. 26 decision halting a legal challenge to a once-secret warrantless surveillance project that gobbles up Americans’ electronic communications — a program that Congress eventually legalized in 2008 and again in 2012.
In that case, known as Clapper, the justices ruled 5-4 that the American Civil Liberties Union, journalists and human-rights groups that sued to nullify the FISA Amendments Act had no legal standing to sue. The justices ruled (.pdf) the plaintiffs submitted no evidence they were being targeted by that law.
The FISA Amendments Act authorizes the government to electronically eavesdrop on Americans’ phone calls and e-mails without a probable-cause warrant so long as one of the parties to the communication is outside the United States. The communications may be intercepted “to acquire foreign intelligence information.”
- Feds Demand Dismissal of Dragnet-Surveillance Challenge (wired.com)
- It’s Official, the Fourth Amendment is Dead (usahitman.com)
- In ‘Disturbing Decision’ Supreme Court Rejects Challenge of Dragnet Surveillance of Americans (commondreams.org)
- Supreme Court Dismisses Challenge to FISA Amendments Act; EFF’s Lawsuit Over NSA Warrantless Wiretapping Remains (secretsofthefed.com)
Alaska House Passes 2nd Amendment Preservation Act, 31-5
Today, February 25th, Alaska’s Second Amendment Preservation Act, HB69, has passed the State House and will now move on to the Senate for concurrence.
On the 20th of February, HB69 was read during the House Judicial Committee meeting where it was then scheduled for a hearing that was held today. During that hearing meeting, the bill was read for a second reading where the committee unanimously consented to the bills adoption. It was then considered by the full house. The vote was 31-5.
HB69 states, in part: “A personal firearm, a firearm accessory, or ammunition that is possessed in this state or manufactured commercially or privately in this state and that remains in the state is not subject to federal law or federal regulation, including registration, under the authority of the United States Congress to regulate interstate commerce as those items have not traveled in interstate commerce.” [emphasis added]
The bill continues, “The authority of the United States Congress to regulate interstate commerce in basic materials does not include authority to regulate firearms, firearm accessories, and ammunition possessed in this state or made in this state from those materials. Firearm accessories that are imported into this state from another state and that are subject to federal regulation as being in interstate commerce do not subject a firearm to federal regulation under interstate commerce because they are attached to or used in conjunction with a firearm in this state.”
Will Montana Nullify Federal Gun Laws?
As sheriffs around the country get more and more media attention for making statements that they will not comply with or enforce federal gun control schemes, the Montana State house – and a number of others – is taking things a step further.
House Bill 302 was introduced last month by State Representative Krayton Kerns. If passed, it would be another line of defense for the right to keep and bear arms in the State of Montana. Instead of Montana residents having to rely on the goodness, courage, and constitutional understanding of their own local Sheriff – HB302 would make it state law that no state agent, agency or peace officer working in the state of Montana would be allowed to enforce such violations of the 2nd Amendment.
The bill states, in part:
A peace officer, state employee, or employee of any political subdivision is prohibited from enforcing, assisting in the enforcement of, or otherwise cooperating in the enforcement of a federal ban on semiautomatic weapons or large magazines and is also prohibited from participating in any federal enforcement action implementing a federal ban on semiautomatic weapons or large magazines.
In Wyoming, recently, the state house passed a similar law prohibiting such federal bans. That bill also included criminal charges for federal agents who attempt to enforce the ban. Both bills play a big part in nullifying unconstitutional federal acts regarding the right to keep and bear arms.
Will Kentucky Nullify New Federal Gun Restrictions?
The Kentucky state Senate on Monday overwhelmingly passed a nullification bill (SB129) that would prohibit Kentucky from enforcing new federal gun control laws if they’re enacted.
What opponents are missing, however, is the fact that the federal government itself acknowledges that it has NO constitutional authority to force a state to enforce its laws. It often resorts to funding “bribes” to encourage compliance, but it cannot force it. This was upheld by the supreme court multiple times – most notably in the 1997 Printz case and in last Summer’s Obamacare ruling.
The is ZERO serious discussion that the federal government can require the state of Kentucky – or any other state – to enforce its laws.
Sen. Jared Carpenter, a Berea Republican, sponsored the bill. He said the Supremacy Clause applies only if Congress is acting in pursuit of its constitutionally authorized powers, which he said wouldn’t apply to stricter gun measures.
