Tag Archives: U.S. Supreme Court

Man Legally Filming in Public Harassed, Illegally Detained, and Arrested (Multiple Times) by Las Vegas Police

Filming in Public Las Vegas Metro Harassment

Video shows a man, who is legally filming in a public space, being repeatedly harassed, illegally detained, and unlawfully arrested multiple times by police officers from the LVMPD.

If you have videos, stories, upcoming events/protests, or personal interactions with the police (and/or “justice” system) that you would like to share, send them to us and we will do everything we can to bring it to the attention of the world. In addition, you can visit the Nevada Cop Block resources section for information and links to the rights of citizens when dealing with police, during which you should always be filming.

The video embedded below, which was posted to YouTube by Las Vegas attorney Stephen Stubbs, pretty much speaks for itself. (Especially with the text that has been added to it.) Within the video, consisting of a series of different encounters over a course of several days in late October (2017), a Las Vegas man is out filming public areas at or near various police substations. Each time, he is stopped by members of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, illegally detained, harassed, and on at least two occasions unlawfully arrested.

In spite of what the police say in the video, the Nevada “Duty to Identify” statute (NRS 171.123) only requires a person that has been legally detained to give their first and last names. They are not required to give any other information, such as an address or birth date. Not to mention the fact that the man in the video was never actually legally detained in the first place.

Police parking lots are public property and are open to the general public. The “no trespassing” signs that are referenced in the video only apply to a restricted area behind the building that is gated off. Filming areas that are visible from public spaces is absolutely legal and has been ruled to be a First Amendment protected activity by several courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court.

Watching the video, it’s incredibly obvious that the stated “Reasonable Suspicion” the officers are using to justify their detention of the man are nothing but very flimsy excuses to harass him. As already stated, he isn’t trespassing and filming in public is legal so there was no legal cause to stop him for being in the parking lot. Also, even if “aggressively approaching” their car is even an actual cause to detain someone, that clearly didn’t happen on the video.

Regardless of the fact that he wasn’t legally detained during any of those instances, the man on the video still complies under duress and tells them his name. Therefore, they absolutely have no reason to subsequently arrest him for not telling them his birth date (which he actually does tell them before the final arrest) or any other information beyond his legal name.

The reality, widely known among Las Vegas residents, that this video illustrates is that the LVMPD are just a bunch of bullies who will not hesitate to harass and retaliate against anyone that doesn’t follow their orders, even when those orders are flagrantly unlawful. And contrary to their statements on the video, they quite obviously have not learned much of anything from their past behavior.

Also, while it should be surprising that supervising officers ranking as high as lieutenant are not just involved in the harassment and illegal actions depicted in this video, but actually initiating it, it isn’t for anyone that knows how Las Vegas area police operate. Metro is corrupt and out of control from top to bottom.

And as is commonly the case whenever the LVMPD are in the process of harassing and/or arresting someone on some minor (or non-existent) crime, the dozen or so cops that show up at the end are a great display of how desperately short-handed the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department is these days.

Related Content on NVCopBlock.org:

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False Imprisonment: Its Increasing Frequency and the Huge Cost It Imposes on Society

The following post was shared with the CopBlock Network anonymously by a reader, via the CopBlock.org Submissions Page.

If you have a video, personal story involving police misconduct and/or abuse, or commentary about a law enforcement related news story, we would be happy to have you submit it. You can find some advice on how to get your submission published on the CopBlock Network within this post.

Police Abuses on the Rise

It’s no secret that police brutality and misconduct has been on the rise recently with cases in the news like Eric Garner who was suffocated in a choke hold by police and killed for illegally selling cigarettes. Similarly, a 12-year-old boy Tamir Rice was shot and killed after playing with a toy gun in the park. The level of uneasiness between police officers and citizens has hit an all-time high and we see this unrest play out in society. Police brutality is not the only form of police misconduct- false arrest of citizens can be an excruciating experience that sends innocent people to prison for simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

For example, Chicago’s taxpayers have had to pay over $120 million for the racial torture committed by one police commander, Jon Burge. Part of the disconnect between officers and citizens is the unfairness in power and how that power is used. To add on to this, police are offered different treatment when it comes to false arrests or misconduct. Although Burge oversaw the torture of over 118 black men – which would typically lead to decades in prison – he was released in three-and-a-half years and sent to a halfway house. All the men he tortured remain behind bars.

Police officers were granted a Qualified Immunity Doctrine by the Supreme Court which essentially states that police officers are innocent of harm towards their suspects in most cases due to their risky and honorable line of work. The best intentions are seen to be associated with most police officers, but has that been the case recently?

Typically, false arrest from police officers falls into the police misconduct category, which can also encompass police brutality and wrongful death. According to the University of Michigan Law School’s National Registry of Exonerations report, 75% of homicide exonerations involved police misconduct. One widely publicized example of a wrongful arrest was James Bain, who was convicted of kidnapping and rape at the age of 18. He served 35 years for a vicious crime he did not commit. Although DNA evidence was tested and presented prior, he was refused further DNA testing from the courts until his fifth try in 2006. Although misidentification from eyewitnesses account for 75% of all convictions that are overturned by DNA evidence, Bain was wrongfully arrested and incarcerated by police.

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How Does False Imprisonment Affect the Public?

Some people may think that the police arrest people who they think are guilty of a crime, and if they are wrongfully arrested, they are quickly released and go about their happy lives. That is far from the truth in most cases where the arrest was outright wrong and unlawful. Many people who are falsely arrested fight back and sue the police officer who wronged them and because of this, the public is responsible for paying that fee.

Amount of Money City Taxpayers Have Paid for Police Misconduct:

  • Chicago: $521 million from 2004-2014
  • Cleveland: $8.2 million between 2004-2014
  • Denver: $12 million since 2011
  • Dallas: $6.6 million between 2011-2014
  • Los Angeles: $101 million between 2002-2011

For example, Robert Graham was arrested for disorderly conduct by a police officer who was stuck in traffic behind him. Due to the gridlock traffic in New York City, Graham was also stuck in traffic and unable to move. The police officers wrongfully arrested Graham due to the circumstances of the situation. Graham’s wrongfully arrested cases was one of the ones that contributed to New York taxpayers paying $18 million to pay back people who were wrongfully arrested by officers.

According to Jon Norinsberg, a false imprisonment attorney, New York city police may only legally arrest citizens if:

  1. The police have an arrest warrant.
  2. The police have probable cause that you committed a crime.
  3. You are interfering with a police investigation or arrest.
  4. The police believe you are a criminal attempting to flee a crime scene.

Why are Police Officers Getting Away with False Imprisonment?

The number of innocent people behind bars is the highest number it has ever been historically, so it is only natural to question the source – the police. Why has it become okay to so quickly convict people and rarely face punishment as a police officer for wrongfully arresting someone? The issue gets stickier when videos of police officers using excessive force and even killing citizens when they appeared to pose no threat. Are there consequences for that? Rarely.

Unfortunately, false arrests happen and can be scary to argue your case in front of a judge – especially because police are most often shielded by the Qualified Immunity Doctrine exercised by the Supreme Court. This is a protective order that is designed to protect police officers from facing punishments from their mistakes or unlawful actions. In theory, this Qualified Immunity Doctrine was originally designed to shield officers who are properly bringing justice to criminals and who handle situations appropriately – if someone is upset for getting arrested if they deserve it, well this doctrine will protect the police from this potential complaint or lawsuit. Since videos have been released of police officers using unnecessary excessive force on unarmed people, citizens are growing scared that officers are abusing this immunity from the Supreme Court to get away with their unjust behavior. This is where a disconnect lies between police officers and citizens.

Where is the Accountability From the Police?

Why is it that as a society we only started paying attention to police misconduct and false arrests when Netflix featured programs like Making a Murderer?

Police officers are designed to keep our communities safe. While most cops are heroes and upstanding citizens who work hard to protect our safety, those who entered the police force to unlawfully assert power over others and take advantage of their badge are getting more press in recent news. Although it’s an unfortunate circumstance, it is important to stay educated on what is happening in society to better educate yourself and to hopefully make a positive change.

