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PostPosted: Fri Apr 27, 2001 6:25 pm 
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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?

really?

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! Image

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! Image The court costs and other incidental fees of the woman's bail cost over $300... for a $50 traffic violation... not even a moving violation!

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... Image

<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>


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 27, 2001 6:39 pm 
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And this ruling may have the unfortunate consequence of encouraging more people to attempt to flee arrest - rather than submit to overzealous abuses of power.

As an aside, should I continue to keep my utility knife in my glove box? It is a folding knife with a 4 inch blade. Won't this be enough evidence to classify me as a danger to society, even if stopped for something as basic as a right turn on red during restricted hours (my last ticket five years ago!)?

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D. Steven White
swhite@umassd.edu


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 27, 2001 8:27 pm 
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If it was really about safety and seatbelts, then they'd have put seatbelts on school busses. (Checked lately, they still don't have them...) Maybe with seatbelts on busses we'd have five more living children today... Image

But that just a tragic accident...

I need a crying icon-thingy...



[This message has been edited by Panther (edited April 27, 2001).]


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 30, 2001 11:48 pm 
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What do you think of Souter's argument (for the majority) that the country is not facing an epidemic of arrests for minor issues and therefore, the SCOTUS out not to be meddling around with the law? The idea being that less = more as far as SCOTUS theorizing because the more they theorize the closer they get to writing laws for us, and that the other branches could handle these arrest problems.


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PostPosted: Tue May 01, 2001 3:07 pm 
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<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Ian:

What do you think of Souter's argument (for the majority) that the country is not facing an epidemic of arrests for minor issues and therefore, the SCOTUS out not to be meddling around with the law? The idea being that less = more as far as SCOTUS theorizing because the more they theorize the closer they get to writing laws for us, and that the other branches could handle these arrest problems.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

He's pretending that they are upholding the Constitution when he knows they've just destroyed part of it. It's a pi$$-poor rationalization for not using the controls in the Constitution to do exactly what they were meant to do... namely, prevent LEOs from becoming mini-tinpot-dictators violating people's inalienable Rights under color of law.


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PostPosted: Tue May 01, 2001 7:58 pm 
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It is my understanding that proposed legislation almost aping the Texas seat belt statute has been introduced in Massachusetts and a number of other states and they are ready to take a chain saw to the Constitution of the US.

We can gripe here and shout all day long but the political and social climate will fan the winds of war and constantly erode individual rights once guaranteed by the US Constitution and lest we forget, the states have constitutions as well. As we move more and more to central government, individual states rights erode, but alas, we all ask for it by insisting upon more and more legislation and laws, particularly on the federal level. People insist on more internet control; stop the hackers, more gun control more police activity and laws to stop crime rather than enforce what we have.
In government, ask and ye shall receive; and yes more than you wanted.

Don't blame the politicos, for answering to the sheep that bleat loudly.

What's the answser? More education? (that didn't help me much). Today many worthwhile prospective political candidates refuse to run for office for fear of dirty politics and media attacks, and the effect on their families.

Just keep the money coming and government will take care of the rest.

People accept what happens unless they feel immediate pain, which might never occur or may happend when you land in the slam because an LEO could not view your shoulder harness portion of your seat belt.

Sour grapes? Nope, just been through many political cycles and still evolving from my liberal bleeding heart Boston schooling, but my rose colored glasses have faded a bit.

Good tough issue Panther.

Alan K

------------------
"The Goddess of Justice is Blind"


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PostPosted: Wed May 02, 2001 2:44 pm 
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As it turns out, this AM, Ms. Atwater was interviewed and her children were in seatbelts. It's just that the LEO didn't see them... Image


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PostPosted: Wed May 02, 2001 6:27 pm 
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On the Today show this morning she told Ms. Couric that her children were NOT in their seat belts because they were looking for a small toy they had lost that morning along the side of the road. She also said she told the kids that the officer was doing the right thing when he pulled her over (before the arrest).

What I never heard Katie ask her was whether this was one of multiple times she had been warned about this seatbelt issue by this officer. I heard this was the case (don't know for sure).

What I also wonder is how it feels to be a police officer who responds to an accident where children were not restrained properly; I have sure heard the stories.

My car doesn't move until every body in it is buckled. Can't rewind the tape when your kids are splattered all over the inside and you wish you had been more of a hard a$$.

If the toy was so all fired important and the street was so empty, why not park the dang car and walk the search area?

Holier-than-thou smartaleck soccer moms tick ME off, but the LEO doesn't have that option I guess.

I agree with the 4th Amendment concerns completely, but there is another perspective.


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PostPosted: Wed May 02, 2001 7:56 pm 
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If she told Katie that they weren't buckled and also (when I was watching) said that they were buckled, then I don't know which is true.

Regardless, the 4th Amendment issue remains the same. Someone's (anyone's) making a poor decision and the consequences of that decision should be left with that person. I happen to agree with your premise that seatbelts should be worn. It's just the premise that government agents with badges and guns should force people to wear them under threat of incarceration.

Points well taken... Thanks Ted...


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PostPosted: Thu May 03, 2001 2:56 am 
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Panther:

Nineth and Tenth Amendment? So besides Roe v. Wade (Justice Goldberg) have you ever seen any court enforce either amendment. Reserving to the people those rights not expressly enumerated must scare the p*** out of most government police types. (The police and military would probably like to repeal the third amendment as well.)

I don't believe this latest decision killed the fourth amendment. It was already eviscerated by no knock warrants and reasonable expectations of privacy; asset seizure and articulable suspicions. While on its face the fourth amendment would seem to be pretty straight forward, how can a court that cannot read the first amendment get any of the rest of them right.