“If I thought the bill would be symbolic, I would’ve written a resolution,” Carpenter told the Associated Press. “I thought it needed more than that.”
The one-page bill deems unenforceable federal bans on gun ownership and registration. It specifically mentions semiautomatic firearms and their magazines.
The bill applies to federal laws as well as federal rules, regulations and orders.
Track all nullification legislation here:
- Will Kentucky Nullify New Federal Gun Restrictions? (tenthamendmentcenter.com)
- Will Montana Nullify Federal Gun Laws? (tenthamendmentcenter.com)
- Two Bills Would Nullify Federal Gun Laws and Regulations in Idaho (tenthamendmentcenter.com)
- Wyoming lawmakers propose bill to nullify new federal gun laws (godgutsandoldglory.wordpress.com)
- All Federal Gun Laws Are Unconstitutional (realnewsworldwide.com)
- 3 More States Propose Bills to Resist Federal Gun Control (secretsofthefed.com)
- 3 More States Propose Bills to Resist Federal Gun Control (activistpost.com)
Well everybody, wave goodbye to your 4th amendment right . . . buh bye!
The supreme court has decided a dog is the only thing standing between you and the (now defunct) 4th amendment of the (now defunct) constitution that used to protect us against unreasonable searches and seizures.
Now if a cop wants to search your car or your person, all s/he needs is a dog and to utter the magic words “My dog alerted.” That’s it. A dog is all the probable cause the law needs to search you and your person.
What’s next? Deciding guilt or innocence using a magic 8 ball?
The supreme court made this decision despite some drug-sniffing dogs being proven wrong more than half the time, no mandate that police be required to video record the dog encounter and any doggy indications of a “hit” or “alert” and the police not being required to track the historic accuracy of their dogs.
The dog that ratted you out may have been wrong 75% of the time in past encounters, but that doesn’t matter because, as (in)justice kagan so brilliantly put it, “the dog may not have made a mistake at all,” instead it “may have detected substances that were too well hidden or present in quantities too small for the officer to locate.”
See? Dogs aren’t wrong, us humans just can’t corroborate their unerring accuracy.
So a dog is called, you get searched and/or arrested and you don’t have any way to cross-examine a dog or check the dog’s record of hits and misses or even review a video recording of your encounter with the dog. It’s just your word against a dog and a cop.
Your 4th amendment rights have just gone to the dogs, literally. Good doggy. Shi**y supreme court. We are f**ked.
Today the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled that “a court can presume” an alert by a drug-sniffing dog provides probable cause for a search “if a bona fide organization has certified a dog after testing his reliability in a controlled setting” or “if the dog has recently and successfully completed a training program that evaluated his proficiency in locating drugs.” The justices overturned a 2011 decision in which the Florida Supreme Court said police must do more than assert that a dog has been properly trained. They deemed that court’s evidentiary requirements too “rigid” for the “totality of the circumstances” test used to determine when a search is constitutional. In particular, the Court said it was not appropriate to demand evidence of a dog’s performance in the field, as opposed to its performance on tests by police. While the Court’s decision in Florida v. Harris leaves open the possibility that defense attorneys can contest the adequacy of a dog’s training or testing and present evidence that the animal is prone to false alerts, this ruling will encourage judges to accept self-interested proclamations about a canine’s capabilities, reinforcing the use of dogs to transform hunches into probable cause.
Myth #1: Field performance is a misleading indicator of a dog’s reliability. When a dog alerts and no drugs are found (as happened twice in this case), “the dog may not have made a mistake at all,” Kagan says. Instead it “may have detected substances that were too well hidden or present in quantities too small for the officer to locate,” she suggests. “Or the dog may have smelled the residual odor of drugs previously in the vehicle or on the driver’s person.” This is a very convenient, completely unfalsifiable excuse for police and prosecutors. But probable cause is supposed to hinge on whether there is a “fair probability” that a search will discover evidence of a crime, and the possibility that dogs will react to traces of drugs that are no longer present makes them less reliable for that purpose.
Myth #2: Police department testing is the gold standard by which a dog’s reliability should be judged. Kagan says the uncertainties of the real world “do not taint records of a dog’s performance in standard training and certification settings,” because “the designers of an assessment know where drugs are hidden and where they are not.” That is precisely the problem when the designers are the dog trainers, as is usually the case, because they may deliberately or subconsciously indicate the locations of the drugs. Lawrence Myers, a veterinarian and neurophysiologist at Auburn University who is an expert on dogs’ olfactory capabilities, observes: “Typically if a cop says, ‘I train the dog every week,’ he’s hiding things and then going around and finding the things he’s hidden. Putting something out, you as the handler, then taking the dog through, you are going to seriously skew the training; you’re going to cue. You can’t help it; you know exactly where the damned thing is.”