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Video Update: Ohio Cop Who Ran Stop Sign to Ticket Lyndhurst Man For Flipping Him Off

The following post and accompanying video were shared with the CopBlock Network by Dominic Fallon, via the CopBlock.org Submissions Page. This submission consists of a second video containing an update of a previous submission by Fallon. In that submission, Fallon stated that he had flipped a cop off, who then turned around and ran a stop sign while speeding himself in order to issue a speeding ticket in retaliation.

Date of Incident: October 10, 2016
Officers Involved: Sergeant Greg Traci – Badge #107, Officer Matt Eden – Badge #014, Officer David Boss – Badge #006
Department Involved: Lyndhurst (Ohio) Police Department
Department Facebook Page: Lyndhurst Police Dept.
Department Phone No.: (440) 473-5116

If you have a video, personal story involving police misconduct and/or abuse, or commentary about a law enforcement related news story, we would be happy to have you submit it. You can find some advice on how to get your submission published on the CopBlock Network within this post.

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After I was ticketed for “speeding” in Lyndhurst, I decided to gather more video evidence that I also posted in the video update. I wanted to thank the creators of this organization for helping to shed light on the corruption throughout our justice system and I’m sorry it took so long for this update.

I do want to let people know that all cops are not bad, but like every other human on this planet, they do make bad decisions sometimes. Without this organization, I do not think I would have had the courage to go out and film government officials breaking the law.

Even though I was still charged for speeding, I am a man of my word and did state that I did travel no faster then 28. Maybe one day we will have a new law set across this country that would encourage officers to document and turn in the officers that do make these bad decisions and also be rewarded with some type of incentive.

Anyone that wants to see more videos in the future please subscribe to my YouTube channel.

– Dominic Fallon

The Original Video:

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Man “Open Carrying” a Cat Harassed Then Illegally Arrested by Police in Mena, Arkansas

The following post and accompanying video were shared with the CopBlock Network by Bart Perry, via the CopBlock.org Submissions Page.

Bart is the father of the person that recorded the video, whose name is Timothy Perry. The video is fairly short and not of very good quality having been taken with a cellphone by a man being threatened and subsequently kidnapped by armed strangers on what appears to be a deserted road.

However, in spite of its brevity and lack of technical perfection (or anything close to that) it shows pretty clearly that Bart’s son Timothy was stopped without legal justification and then arrested on the typical, made up “contempt of cop” charge of obstruction. During the video, Officers Mike Wolf and Paul Larson give some very bad excuses for their initial harassment of Timothy.

The fact that Officer Larson sees someone walking on the side of a road does not necessitate a “welfare check.” Even if he chooses to take it upon himself to do so, the simple act of walking in public does not constitute reasonable suspicion to legally detain someone, even if they start filming you once you turn around. Nor does Officer Wolf’s assertion that Timothy “disappeared on this officer.” None of those things are actually illegal acts.

Obviously, Officer Wolf is also incredibly wrong about what the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled in regards to “stop and identify” statutes. In order for someone to be compelled to identify themselves, they must be legally detained. Since that is clearly not the case in this video, that requirement does not apply.

Timothy also is not legally obstructing them, since they have no legal authority to investigate him for the “offense” of walking down the street with a cat in his hands. Even in the Police State of America, it’s not yet illegal to simply walk around (openly) carrying a cat.

(Note: No information was included about the status of the [unidentified] cat. I certainly hope that s/he made it back home safely and was not also harmed and/or kidnapped by Mena Arkansas Police Officers Mike Wolf and Paul Larson. If I do receive such information, I will update the post.) – Update: I’ve been informed that the cat has returned and is safe. I’ve also been told that the charges in this case have been dropped.

Date of Incident: January 15, 2017
Officers Involved: Officer Mike Wolf and Officer Paul Larson – badge numbers 506 and 513
Department Involved: Mena (AR) Police Department
Department Facebook Page: Mena Police Dept.
Department Phone Number: (479) 394-1212

If you have a video, personal story involving police misconduct and/or abuse, or commentary about a law enforcement related news story, we would be happy to have you submit it. You can find some advice on how to get your submission published on the CopBlock Network within this post.

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On January 15th 2017, my son, Timothy Perry, who is 25 years old, went outside to catch his cat that had gotten out the door a few minutes earlier. Timothy was right down the road with his cat in his arms when the cops (two of them) stopped him and started asking him questions.

The state of Arkansas has a “stop and identify” law that requires you to give your name IF you are suspected of a crime. “If they have reasonable suspicion that you’re involved in criminal activity.” I don’t think catching your cat, looks like criminal activity. (at least not in my opinion…)

My son, knowing he had done nothing wrong, and was not committing ANY criminal act refused to give them his name. I think this made the officer angry, because he decided to throw my son on the hood of his car, VERY hard…(excessive force?) Oh, yea, he had his cat in his arms at the time.

Then, to top it off, he read him his Miranda rights as, “you have the right to remain silent, I suggest you do it.” Is this the same Miranda rights I was brought up knowing…or a shorter version they use when you make them mad? But the officer tells my son at first that he has no idea what age he is…my son looks more then 25 at the least.

Police departments all over the USA are having trouble with police officers right now, and now I know why. The excessive use of force, the stopping of citizens just walking down the road to get their cat, and Miranda rights given to you illegally…not the police force I want protecting me…right?

I think the police in Mena Arkansas need to be corrected for this, as it’s just not right. I personally think he needs to sue them. Anybody know of any good attorneys that will work pro bono? This shit has GOT to stop…Nazi cops are everywhere.

– Bart Perry

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Ohio Cop Speeds and Runs Stop Sign to Ticket Driver Because He Flipped Him Off

The following post and accompanying video were shared with the CopBlock Network by Dominic Fallon, via the CopBlock.org Submissions Page.

Within the description included below, Fallon describes how Officer Matt Eden, of the Lyndhurst Police Department in Ohio, responded to being flipped off. In spite of it having been ruled numerous times within every level of the judiciary, including the U.S. Supreme court, a legal action protected by the First Amendment’s right to Freedom of Speech, Officer Eden decided to retaliate against Fallon for it.

In doing so, Fallon maintains that Eden had to make a U-turn, speed, and run several stop signs (without his lights or sirens on) to catch up to him. The video shows the ensuing confrontation, during which another officer and Eden’s supervisor, Sgt. Greg Traci were also called to the scene and Fallon was threatened with arrest if he didn’t provide his ID. Sgt. Traci’s response to Fallon’s contention that Officer Eden had lied about him speeding and request for evidence was that Fallon should just accept the ticket and contest it in court.

Date of Incident: October 10, 2016
Officers Involved: Sergeant Greg Traci – Badge #107, Officer Matt Eden – Badge #014, Officer David Boss – Badge #006
Department Involved: Lyndhurst (Ohio) Police Department
Department Facebook Page: Lyndhurst Police Dept.
Department Phone No.: (440) 473-5116

If you have a video, personal story involving police misconduct and/or abuse, or commentary about a law enforcement related news story, we would be happy to have you submit it. You can find some advice on how to get your submission published on the CopBlock Network within this post.

Click the banner to submit content to CopBlock.org

Click the banner to submit content to CopBlock.org

I turned onto Winchester from Mayfield and had gone about 50ft on Winchester from  Mayfield when I flipped Officer Eden off while he was heading north into the intersection at a red light.

There were .2 miles in between us when I stopped at the Haverford Dr. intersection and that’s when he was able to turn around at the Sunoco to head back South in my direction.

It is about 430ft from Haverford Dr. to Beacon Ave. where Eden came flying up behind me and then had to slow down drastically to stay at pace with me heading south on Winchester.

It’s .2 miles from Beacon Ave. to Bluebell Dr. and another .2 miles from Bluebell Dr. to where Officer Eden activated his emergency lights to pull me over and where I came to a complete stop, in between 1848 and 1856 Winchester Rd. right in front of the green waist high post.