"Congress shall make no law..." We have a court that allows regulation of protected first amendment activities all the time. No law? Geez. The books are full of laws touching on the first amendment. It's no surprise that the fourth amendment gets no respect. As to the ninth and tenth, please, the court doesn't even know those amendments are there.
Peace
Robb in Sacramento



[This message has been edited by Robb in Sacramento (edited May 03, 2001).]


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PostPosted: Thu May 03, 2001 9:48 pm 
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Location: Tallahassee, Fl, US
"(The police and military would probably like to repeal the third amendment as well.)"
Rob

I have to say something, despite the fact that I will probably be ignored, made to seem naive or just plain uninformed.

What I want to say is, you guys make me laugh. Where do you come up with some of this stuff? Maybe it's a regional thing. We don't think like that down here. We don't want to repeal any laws or amendments, at least as a majority. There is always that one nut job. Maybe that is the cop you guys are talking about and I am just being too sensitive. But I personally don't want to violate anyone's civil rights and neither do any of my friends.

Maybe the cops up there are jackbooted thugs or maybe some of you have run into a cop with what in YOUR opinion had a bad attitude. So be it. But don't paint us all as the iceholes, which statements like that make us out to be.

That is a FALSE and misleading statement.

Hey but don't change guys because I love a good laugh.

BTW- Our governor, you know the brother of the President of the United States. Anyway, he just signed a bill saying that no county in Florida can sue a gun manufacturer because of injury or loss of life. You guys should go where it's warm. Image


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You can't fight if my thumb is in your eye.

talleyuechi@earthlink.net

[This message has been edited by David Talley (edited May 03, 2001).]


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PostPosted: Fri May 04, 2001 7:26 pm 
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Excellent post Robb... I agree with your points, analysis and examples.

Now David T, I have many friends who are LEOs. I truly appreciate the hardwork of our men and women in blue and the fact that they are willing to put it on the line everyday for the rest of us. However, just as store-owners don't get praise and only hear the complaints, this is a similar situation in the fact that the officers who are on the side of our Rights and freedoms don't get any praise while those who wish to trample those Rights and freedoms get our very vocal complaints.

And as an FYI, this isn't Florida. In the People's Supreme Democratic Republic of Massachusetts, the people know how a ballot works, but unfortunately they don't give us any choices here! Things are different in the North... believe me, I know.


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PostPosted: Sat May 05, 2001 12:11 am 
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David T.

Good news for the gun manufacturers! Nothing like being able to put a dangerous instrumentality into the marketplace without regard for liability. Say, maybe the prezs bro would also like to shield the food industry from those bothersome lawsuits involving botulism. OH, and let's not leave out explosive manufactures. Yeah, and while were at it, why should a car maker be sued over exploding gas tanks.

Wait a minute. Wasn't it a band from the south that observed, "Hand guns are made for killin', ain't good for nothin' else." Gee, I wonder what the gun manufactures think their product will be used for. UMMM. Thank whatever greater power you believe in that we have spared gun makers from having to take responsibility for their product. Now, if we can just protect NBC for that whole XFL thing.
Peace.
Robb in Sacramento.


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PostPosted: Sat May 05, 2001 1:28 am 
I always felt that the seat belt laws were there to speed up the accident clean up process. No searching for the body,it's strapped in,just yank it out and put it in the body bag.

Well I'm surprised to learn that for not wearing my belt I could be imprisoned. This looking for the body thing must be a bigger problem than I thought.

Seems a bit strange that for not wearing a belt I'll be sent to a place were I'm not permitted to wear a belt. Is that punishment,rehabilitation or just helping out Bubba?

Who makes these rules?

Laird


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PostPosted: Sun May 06, 2001 3:27 am 
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<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Robb in Sacramento:

Good news for the gun manufacturers!<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Yes it was... so a few of us went out and did some shootin' today! Goodtimes had by all...

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote
Quote:
Nothing like being able to put a dangerous instrumentality into the marketplace without regard for liability.


Don't know anything about it but what the media has spoon-fed you I see... Image That's OK, I'll help...

These decisions have nothing to do with firearms regulations or product liability. Firearms are one of the most regulated items in the United States... PERIOD. (That's why they call them the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms... the regulations concerning manufacture, safety and distribution of firearms take-up a set of books the size of Compton's Encyclopedia.)

Additionally, the only liability lawsuits that these laws/rulings prevent are those where some thug has taken a perfectly fine firearm and misused it. Whether that misuse was an "accident" (there's no such thing, just negligence) or the commission of a crime. Those things aren't the fault of the manufacturers OR the product. They're the fault of some individual's actions... Hopefully, now we can get on with holding those individuals personally accountable for their crimes.

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote
Quote:
Gee, I wonder what the gun manufactures think their product will be used for. UMMM.


1) Self-defense for private citizens
2) Self-defense for law enforcement officers
3) Hunting (for some that means putting food on the table)
4) Competition (Biathlon, Camp Perry, IPSC, etc)
5) They are a hell of a lot of fun as a number of Uechi-ka who spent the entire afternoon on the range with me will attest... And guess what! Not so much as a stubbed toe. Nothing, Nada, Zero, Zilch for injuries. Completely safe, enjoyable and an exercise of skill.

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote
Quote:
Thank whatever greater power you believe in that we have spared gun makers from having to take responsibility for their product.


I thank the "greater power I believe in" every damn day that (s)he gave me the inalienable Right to Keep and Bear Arms... and that the media indoctrinated masses have at least the potential for being educated about just what that Right means.
(Unfortunately, "potential" very often doesn't replace the indoctrinated ignorance.)


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