- SCOTUS Approves Search Warrants Issued by Dogs (reason.com)
- Court says police don’t have to prove dog training (sacbee.com)
- Court says police don’t have to prove dog training (miamiherald.com)
- Supreme Court Rules On Police Dog Sniffs (huffingtonpost.com)
- Opinion recap: Trust the police dog (scotusblog.com)
- Supreme Court Says Drug-Dog Alerts are ‘Up to Snuff’ (wired.com)
- Every drug dog has his day – in court; even Supreme Court (sacbee.com)
- Supreme Court Won’t Raise Standards For Drug-Sniffing Dogs (thinkprogress.org)
- Court says police don’t have to prove dog training (seattletimes.com)
Two women who were shot by Los Angeles police in Torrance early Thursday during a massive manhunt for an ex-LAPD officer were delivering newspapers, sources said.
The women, shot in the 19500 block of Redbeam Avenue, were taken to area hospitals, Torrance police Lt. Devin Chase said. They were not identified. One was shot in the hand and the other in the back, according to Jesse Escochea, who captured video of the victims being treated.
It was not immediately known what newspapers the women were delivering. After the shooting, the blue pickup was riddled with bullet holes and what appeared to be newspapers lay in the street alongside.
Local, state and federal authorities are involved in a massive search for Christoper Jordan Dorner, 33, a former Los Angeles Police Department officer who is believed to have threatened “unconventional and asymmetrical warfare” against police in an online manifesto, and was suspected of shooting three police officers, one of whom died, early Thursday in Riverside County.
Dorner also is suspected of killing a couple in Orange County earlier this week.
Sources said the Los Angeles police detectives involved in the Torrance shooting were on protective detail for a police official named in the suspect’s supposed manifesto, which was posted on what authorities believe is his Facebook page.
MORE . . .
VIA Mail Online
The New York Police Department, with help from the Pentagon, is testing a new technology that will allow officers to detect concealed weapons using a handheld device.
The device, known as Terahertz Imaging Detection, would operate as a kind of X-ray scanner, measuring the energy radiating from a body up to 16 feet away and detecting anything blocking that radiation, such as a gun.
‘This technology has shown a great deal of promise as a way of detecting weapons without a physical search,’ Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said of the device, which is still being developed.
He said the device would only be used under ‘reasonably suspicious circumstances.’
The technology is being fine-tuned with the help of the Department of Defense counter-terrorism unit, which is interested in using the technology to help thwart terror attacks.
‘We have involved our attorneys as we go forward with this issue,’ Kelly said, acknowledging the privacy issues that will arise as a result of the technology.
The device could be mounted in a squad car, Kelly said, noting that making the technology portable was a priority of his.
- NYPD tests technology to detect concealed weapons- California school district gets high-powered rifles (foxnews.com)
- NYPD testing device to secretly scan New Yorkers for guns… (nydailynews.com)
- NYPD testing device to secretly scan New Yorkers for guns (blacklistednews.com)
- NYPD to Receive ‘T-Ray’ Vision to Detect Concealed Firearms (israelnationalnews.com)
- NYPD to use ‘T-Ray’ to detect concealed guns (wnd.com)
Bridgeport Police Department: Connecticut cops on leave after they were caught ‘kicking and stomping on man’ | Mail Online
Three Connecticut police officers have been put on administrative leave after they were caught on video brutally beating a suspect in a local park.
Elson Morales, Joseph Lawlor and Clive Higgins, all 10-year veterans of the Bridgeport Police Department, are shown on the tape kicking and stomping on a man they had already subdued with a stun gun.
They will remain on paid administrative leave while the May 2011 encounter is investigated.
The sobering footage was uploaded on YouTube on January 18 by an anonymous user. It is unclear who filmed it.
In the video, which goes in and out of focus, the pop and sizzle of the electric stun gun can be heard before a man shouts ‘nice shot’ from off camera as the suspect falls to the ground.
Within seconds, two officers stand over the motionless man and begin kicking and stomping on him as he writhes around on the grass. A third officer drives up in a police cruiser with the sirens blaring and attacks him.