Within the .2 miles after Bluebell Dr., I was able to come to three complete stops and waited three seconds before I proceeded south on Winchester to go to work. (Stop signs on Winchester are located at Chickadee Ln., Meadow Wood blvd., and Golfway Ln.)

My vehicle is an 08 Honda Civic Si sedan with a 6-speed manual transmission. I stayed at 28mph in 3rd gear, between 2.5-2.7rpms

Officer Eden insists that his department can and will run stop signs with no emergency lights. He also admitted in the video to turning around because I flipped him off, but claims I then sped up to get away from him.

I was also fired because of this event.

Why would someone run from a cop, let alone speed away from one that they had watched turn around and head back into the direction that they were heading?

– Dominic Fallon

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Make Sure You Know How to Assert Your Rights When Harassed and/or Profiled by Police

The following video and the description accompanying it were shared with the CopBlock Network by Rudy Gonzalez Jr., via the CopBlock.org Submissions Page.

This submission is one of the better videos I’ve seen showing how to calmly, yet firmly, assert your rights and handle yourself when being harassed by the police. And obviously the first thing he does right is filming his interaction with the officers. It begins with Officer Deleon stating that he needs to see Gonzalez’ ID to make sure he “isn’t an illegal alien.” Deleon further states that this is based on the fact that Gonzalez is walking close to a border fence at night.

This is a pretty blatant case of profiling, based on the fact that Gonzalez is of Latino origin. I have very little doubt that if someone of another ethnicity were doing the same that it would be unlikely they would be stopped to check if they are in the country legally. Gonzalez subtly points that out by asking Deleon why he suspects that he is in the country illegally. And of course, much like someone shouldn’t have to prove that they “belong” in a certain neighborhood based on their appearance, people shouldn’t have to arbitrarily prove that they are a citizen (without even going into the many abuses justified and perpetuated by border controls and the hysteria surrounding them) based solely on their appearance, either.

A rather interesting exchange is when Officer Deleon begins asking Gonzalez questions about whether he has any weapons on him and responds to Gonzalez asking for his name and badge number by asking for his name. Each time, Gonzalez asserts his Fifth Amendment right to remain silent by stating, “I don’t answer questions.” In a frustrated voice, Deleon says, “you like to ask questions, though.” As a matter of fact, that is the exact proper way people should handle being questioned by police. The best course of action is to refuse to answer any questions and any conversation that you have with a cop should be to question them about the legalities of the situation in order to clarify if they are being accused of a crime. (Also, in order to get them on record stating what, if any, crime they think you might have committed or admitting that they don’t have any reason to suspect you of a crime.)

Toward the end of the video, Gonzalez turns the tables a bit and begins asking Officer Deleon if he and Officer Spinoza are “illegals.” He follows that up by stating that he needs Deleon to show him three forms of ID to establish if he is in the country legally. The real cherry on top of the whole exchange is when Deleon responds by again requesting ID from Gonzalez.

Gonzalez correctly explains that, unlike police officers, citizens aren’t required to provide ID unless they are suspected of committing a crime (and therefore legally detained) citing the Brown vs. Texas case. Another, more recent, case that pertains to requirements to produce ID is Hiibel v. Sixth Judicial District Court of Nevada, in which the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that police could arrest someone for refusing to identify themselves, but only if they have reasonable suspicion to believe that someone has or was in the process of committing a crime.

In both cases, it was also ruled that citizens are not required to produce physical ID unless they are driving. They are only required to verbally identify themselves. In addition, the requirement even with reasonable suspicion only applies to states that have “stop and identify” statutes. Currently, there are twenty-four such states. The other states require an arrest in order to compel someone to provide identifying information.

Shortly after that, Gonzalez asks, “are you accusing me of committing a crime” and then when Deleon responds that he isn’t asks the Magic Question that lets you know whether you are being detained or just being harassed – “am I being detained?” When Officer Deleon states that he is not being detained, Gonzalez follows up with “then I’m free to go?” Once again Officer Deleon confirms that he is free to go and therefore not being detained. At that point, Gonzalez does the smart thing and simply leaves.

Date of Incident: December 08, 2016
Officers Involved: Officer Deleon Badge #208, Officer Spinoza Badge #858
Department Involved: San Luis (AZ) Police Department
Department Phone No.:
928-341-2420
Department Contact Page:
Contact Us

Video Description (via Youtube):

I was walking home from my job in San Luis, AZ at 1:31am on December 08, 2016. While between San Luis and Gadsden, I was approached by a police officer who accused me of being an illegal immigrant. This is the video and audio documentation.

– Rudy Gonzalez Jr.

If you have a video, personal story involving police misconduct and/or abuse, or commentary about a law enforcement related news story, we would be happy to have you submit it. You can find some advice on how to get your submission published on the CopBlock Network within this post.

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Breaking News: Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia Found Dead in Texas

It was just announced that United States Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, who was 79 years old, has been found dead. Scalia was staying at a resort style ranch in Texas while attending a private party and taking part in a hunting trip at the time of his death. Reportedly, there were no signs of foul play and it is believed that he died from (as yet undisclosed or unknown) natural causes overnight. Justice Scalia had been the most senior justice currently and historically is the second longest serving Supreme Court Justice.

Via MySanAntonio.com:

Associate Justice Antonin Scalia was found dead of apparent natural causes Saturday on a luxury resort in West Texas, federal officials said.

Scalia, 79, was a guest at the Cibolo Creek Ranch, a resort in the Big Bend region south of Marfa.

According to a report, Scalia arrived at the ranch on Friday and attended a private party with about 40 people. When he did not appear for breakfast, a person associated with the ranch went to his room and found a body.

Chief U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia, of the Western Judicial District of Texas, was notified about the death from the U.S. Marshals Service.

U.S. District Judge Fred Biery said he was among those notified about Scalia’s death.

“I was told it was this morning,” Biery said of Scalia’s death. “It happened on a ranch out near Marfa. As far as the details, I think it’s pretty vague right now as to how,” he said. “My reaction is it’s very unfortunate. It’s unfortunate with any death, and politically in the presidential cycle we’re in, my educated guess is nothing will happen before the next president is elected.”

RELATED:Scalia: Black students do better at ‘less-advanced’ schools than UT

The U.S. Marshal Service, the Presidio County sheriff and the FBI were involved in the investigation.
Officials with the law enforcement agencies declined to comment.

A federal official who asked not to be named said there was no evidence of foul play and it appeared that Scalia died of natural causes.

A gray Cadillac hearse pulled into the ranch last Saturday afternoon. The hearse came from Alpine Memorial Funeral Home.

RELATED:Black UT students, alumni share successes online after Scalia comments

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott released a statement Saturday afternoon, calling Scalia a man of God, a patriot and an “unwavering defender of the written Constitution.”

“He was the solid rock who turned away so many attempts to depart from and distort the Constitution,” Abbott said. “We mourn his passing, and we pray that his successor on the Supreme Court will take his place as a champion for the written Constitution and the Rule of Law. Cecilia and I extend our deepest condolences to his family, and we will keep them in our thoughts and prayers.”

Scalia was nominated to the U.S. Supreme Court in 1986 by President Ronald Reagan.

Justice Scalia’s death and its timing will have many ramifications, both politically and legally. Beyond the obvious fact that he is a member of the highest judicial body in the country, the fact that he tends to interpret laws conservatively could create complications during an election year. Currently, President Obama, who is obviously a liberal, would be responsible for naming his replacement, which could tip the balance from a conservative majority to a liberal majority on the court. However, there is a pretty good chance that he would have trouble getting any nominee approved prior to the election and the start of a new presidency. Therefore, the significance of who becomes the new president and what their political leanings are will become a huge issue during the election, since they would be able to appoint his eventual replacement.

In addition, the likelihood that a new justice won’t be seated until after the election is over will leave an even number of justices available rather than the typical nine. In close cases, this would leave the court without a tie-breaking vote.

