It seemed like such a simple little "seatbelt" decision. But it was more... much more. And lest you get caught unawares, here's an accounting of how a little more of your inalienable Rights and freedoms were just crucified.
You see, most
people have yet to comprehended what an onerous, sweeping, anti-Fourth Amendment decision the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) has just handed down. This decision supports arrests for summary offenses! To get an idea of what this means, ask yourself this simple question (there are some "multiple-choice" answers included to help out):
Should an officer be able to pull you over, take you out of your vehicle (in front of your children and disregarding any provisions for the welfare or care of those children), arrest you (taking you into custody, searched
, printed, photographed, booked and thrown in a holding cell awaiting someone to post your bail), have your vehicle towed, impounded and thoroughly searched for:
1) Driving under the influence
2) driving to endanger (reckless, excessive speed)
3) failure to use turn signals
4) not wearing your seatbelt
(multiple answers are allowed... even "all of the above" if you believe in it.)
Hmmmmmm... The difference between an "arrestable" offense (basically a criminal complaint) and a "summary" offense (generally meaning an offense where you are "summoned" to appear and/or pay a fine)... Is it OK for the officer to arrest you for a minor summary offense without further probable cause?
Well... Surprise, surprise!
The SCOTUS has just ruled (5-4) that an officer can
arrest you for merely not wearing your seatbelt!!
Do you believe for one minute that the purpose here is to increase safety?
hum... Of course not!
It's true purpose is to permit physical searches of people stopped, on foot or in their cars, for any of the dozens of imaginary petty offenses police have at the ready for just such purposes! And here is the real
(and onerous) threat that is quietly sweeping the country behind the scenes... At the wishes of national and local police organizations, many State legislatures are providing an end-run around both their State's and the Federal Constitutions (as well as prior SCOTUS decisions) by making a handful of petty but convenient
summary offenses, into custodial offenses! Even more disgusting is the fact that these actions were taken under the premise that there was some problem of "crisis proportions", requiring stricter laws and granting LEOs a virtual carte blanche for conducting random searches.
Before, an officer on a custodial offense (arrestable) could search the person(s) for his/her own safety, but in a summary offense (non-arrestable) the officer had no such lattitude. Using the reason that too many bad guys were getting off on technicalities because an unreasonable search (one without probable cause) had been conducted based on the person's prior history rather than any real evidentiary belief that there was contraband, the police and traitorous members of the politburo have pushed for States to enact amendments to their Constitutions that would specify that state courts must adhere to modern liberal Federal
standards regarding individual civil liberty issues, and not their own! Such proposals have been largely non-existent in Massachusetts (probably because it's one of the few States that cares even less for your individual Rights than the Federal legisTraitors), but they have become abundant in other States over the last few years. While anyone who has not encountered such proposals may find such an idea (of a coordinated effort in support of these amendments) too "conspiratorial" sounding to be true, just such constitutional changes have been introduced quietly nationwide. A number were introduced in Pennsylvania several years ago. Fortunately, the worst of those, including one stating that state judges must adhere to federal Supreme Court standards regarding reasonable search and seizure, were defeated. But only thanks to grass-roots resistance among gun rights advocates in a strange marriage with civil liberties organizations. The outcome would have been to render whole portions of the PA State constitution meaningless and subservient to the whims of the SCOTUS!
It had previously been upheld that when stopped by an officer, you were not required to consent to a search of yourself or your vehicle unless a custodial (arrestable) offense had been committed. That, in fact, you could refuse and such refusal was not
probable cause for the officer to continue. The 4th Amendment has been shredded. Now, your refusal will result in an arrest for some petty summary offense, with your vehicle, person and Rights subsequently searched, seized and violated!
It happened to a mother in Texas over a $50 "seatbelt" violation, where her young children were treated to the abuse of watching their mommy get cuffed, roughed up, and drug off in a police car. Originally, the officer wasn't going to even allow for provision to be made for the care and well-being of the children! Fortunately, a neighbor saw the incident, came to see what the problem was, and offered to watch the children!
The court costs and other incidental fees of the woman's bail cost over $300... for a $50 traffic violation... not even a moving
Hopefully, people will wake up and (re)discover the 9th and 10th Amendments... as well as comprehend the meaning of the second paragraph of the Declaration of Independence. We can hope and pray...
<blockquote>America is at that ackward stage -- it's too late to work within the system and it's too early to shoot the bastards.
-- Claire Wolfe, 101 Things to Do 'Til the Revolution</blockquote>