At one point a witness yells at the officers, ‘You got him, cut the (expletive).’
Carolyn Vermont, president of the Greater Bridgeport branch of the NAACP, slammed the police response, describing it to the Connecticut Post as ‘horrible, totally unacceptable.’
‘No person should be treated as an animal, no matter what they are charged with,’ she said.
Police Chief Joseph Gaudett Jr. said he learned about the video last week and promptly ordered the city’s Office of Internal Affairs to investigate the beating. He also notified the Bridgeport State’s Attorney.
- NAACP reportedly wants cops in beating video arrested (foxnews.com)
- Connecticut cops kicked and stomped on man downed by stun gun: video (rawstory.com)
- Three Connecticut police officers caught on camera ‘kicking and stomping on man they’d subdued with a stun gun’ (dailymail.co.uk)
- Three Connecticut police officers caught on camera ‘kicking and stomping on man they’d subdued with a stun gun’ (informationliberation.com)
- Three Connecticut police officers caught on camera ‘kicking and stomping on man they’d subdued with a stun gun’ (sgtreport.com)
- Cops accused of brutality, alleged incident caught on video (myfox8.com)
- 3 Bridgeport, CT. Cops Caught on Video Beating Stun-Gunned Man (leaksource.wordpress.com)
- Officers on Desk Duty After Alleged Beating Video (fox8.com)
- Video shows police Tasering, stomping suspect (fromthetrenchesworldreport.com)
Robert J. Burns, a 55-year-old retired nurse who lives in St. Louis, was returning from a trip to the West Coast last October when his white Nissan pickup truck was pulled over on Interstate 40 near Amarillo. Burns was carrying a 12-foot aluminum fishing boat on top of the truck, and he had been struggling against high winds that kept pushing him toward the shoulder. The sheriff’s deputy who stopped him thought he might be drunk.
“He asked me to step out and come back to his car,” Burns says, “and that’s when I noticed the dog in the back seat, a yellowish Lab. I explained that I hadn’t been drinking and my getting on the shoulder of the road was strictly from the wind. He said that he was going to write me a warning, and I said, ‘OK, that’s fine.’ He asked me if I had any drugs in the car. I said, ‘No, sir, I don’t do drugs, and I don’t associate with people who do.’ He asked me would I mind if he searched my vehicle, and I said, ‘Well, yes, I would mind if you searched my vehicle.’ ”
But thanks to the U.S. Supreme Court, the deputy did not have to take no for an answer. In the 2005 case Illinois v. Caballes, the Court declared that “the use of a well-trained narcotics-detection dog…during a lawful traffic stop generally does not implicate legitimate privacy interests.” So the deputy was free to walk his dog around Burns’ truck. “He got out with this dog and went around the car, two or three times,” Burns says. “He came back and said the dog had ‘passively alerted’ on my vehicle.” Burns, who is familiar with drug-detecting dogs from his work as an M.P. at Edwards Air Force Base in the 1970s, was puzzled. Properly trained police dogs are supposed to indicate the presence of drugs with a clear, objectively verifiable signal, such as sitting down in front of an odor’s source or scratching at it. Yet “the dog never sat down, the dog never scratched, the dog never did anything that would indicate to me that it thought there was something in there.”
The deputy and another officer who arrived during the stop nevertheless went through Burns’ truck for half an hour or so, reaching up into the boat, perusing his cargo, looking under the seats and the hood, examining the gas tank and the undercarriage. They found no trace of drugs, although they did come across the loaded pistol that Burns mentioned to them once it was clear they planned to search the truck.
That’s one way of looking at it. But even if you are neither a lawyer nor a super-libertarian, you might wonder 1) how often this sort of thing happens, 2) how it came to be that police can get permission from a dog to rifle an innocent man’s belongings, and 3) whether that state of affairs is consistent with the Fourth Amendment’s guarantee against “unreasonable searches and seizures.” The answers, in brief, are 1) fruitless searches based on dog alerts happen a lot more often than commonly believed, 2) dogs acquired this authority with the blessing of credulous courts mesmerized by their superhuman olfactory talents, and 3) this dog license is hard to square with the Fourth Amendment, unless it is reasonable to trust every officer’s unsubstantiated claim about how an animal of undetermined reliability reacted to a person, a suitcase, a car, or a house.
MORE . . .
- How Accurate Are the Dogs that Send You to Jail? (zen-haven.com)