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Are You Required To Show ID or Answer Questions To Police Or Government Agents Upon Demand?

The following post was shared with the CopBlock Network by John-Henry Hill, M.D., Ph.D., via the CopBlock.org submissions page.

Are You Required To Show ID or Answer Questions To Police and Other Government Agents Upon Demand?by John-Henry Hill, M.D., Ph.D.October 9, 2013

“They must find it difficult, those who have taken authority as truth, rather than truth as authority.” – Gerald Massey

“He, who would be deceived, let him.” – ancient Roman maxim of law

“We have people in government who should not be allowed to play with matches.” — Will Rogers

*********************

“It has long been established that the loss of constitutional freedoms, “for even minimal periods of time, unquestionably constitutes irreparable injury.” Elrod v. Burns, 427 U.S. 347, 373 (1976) (plurality opinion) (citing New York Times Co. v. United States, 403 U.S. 713 (1971)).” — CANEISHA MILLS, ET AL., v. DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, No. 08-7127, U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, July 10, 2009

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Are You Required To Show ID or Answer Questions To Police and Other Government Agents Upon Demand?

For showing an ID: The answer is NO, except ONLY under extremely limited circumstances (detention with “reasonable, articulable suspicion” during a Terry stop” OR when being detained under “probable cause” for the commission of a crime.

For answering questions: Absolutely NO, NEVER! You are NOT required to answer any questions or to speak at all. (Further, you are NOT required to take any “tests” – such as a so-called “field sobriety test” re: alcohol consumption or an “alcohol breath analyzer test.” Further, you can NOT be punished for your refusal. However, the U.S. Supreme Court recently ruled that you are required to clearly and explicitly state that you “invoke your right to remain silent”, your “5th Amendment guarantee against self-incrimination, or words to that effect.

Below are some U.S. Supreme Court decisions which affirm your right to NOT show an ID (or otherwise identify yourself) or answer any questions.

  • ”Texas may not criminalize by statute or practice conduct that is Constitutionally protected. — Coates v. Cincinnati, 402 U.S. 611, 616 (1971)
  • 21. Papachristou v. City of Jacksonville, 405 U.S. 156 (1972) “a statute which serves as “merely the cloak” for arrests which would not otherwise be lawful is a pernicious affront to the Fourth Amendment and cannot be upheld”
  • “Where rights as secured by the Constitution are involved, there can be no rule making or legislation which will abrogate them.” Miranda v. Ariz., 384 U.S. 436 at 491 (1966).
    Thus: All State, county, city or town STATUTES (regulations, ordinances, procedure/practice, etc), that “criminalize” a Constitutionally-protected right, are VOID and of NO LEGAL FORCE !!!!!!
  • Lefkowitz v. Turley, 414 U.S. 70, 77 (1973) the Fifth Amendment “not only protects the individual against being involuntarily called as a witness against himself in a criminal prosecution, but also privileges him not to answer official questions put to him in any other proceeding, civil or criminal, formal or informal, where the answers might incriminate him in future criminal proceedings

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Some Constitutional protections and U.S. Supreme Court rulings on the matter.

  • Brown v. Texas, 443 U.S. 47 (1979)
    In 1979, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Brown v. Texas, a case where a man in Texas refused to show police ID because there was no probable cause. The court noted “he was arrested for violation of Tex.Penal Code Ann., Tit. 8, § 38.02(a) (1974), which makes it a criminal act for a person to refuse to give his name and address to an officer “who has lawfully stopped him and requested the information.” However, the court reversed his conviction:
    [Even if there is a STATE statute, Police need “reasonable suspicion” BEFORE they can demand you show ID or identify yourself.]
    Held: The application of the Texas statute to detain appellant and require him to identify himself violated the Fourth Amendment because the officers lacked any reasonable suspicion to believe that appellant was engaged or had engaged in criminal conduct. Detaining appellant to require him to identify himself constituted a seizure of his person subject to the requirement of the Fourth Amendment that the seizure be “reasonable.” Cf. Terry v. Ohio, 392 U. S. 1; United States v. Brignoni-Ponce, 422 U. S. 873. The Fourth Amendment requires that such a seizure be based on specific, objective facts indicating that society’s legitimate interests require such action, or that the seizure be carried out pursuant to a plan embodying explicit, neutral limitations on the conduct of individual officers. Delaware v. Prouse, 440 U. S. 648. Here, the State does not contend that appellant was stopped pursuant to a practice embodying neutral criteria, and the officers’ actions were not justified on the ground that they had a reasonable suspicion, based on objective facts, that he was involved in criminal activity. Absent any basis for suspecting appellant of misconduct, the balance between the public interest in crime prevention and appellant’s right to personal security and privacy tilts in favor of freedom from police interference.”
    The court concluded “The application of Tex.Penal Code Ann., Tit. 8, § 38.02 (1974), to detain appellant and require him to identify himself violated the Fourth Amendment because the officers lacked any reasonable suspicion to believe appellant was engaged or had engaged in criminal conduct. Accordingly, appellant may not be punished for refusing to identify himself, and the conviction is Reversed.” Brown v. Texas, 443 U.S. 47 (1979)
  • Berkemer v. McCarty, 468 U.S. 420 (1984) an individual stopped pursuant to Terry is not “in custody” for purposes of Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 (1966), precisely because the individual remains free to ignore or otherwise decline to respond to an officer’s questions.
  • Florida v. Royer, 460 U.S. 491, 500 (1983) “The person approached, however, need not answer any questions put to him; indeed, he may decline to listen to the questions at all and may go on his way” Id. at 497-98.
  • [http://supreme.justia.com/cases/federal/us/443/47/case.html]
  • Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1 (1968)
    In the 1968 case of Terry v. Ohio, the Court held that police could “stop and frisk” a suspect on “reasonable suspicion” that he had already committed, or was about to commit, a crime.
  • The right of privacy may not be intruded upon by the government absent probable cause, see Dunnaway v. New York, 442 U.S. 200, 208 (1979); indeed, it is the probable cause requirement that “safeguard[s] citizens from rash and unreasonable interferences with [their] privacy.” Brinegar v. United States, 338 U.S. 160, 176 (1949).
  • Florida v. Royer, 460 U.S. 491, 500 (1983) “The person approached, however, need not answer any questions put to him; indeed, he may decline to listen to the questions at all and may go on his way” Id. at 497-98.
  • Illinois v. Wardlow, 528 U.S. 119, 125 (2000)
    “If they do not learn facts rising to the level of probable cause, an individual must be allowed to go on his way.”
  • Brinegar v. United States – 338 U.S. 160 (1949) “The citizen who has given no good cause for believing he is engaged in [criminal] activity is entitled to proceed on his way without interference” (Page 338 U. S. 177)

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Constitutional Protections from Warrantless Searches and Compulsory ID

  1. In this case, there were no “exigent circumstances”, there was no “reasonable suspicion” that a crime had been committed or was about to occur; (1968 case of Terry v. Ohio) There were no grounds for a warrantless search or arrest, detainment, Terry stop, or for a demand for ID. Brown v. Texas 1979 held that absent reasonable suspicion of criminality, the police can not simply stop people and ask for their names.
  2. Brown v. Texas, 443 U.S. 47 (1979)
    “Detaining appellant to require him to identify himself constituted a seizure of his person subject to the requirement of the Fourth Amendment that the seizure be “reasonable.” Cf. Terry v. Ohio, 392 U. S. 1; United States v. Brignoni-Ponce, 422 U. S. 873 (1975). The Fourth Amendment requires that such a seizure be based on specific, objective facts indicating that society’s legitimate interests require such action, or that the seizure be carried out pursuant to a plan embodying explicit, neutral limitations on the conduct of individual officers. Delaware v. Prouse, 440 U. S. 648. Here, the State does not contend that appellant was stopped pursuant to a practice embodying neutral criteria, and the officers’ actions were not justified on the ground that they had a reasonable suspicion, based on objective facts, that he was involved in criminal activity. Absent any basis for suspecting appellant of misconduct, the balance between the public interest in crime prevention and appellant’s right to personal security and privacy tilts in favor of freedom from police interference.”
    http://supreme.justia.com/cases/federal/us/443/47/case.html
  3. Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1 (1968)
    In the 1968 case of Terry v. Ohio, the Court held that police could “stop and frisk” a suspect on “reasonable suspicion” that he had already committed, or was about to commit, a crime.
  4. Miranda v. Arizona – 384 U.S. 436 (1966)
    https://supreme.justia.com/cases/federal/us/384/436/case.html
  5. The right of privacy may not be intruded upon by the government absent probable cause, see Dunnaway v. New York, 442 U.S. 200, 208 (1979); indeed, it is the probable cause requirement that “safeguard[s] citizens from rash and unreasonable interferences with [their] privacy.” Brinegar v. United States, 338 U.S. 160, 176 (1949).
  6. United States v. Brignoni-Ponce, 422 U.S. 873, 881 (1975) The government agents can not stop and search all vehicles; that is not reasonable under the Fourth Amendment
  7. The exception to the Fourth Amendment is an exceedingly narrow one, United States v. Place, 462 U.S. 696 (1983)
  8. Florida v. Royer, 460 U.S. 491, 500 (1983) “The person approached, however, need not answer any questions put to him; indeed, he may decline to listen to the questions at all and may go on his way” Id. at 497-98.
  9. Failure to observe these limits converts a Terry encounter into a full-fledged arrest under the Fourth Amendment that can only be justified by probable cause. Royer, 460 U.S. at 1325; Dunaway, 442 U.S. at 216; Brignoni-Ponce, 422 U.S. at 881-82.
  10. Lefkowitz v. Turley, 414 U.S. 70, 77 (1973) the Fifth Amendment “not only protects the individual against being involuntarily called as a witness against himself in a criminal prosecution, but also privileges him not to answer official questions put to him in any other proceeding, civil or criminal, formal or informal, where the answers might incriminate him in future criminal proceedings”
  11. Haynes v. United States, 390 U.S. 85, 97 (1968)
  12. Illinois v. Wardlow, 528 U.S. 119, 125 (2000)
    “If they do not learn facts rising to the level of probable cause, an individual must be allowed to go on his way.”
  13. Brinegar v. United States – 338 U.S. 160 (1949) “The citizen who has given no good cause for believing he is engaged in [criminal] activity is entitled to proceed on his way without interference” (Page 338 U. S. 177)
  14. Kolender v. Lawson, 461 U.S. 352, 369 (1983) probable cause, and nothing less, represents the point at which the interests of law enforcement justify subjecting an individual to any significant intrusion beyond that sanctioned in Terry. See also Kolender, 461 U.S. at 366-67 noting that states “cannot abridge this constitutional rule by making it a crime to refuse to answer police questions during a Terry encounter.”
  15. Texas may not criminalize by statute or practice conduct that is Constitutionally protected Coates v. Cincinnati, 402 U.S. 611, 616 (1971)
  16. Papachristou v. City of Jacksonville, 405 U.S. 156 (1972) “a statute which serves as “merely the cloak” for arrests which would not otherwise be lawful is a pernicious affront to the Fourth Amendment and cannot be upheld”
    Thus: All State, county, city or town statutes (regulations, ordinances, conduct, etc), that “criminalize” a Constitutionally-protected right, are VOID and of NO LEGAL FORCE !!!!!!
  17. Berkemer v. McCarty, 468 U.S. 420 (1984) an individual stopped pursuant to Terry is not “in custody” for purposes of Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 (1966), precisely because the individual remains free to ignore or otherwise decline to respond to an officer’s questions.
  18. Michigan v. DeFillippo, 443 U.S. 31, 40 (1979)
  19. Adams v. Williams, 407 U.S. 143 (1972)
  20. Camara v. Municipal Court, 387 U.S. 523, 534-35 (1967)
  21. United States v. Robinson, 414 U.S. 218, 227-28 (1973)
  22. Papachristou v. City of Jacksonville, 405 U.S. 156 (1972) “a statute which serves as “merely the cloak” for arrests which would not otherwise be lawful is a pernicious affront to the Fourth Amendment and cannot be upheld”
  23. In Hiibel v. Sixth Judicial District Court of Nevada, 542 U.S. 177 (2004), The issue was whether someone who had been lawfully subject to a Terry stop can also be required to provide his name to the police officer who stopped him. The justices answered yes (5-4) but all nine justices agreed that a person who is not behaving in a way that gives rise to an articulable suspicion of criminality may not be required to state his name or show identification. The Hiibel majority took care not to disturb precedents like Brown v. Texas.

BRIEF FOR THE AMERICAN CIVIL LIBERTIES UNION AS AMICUS CURIAE IN SUPPORT OF PETITIONER, Hiibel v. Nevada No. 03-5554

“Justice Brandeis famously observed that the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution embodies an individual’s “right to be left alone,”, an entitlement constituting the “most comprehensive of rights and the right most valued by civilized men.” Olmstead v. United States, 227 U..S. 438, 478 (1928) (Brandeis, J., dissenting). The Supreme Court has long held that the Fourth Amendment protects this “inestimable right of personal security,” Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1, 8-9 (1968), by prohibiting the search and seizure by the police of an individual’s person in the absence of probable cause. Florida v. Royer, 460 U.S. 491, 498 (1983).

In Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1, 8-9 (1968), the Court recognized a “limited exception to this general rule,” allowing a law enforcement officer to briefly detain a person on the street based upon a reasonable suspicion of criminal activity, and to frisk the person for concealed weapons. See also United States v. Sokolow, 490 U.S. 1, 17 (1989). “Because Terry represented a departure from the constitutional mandate of probable cause, this Court has maintained it as a narrowly defined exception defined solely by its underlying purpose. See Dunaway v. New York, 442 U.S. 200, 207-09 (1979). Thus, while Terry allows a police officer to “ask the detainee a moderate number of questions to determine his identity and try to obtain information confirming or dispelling the officer’s suspicions,” this Court has also held that the individual detained “is not obliged to respond” to such questions, and must be released unless his “answers provide the officer with probable cause to arrest him.” Berkemer v. McCarty, 468 U.S. 420 (1984)

“The Fourth Amendment expresses the recognition that the power to arrest is among the greatest intrusions on individual liberty; the social, legal, and human consequences of this power have thus led the court to refrain from unduly expanding the right of law enforcement officers to demand compliance from individuals briefly detained pursuant to the limited investigatory stops condoned in Terry.” Berkemer v. McCarty, 468 U.S. 420 (1984)

…”a statute that compels self-identification, and thereby disregards the Constitutionally significant distinction between reasonable suspicion and probable cause, represents an unjustified expansion of Terry and must be invalidated.” Berkemer v. McCarty, 468 U.S. 420 (1984)

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USSC Rulings re:BORDER PATROL Fixed-Site, Suspicionless Internal Checkpoints (NOT on the international border)

U.S. v. Martinez-Fuerte (USSC) – MOST IMPORTANT !!

“It is agreed that checkpoint stops are ‘seizures’ within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment.” (U.S. v. Martinez-Fuerte) Supreme Court required that these checkpoint seizures be limited to, “brief questioning” to inquire into immigration status (U.S. v. Martinez-Fuerte). Further, the courts have ruled that these checkpoints cannot be “catch all” checkpoints, that operate looking for any and all types of violations, but rather that they are limited to immigration status. Border Patrol internal, fixed-site (permanent) suspicionless checkpoints require the seizure to be brief and limited to inquiring into immigration status. The Supreme Court stated that “[A]ny further detention . . . must be based on consent or probable cause.” (U.S. v. Martinez-Fuerte).

Indianapolis v. Edmond (USSC)

“A search or seizure is ordinarily unreasonable in the absence of individualized suspicion of wrongdoing.” (Indianapolis v. Edmond) In other words, if a government agent has articulable “reasonable suspicion” that a person has violated a law, they can seize that person in order to begin an investigation.

Florida v. Bostick (USSC)

What questions are individuals required to answer at these Border Patrol stops, if any? The answer is none. Cooperation during suspicionless checkpoints is not required. Individuals have a right to not answer questions, and there is no law that requires them to provide any identification. Further, cooperation with an investigation/inquiry is NOT required even in stops that are based on suspicion, so they are most certainly not required in a stop where there is no suspicion of wrongdoing. Still further, choosing not to cooperate with government actors at a suspicionless checkpoint, cannot be used against you as a basis for suspicion. The Supreme Court ruled, “We have consistently held that a refusal to cooperate…does not furnish the minimal level of objective justification needed for a detention or seizure.” (Florida v. Bostick) The Fifth Circuit that holds jurisdiction over the checkpoint in Uvalde, Texas agrees stating, “[I]t would make a mockery of the reasonable suspicion and probable cause requirements if citizens’ insistence that searches and seizures be conducted in conformity with constitutional norms could create the suspicion or cause that renders their consent unnecessary.” (United States v. Machuca-Barrera, 5th Cir. Appeals).

United States v. Machuca-Barrera (5th Appeals) – VERY IMPORTANT !!

Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals (which has jurisdiction over the checkpoint in Uvalde, Texas), a stop of “a couple of minutes” is “within the permissible duration of an immigration checkpoint stop (United States v. Machuca-Barrera).” That Circuit has also ruled that Border Patrol officers may “ask questions outside the scope of the stop,” ie questions that are not related to immigration status, but they may do so “only so long as such questions do not extend the duration of the stop (United States v. Machuca-Barrera, 5th Cir. Appeals).” The Fifth Circuit that holds jurisdiction over the checkpoint in Uvalde, Texas agrees stating, “[I]t would make a mockery of the reasonable suspicion and probable cause requirements if citizens’ insistence that searches and seizures be conducted in conformity with constitutional norms could create the suspicion or cause that renders their consent unnecessary.” (United States v. Machuca-Barrera, 5th Cir. Appeals). An individual does not have to cooperate with agents at these checkpoints, and after the “couple of minutes” required to “briefly inquire” into immigration status, agents who have developed no reasonable suspicion for any violation, must release the motorist in order to comply with the Fourth Amendment – even if the individual chose not to answer questions or cooperate.

The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution guarantees the people the right to be free from “unreasonable searches and seizures.” The United States Supreme Court stated, “It is agreed that checkpoint stops are ‘seizures’ within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment.” (U.S. v. Martinez-Fuerte). The reason the High Court maintained that these checkpoints are seizures, is because all traffic is required to stop at these checkpoints. As such, for the time a vehicle is stopped at the checkpoint, both it and its passengers have been “seized” by the government and cannot depart the checkpoint without permission from the government. The question then becomes, is that seizure reasonable or not?

The Supreme Court ruled that, “A search or seizure is ordinarily unreasonable in the absence of individualized suspicion of wrongdoing.” (Indianapolis v. Edmond) In other words, if a government agent has articulable “reasonable suspicion” that a person has violated a law, they can seize that person in order to begin an investigation. This is the standard used, for example, when a police officer pulls over somebody speeding. They develop the suspicion through a radar gun or other mechanism, and can then make the individual stop and issue a citation, which then has to be proved in court. If a police officer pulls somebody over without suspicion that they have committed a crime then, according to the courts, they have conducted an unreasonable seizure and therefore violated the Fourth Amendment.

Border Patrol checkpoints not on the border are often referred to as suspicionless checkpoints. That is because all people have to stop and are seized, despite the lack of suspicion that any crime or violation has been committed. So while the Supreme Court has historically ruled such seizures a violation of the Fourth Amendment, the High Court did make an exception for these checkpoints. In doing so, however, they laid down specific parameters that must be followed for the seizure at these checkpoints to remain reasonable. Namely, the Supreme Court required that these checkpoint seizures be limited to, “brief questioning” to inquire into immigration status (U.S. v. Martinez-Fuerte).

Further, the courts have ruled that these checkpoints cannot be “catch all” checkpoints, that operate looking for any and all types of violations, but rather that they are limited to immigration status. Anybody who has much experience with these checkpoints knows they routinely stray outside these lines and are effectively in place to also look for drugs. Drug dogs are not gifted in the art of smelling citizenship (they’re also prone to false alerts especially when handled by a dishonest dog handler). But legally, these checkpoints are limited to briefly inquiring into immigration status, and they are not allowed to investigate into anything else unless they have reasonable suspicion for a non-immigration violation. The reason for this is because these suspicionless seizures are an intrusion into the lives of law abiding citizens who are forced to stop there, and the courts have reasoned that as long as they are limited to brief inquiry into immigration status, then the intrusion is minimal and therefore justified. As an aside, Supreme Court justices Thurgood Marshall and William Brennan vehemently disagreed with this view that such an intrusion would be minimal and therefore did not think them reasonable under the Fourth Amendment. In fact, they argued that the ruling allowing these checkpoints to seize motorists, no matter how brief, did not justify the intrusion upon citizens suspected of no wrong doing who were simply traveling down the highway. They wrote:

The starting point of this view [the majority opinion] is the unannounced assumption that intrusions are generally permissible; hence, any minimization of intrusions serves Fourth Amendment interests. Under the Fourth Amendment, however, the status quo is nonintrusion, for, as a general matter, it is unreasonable to subject the average citizen or his property to search or seizure. Thus, minimization of intrusion only lessens the aggravation to Fourth Amendment interests; it certainly does not further those interests (U.S. v. Martinez-Fuerte).

The majority of Supreme Court justices found otherwise, and made an exception for Border Patrol internal, fixed-site (permanent) suspicionless checkpoints, but required the seizure to be brief and limited to inquiring into immigration status. The Supreme Court stated that “[A]ny further detention . . . must be based on consent or probable cause (U.S. v. Martinez-Fuerte).”

So what is brief, and what is further detention? According to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals (which has jurisdiction over the checkpoint in Uvalde, Texas), a stop of “a couple of minutes” is “within the permissible duration of an immigration checkpoint stop (United States v. Machuca-Barrera).” That Circuit has also ruled that Border Patrol officers may “ask questions outside the scope of the stop,” ie questions that are not related to immigration status, but they may do so “only so long as such questions do not extend the duration of the stop (United States v. Machuca-Barrera, 5th Cir. Appeals).”

What about an order to exit the vehicle? Do individuals have to exit the vehicle if requested to do so during the brief immigration inquiry? The answer is no. Regardless of whether requested in primary or requested in secondary, an individual has no legal obligation to exit their vehicle. Certainly such action is not required to briefly inquire into immigration status, and further, the Border Patrol has no authority to order a person to exit their vehicle. Why not? Yet again, it’s because there is no suspicion of any wrongdoing. The Supreme Court has ruled otherwise in the case of suspicion-based stops by law enforcement [police], such as a traffic stop for suspicion of speeding (Pennsylvania v. Mimms). In that case, the Supreme Court has said law enforcement can order vehicle operators out of their vehicles for “officer safety.” The High Court chose, during suspicion based stops, to value the safety of government actors during routine traffic stops over the safety of American citizens. However, agents of the Border Patrol have no such authority at suspicionless checkpoints.

So what questions are individuals required to answer at these Border Patrol stops, if any? The answer is none. Cooperation during suspicionless checkpoints is not required. Individuals have a right to not answer questions, and there is no law that requires them to provide any identification. Further, cooperation with an investigation/inquiry is not required even in stops that are based on suspicion, so they are most certainly not required in a stop where there is no suspicion of wrongdoing. Still further, choosing not to cooperate with government actors who intrude into your life at a suspicionless checkpoint, cannot be used against you as a basis for suspicion. The Supreme Court ruled, “We have consistently held that a refusal to cooperate…does not furnish the minimal level of objective justification needed for a detention or seizure.” (Florida v. Bostick) The Fifth Circuit that holds jurisdiction over the checkpoint in Uvalde, Texas agrees stating, “[I]t would make a mockery of the reasonable suspicion and probable cause requirements if citizens’ insistence that searches and seizures be conducted in conformity with constitutional norms could create the suspicion or cause that renders their consent unnecessary.” (United States v. Machuca-Barrera, 5th Cir. Appeals). An individual does not have to cooperate with agents at these checkpoints, and after the “couple of minutes” required to “briefly inquire” into immigration status, agents who have developed no reasonable suspicion for any violation, must release the motorist in order to comply with the Fourth Amendment – even if the individual chose not to answer questions or cooperate.

The Fifth Circuit has also stated, “Our decisions have held that police violated the Fourth Amendment by extending a stop by even three or five minutes beyond its justified duration (United States v. Machuca-Barrera).” As such, I am extremely confident that my lawsuit will be victorious as I was detained for nearly thirty-four minutes, after agents failed to ask me any questions related to immigration status until more than ten minutes into the detention, and only did so after I had provided my driver’s license, military ID card, and even offered my passport (an offer the agent ignored). Beyond that, when the supervisory agent even later finally asked for both of my passports, I quickly provided them to him. Still, he put them in his shirt pocket and detained me for another fifteen minutes while he called my military chain of command to verify that I was actually in the military–questions and actions that had nothing to do with my immigration status, but rather demonstrated a desire to punish me for recording the incident. The agents repeatedly lied, saying that they had asked me my immigration status in primary, and that I had refused to answer the question. The video shows that I answered every single question asked of me, with the one singular exception of providing the identity of my commanding officer, which I was not required to provide and which was information irrelevant to my immigration status. Beyond extending the detention to call my military employer, their intent to harass was further demonstrated several weeks later when they wrote a letter to my military commander and claimed that my conduct was “unbecoming.”

The law is clear, and even if I were to have to appeal my case to the Fifth Circuit that ruled in Machuca-Barrera, I am very confident that the Fourth Amendment will be vindicated.

These checkpoints are intrusions into the lives of law abiding American citizens who simply wish to travel unmolested. Agents at these checkpoints require no suspicion of any wrongdoing to force themselves into your lives, but the Supreme Court has made it clear that they must remain limited intrusions. It is important for us, especially for those of us who have taken an oath to support and defend the Constitution, to not blindly acquiesce to unlawful demands agents might make. If we do so, we unwittingly train them to expect all who pass to likewise give up their constitutional rights or be harassed. Even those who answer all relevant questions, as I did, and who provide four forms of identification including two passports, as I did.

If we don’t support and defend the Fourth Amendment, what will be next? Government agents able to enter our homes without any suspicion of wrongdoing and without a warrant? Government agents who seize us during a walk to work without any suspicion of any wrongdoing? Let’s not allow the further eradication of our rights. Not on our watch.

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PLUS:

Fixed-Site, Immigration Checkpoints, Away from the Border:

Established checkpoints located away from the border, such as at San Clemente, on Interstate 5, and Fallbrook, on Interstate 15, were, at one time, considered to be the “functional equivalent” of a border, and therefore subject to the same rules, even though these two points are miles from the U.S./Mexican border. (See United States v. Martinez-Fuerte (1976) 428 U.S. 543 [49 L.Ed.2nd 1116].)

At the time, a checkpoint was thought to be the “functional equivalent of the border” only when the government has proven to a “reasonable certainty that the traffic passing through the checkpoint is international in character. [Citation] In practical terms, this test means that border equivalent checkpoints intercept no more than a negligible number of domestic travelers.” (United States v. Jackson (5th Cir. 1987) 825 F.2nd 853, 860.)

Actual “border checkpoints”(located at the international border) implicate the broader powers of the federal government to conduct searches and seizures of persons for immigration, drug interdiction, or other purposes at the border or its functional equivalent. (See United States v. Montoya de Hernandez (1985) 473 U.S. 531, 541-542 [87 L.Ed.2nd 381, 391-392]; United States v. Ramsey (1977) 431 U.S. 606, 616 [52 L.Ed.2nd 617, 626].)

More recent authority, however, recognizes that such internal checkpoints are merely “immigration checkpoints,” and not the equivalent of an international border. (United States v. Franzenberg (S.D.Cal. 1990) 937 F.Supp. 1414; United States v. Machuca-Barrera (5th Cir. 2001) 261 F.3rd 425, 432, fn. 15.)

Therefore, it has been held that stops at such points for immigration purposes is lawful despite the lack of “reasonable suspicion,” requiring only that such stops be “selective.” (United States v. Martinez-Fuerte, supra.) THUS: One has to STOP one’s car; but does NOT have to answer any questions or show an ID (or otherwise identity himself).

“But the search of a vehicle at an [fixed-site, internal] immigration checkpoint, away from the border, may require ‘probable cause’ to justify.” United States v. Ortiz (1975) 422 U.S. 891 [45 L.Ed.2nd 623].

Thank you for reading.

– John-Henry Hill, M.D., Ph.D.

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What is Jury Nullification and Why is it Important?

The following post was shared with the CopBlock Network by Captain Six, via the CopBlock.org Submissions Page. It was originally published at the website Station.6.Underground under the title “What is Jury Nullification.

What is Jury Nullification?

What is Jury Nullification? You won’t find it defined in your dictionary or described in your encyclopedia. You weren’t taught about it in school, and indeed it is even considered a crime to tell other people about it in some circumstances. Imagine that for a moment – it is a crime to inform a citizen as to their right, even the scope of their duty while serving on a jury.

According to the Wikipedia entry:

Jury nullification is a constitutional doctrine which allows juries to acquit criminal defendants who are technically guilty, but who do not deserve punishment. It occurs in a trial when a jury reaches a verdict contrary to the judge’s instructions as to the law. 

A jury verdict contrary to the letter of the law pertains only to the particular case before it. If a pattern of acquittals develops, however, in response to repeated attempts to prosecute a statutory offence, this can have the de facto effect of invalidating the statute. A pattern of jury nullification may indicate public opposition to an unwanted legislative enactment…

Most Americans have never even heard of such a doctrine. Thanks to numerous TV shows and real-life judges telling us that the only function of the jury is to render a decision based strictly upon the facts of the case, a key tenet of the justice system envisioned by the Founding Fathers has been lost. You see, it is not only the job of the jury to weigh guilt or innocence against the letter of the law, but also to judge the just nature of the statutes themselves. In this way, The People ultimately retain power over the government, rather than the government dictating to The People what is and what is not justice. This tenet is instrumental in protecting ourselves, as The People, from tyrannical laws and cronyism. This is why we have a jury system in the first place, not simply to act as a cog in the wheel of the justice system, but to be the justice in the system.

Let us imagine for a moment, that you live in a city where the Mayor makes soda-pop illegal. So illegal that he actually signs into law a criminal statute that makes it a jailable offense to dispense soda-pop. He makes a public campaign to warn about the evils of soda-pop, how detrimental it is to your health, while being crowned king of national doughnut day, and holding a vast amount stock in the city’s number-one importer of iced-tea.

Fascist Food and Nutrition Nazis

Now let us imagine that you are sitting on the jury for a criminal trial of a single-mom arrested for selling soda-pop to her neighbor, which had been “smuggled” in from outside of the city limits, and that the transaction was captured on an audio-video recording by police. You see that she is plainly guilty of violating the law, technically, but can’t in good-conscience send her off to jail for a year. You, and other jury members voice that dilemma to the judge, who then instructs you to render a verdict based strictly on the facts of the case, the evidence presented, and that all other considerations have no bearing on your duty to render a verdict. What do you do? It appears that you have no choice, and you find her guilty.

But if you had actually been a FULLY INFORMED JUROR, rather than just listening to the instructions of the judge who owed his career to the Mayor, you would have known that you did have an alternative. That it was not actually illegal for you to ignore the judge’s instructions, and that you could have rendered a verdict based on your conscience rather than a law in a book. You would have known that Jury Nullification not only gives you this right, but that it is your duty as a juror to render your verdict in such a manner. In this way, you see, not only have you protected the accused from overzealous and tyrannical prosecution, but you have also struck a blow against cronyism. Cronyism by the Mayor who stands to make a profit from the law he made, in relation to the company stocks he owns and the companies that own him. Cronyism by police and prosecutors who turn a profit on the backs of the taxpayers for every arrest and prosecution they make, maintaining their job security and giving the United States the largest prison population in the world in the process.

Imagine how many ridiculous laws would be suddenly rendered obsolete. Imagine how many frivolous prosecutions would be avoided. Imagine how many people would not be sitting in prison today for victimless crimes. Imagine how much lower your taxes would be if you didn’t have to pay for all this nonsense. Imagine how powerless the government would suddenly find itself, in the face of a population that was no longer going to take any of their shit.

Maybe that’s why the principle of Jury Nullification is the most taboo subject in our justice system today, and has been continually eroded in landmark decisions by the courts since 1895, as time has distanced us from the core principles of liberty on which this nation was founded.

In 1794, the case of Georgia v. Brailsford was being heard before the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS). The court’s first Chief Justice, John Jay, established precedent that the Common Law practice of Jury Nullification was valid in the United States. He wrote, in part…

“It may not be amiss, here, Gentlemen, to remind you of the good old
rule, that on questions of fact, it is the province of the jury, on
questions of law, it is the province of the court to decide. But it must
be observed that by the same law, which recognizes this reasonable
distribution of jurisdiction, you have nevertheless a right to take upon
yourselves to judge of both, and to determine the law as well as the fact in controversy.
On this, and on every other occasion, however, we
have no doubt, you will pay that respect, which is due to the opinion of
the court: For, as on the one hand, it is presumed, that juries are the
best judges of facts; it is, on the other hand, presumbable, that the
court are the best judges of the law. But still both objects are
lawfully, within your power of decision.”

That precedent held, unmolested, for 99 years. Prior to the Civil War, the Fugitive Slave Act made it a Federal Crime to help escaped slaves, but jury nullification was instrumental in undermining that law and bringing an end to slavery America. Jurors refused to render a guilty verdict against those who had helped escaped slaves. But in 1895, the Supreme Court of the United States struck it’s first blow against the Common Law principle of Jury Nullification. In Sparf v. United States, SCOTUS held in a 5-4 decision that federal judges were not required to inform jurors of their inherent right to judge the law in a case.

In the 1969, the Fourth Circuit upheld in the case of U.S. v. Moylan that a court could refuse to allow instruction to a jury regarding nullification, yet hypocritically upheld the juror’s inherent right to nullify. In other words, they were denying the right of the juror to be informed of their right, while still maintaining the validity of Jury Nullification stating,

“If the jury feels the law is unjust, we recognize the undisputed power of
the jury to acquit.”

In the 1972 case of United States v Dougherty  the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit maintained that the courts could deny the defense a chance to instruct a jury on their right to nullify.

In 1988, in U.S. v. Krzyske, the jury asked the judge about jury nullification. The judge responded “There is no such thing as valid jury nullification.” The jury convicted the defendant, and the judge’s answer was upheld on appeal. Another judge did dissent however, and cited United States v. Wilson, 629 F. 2d 439 – Court of Appeals, 6th Circuit 1980, that the panel had unanimously decided “In criminal cases, a jury is entitled to acquit the defendant because it has no sympathy for the government’s position.”

In 1997, the Second Circuit ruled that jurors can be removed if there is evidence that they intend to nullify the law, under Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure 23(b). There have even been instances of jurors being removed and mistrials declared after informed-jury activists distributed literature near courthouses.

Now here’s one final gut-check for the uninformed public. We often assume that it is the job of the defense attorney to defend their client to the best of their ability, with all of the knowledge at their disposal. This is not true, however. Attorneys, including defense attorneys, are an Officer of the Court. This means that their first duty is to the law, and not their client. With a sworn oath to uphold the law, they are forbidden from advocating jury nullification. Your lawyer works for the court, not you.

If you ever sit on a jury, remember one important fact. You do not work for the court.

Lawmall.com

A History of Jury Nullification

The Straight Dope

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“Let Me See Your I.D.” Stop and Identify Statutes – Know Your Rights

Stop and ID Statutes Map States Nevada Cop Block

Everyone should know their rights regardless, but it’s even more essential that you do if you intend to go out and film the police. Therefore, you should know if the state you live in has passed “stop and identify” statutes. If that is the case, then you should also know what is and isn’t required under such laws.

In 24 states police may require you to identify yourself. (If they have reasonable suspicion that you’re involved in criminal activity.)

“Stop and identify” statutes are laws in the United States that allow police to detain persons and request such persons to identify themselves, and arrest them if they do not.

Except when driving, the requirement to identify oneself does not require a person who has been detained to provide physical identification. Verbally giving identifying information is sufficient to satisfy that requirement.

In the United States, interactions between police and citizens fall into three general categories: consensual (“contact” or “conversation”), detention (often called a Terry stop), or arrest. “Stop and identify” laws pertain to detentions.

Consensual

At any time, police may approach a person and ask questions. However, the person approached is not required to identify himself or answer any other questions, and may leave at any time.

Police are not usually required to tell a person that he is free to decline to answer questions and go about his business. A person can usually determine whether or not the interaction is consensual by asking, “Am I free to go?”

Detention

Police may briefly detain a person if they have reasonable suspicion that the person has committed, is committing, or is about to commit a crime. Embedded below are videos from Flex Your Rights describing what reasonable suspicion is and when you are required to provide ID to the police. Police may question a person detained in a Terry stop, but in general, the detainee is not required to answer.[10] However, many states have “stop and identify” laws that explicitly require a person detained under the conditions of Terry to identify himself to police, and in some cases, provide additional information. (As of February 2011, the Supreme Court has not addressed the validity of requirements that a detainee provide information other than his name.)

Arrest

A detention requires only that police have reasonable suspicion that a person is involved in criminal activity. However, to make an arrest, an officer must have probable cause to believe that the person has committed a crime. Some states require police to inform the person of the intent to make the arrest and the cause for the arrest. But it is not always obvious when a detention becomes an arrest. After making an arrest, police may search a person, his or her belongings.

Variations in “stop and identify” laws

  • Five states’ laws (Arizona, Indiana, Louisiana, Nevada, and Ohio) explicitly impose an obligation to provide identifying information.
  • Fourteen states grant police authority to ask questions, with varying wording, but do not explicitly impose an obligation to respond:
  • In Montana, police “may request” identifying information;
  • In 12 states (Alabama, Delaware, Illinois, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New York, North Dakota, Rhode Island, Utah, Wisconsin), police “may demand” identifying information;
  • In Colorado, police “may require” identifying information of a person.
  • Identifying information varies, but typically includes
  • Name, address, and an explanation of the person’s actions;
  • In some cases it also includes the person’s intended destination, the person’s date of birth (Indiana and Ohio), or written identification if available (Colorado).
  • Arizona’s law, apparently written specifically to codify the holding in Hiibel, requires a person’s “true full name”.
  • Nevada’s law, which requires a person to “identify himself or herself”, apparently requires only that the person state his or her name.
  • In five states (Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island), failure to identify oneself is one factor to be considered in a decision to arrest. In all but Rhode Island, the consideration arises in the context of loitering or prowling.
  • Seven states (Arizona, Florida, Indiana, Louisiana, New Mexico, Ohio, and Vermont) explicitly impose a criminal penalty for noncompliance with the obligation to identify oneself.
  • Virginia makes it a non-jailable misdemeanor to refuse to identify oneself to a conservator of the peace when one is at the scene of a breach of the peace witnessed by that conservator.

What is Reasonable Suspicion?

When Are You Required to Provide ID to the Police?

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