Tennessee Drug Interdiction Officers Stomp All Over Traveling Couples' Rights En Route To Seizing Nothing At All

from the putting-the-'ass'-back-in-'asset-forfeiture' dept

More asset forfeiture to report on, albeit of the rarely-reported "attempted robbery forfeiture" variety. (via Overlawyered)

A couple (Lisa and Ronnie Hankins) traveling through Tennessee on their way home (to California) from a funeral was stopped by Tennessee drug interdiction agents as they traveled west on I-40 out of Nashville. What followed was a long fishing expedition, during which officers separated husband and wife in hopes of getting permission to search their vehicle without a warrant.
"You say there's not anything illegal in it. Do you mind if I search it today to make sure?" the officer asked.

Lisa responded, "I'd have to talk to my husband."

[...]

The agent continued, "I am asking you for permission to search your vehicle today -- and you are well within your rights to say no and you can say yes. It's totally up to you as to whether you want to show cooperation or not."

[...]

"You have to either give me a yes or no," he continued. "I do need an answer so I can figure out whether I need a dog to go around it or not."
Because the agent was unable to obtain consent from the couple, he decided to ask a dog. A drug-sniffing dog was brought in to examine the vehicle and, go figure, it alerted near the driver's side window (after ignoring the open passenger's side window). Finally having obtained "permission" for a warrantless search, the two agents went to work. An hour later -- and having disassembled the dashboard of the couple's new car -- they were unable to recover anything incriminating. But hey, no one's rights were violated because the drug dog told officers the car contained drugs, even though it didn't.

It also didn't contain any cash, which one agent told the Ronnie Hankins was far more likely to be hidden somewhere in the vehicle.
[W]hen Ronnie insisted there were no drugs, the agent confided he wasn't really expecting any.

"Well, I'll be honest with you, with you going this direction, I wouldn't think you'd have drugs in the car -- you would have a large amount of money," he said.
Apparently, drug interdiction agents are far less interested in stopping the flow of drugs than they are in intercepting outgoing cash. Otherwise, as Nashville's News 5 (which has been investigating the state's out-of-control asset forfeiture program for years) points out, it wouldn't be performing a majority of its stops on roads leading out of the state.
While drugs generally come from Mexico on the eastbound side of Interstate 40 and the drug money goes back on the westbound side, the investigation discovered police making 10 times as many stops on the so-called "money side."
The frustrated officers finally let the Hankins go, but not before making a last-ditch effort to redeem their futile efforts. The police report claims the interdiction agents found "marijuana debris" or "shake" on the floorboards of the vehicle. The Hankins claim the only thing on the floorboards was grass from the cemetery where Ronnie Hankins' grandfather was buried. Whether it was "grass" or grass, neither of the Hankins were charged or cited.

Tennessee's asset forfeiture laws are far worse than those in many states. 100% of the proceeds of any seizures go to the department that performed it. Legislative attempts to overhaul these laws have been mostly fruitless. A bill introduced in early 2013 aimed to eliminate this abuse by making seizures contingent on convictions. By the time the House and Senate had amended the bill, the only net gain was the prohibition of ex parte hearings. If Tennesee interdiction officers seize your money or other property, they now (the law went into effect at the beginning of this year) have to give you a date when you can show up and defend "forfeited" property from the accusations of law enforcement -- something of limited utility considering these officers tend to prey on drivers with out-of-state plates. Depending on what has been seized, it may be cheaper to allow the state to claim its ill-gotten goods rather than spending even more money to participate in a largely ceremonial process that often results in the state paying out only pennies on the dollar.

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  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 20 Nov 2014 @ 2:48am

    Moral of the story:

    Stay the hell out of Tennessee, or if that's not possible, never, ever carry cash or other valuables with you as you travel(with the second half applying to more than just this particular state, given how widespread the problem of armed robbery under the cover of badge seems to be).

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 20 Nov 2014 @ 4:45am

      Re: Moral of the story:

      Stay the hell out of the US period.

      Who still wonders why people don't like governments or cops...

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 20 Nov 2014 @ 4:53am

        Re: Re: Moral of the story:

        You're welcome to leave and go somewhere else; perhaps a third world country with a strong man dictator that doesn't provide you with any rights.

        Grow up.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          any moose cow word, 20 Nov 2014 @ 5:10am

          Re: Re: Re: Moral of the story:

          You're welcome to leave and go somewhere else; perhaps a third world country with a strong man dictator that doesn't provide you with any rights.

          You do realize that the world isn't simply divided between the US and the "third world", right? There are other developed countries that aren't quite so corrupt.


          Grow up.

          Read a book, learn something outside your cloistered little world. The US sure as hell ain't the bastion of freedom and liberty it pretends to be.

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 20 Nov 2014 @ 5:11am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Moral of the story:

            B-B-B-BUT SOCIALISM

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 20 Nov 2014 @ 5:53am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Moral of the story:

            This is a good example of why we need to do a better job in the education of our youth. Sad thing is, there are many who want to make education even worse than it is today. Anti science and revisionist history will not make a better society.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              PRMan, 20 Nov 2014 @ 10:37am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Moral of the story:

              I'm pretty sure society was much better when everyone prayed and read the Bible in school. And society is getting much worse now that we are no longer doing that, and people's morals and concern for others are going down the drain.

              But hey, whatever deluded fantasy world you want to live in I guess.

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              • icon
                John Fenderson (profile), 20 Nov 2014 @ 11:12am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Moral of the story:

                "I'm pretty sure society was much better when everyone prayed and read the Bible in school."

                Yeah, you're wrong about that. Although a lot of it depends on what you consider "good", when I look at now vs then, I'd say that society is much better on the whole now. "Then" wasn't nearly as virtuous as lots of people seem to think.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 20 Nov 2014 @ 12:13pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Moral of the story:

                I'm pretty sure society was much better when everyone prayed and read the Bible in school.

                Only as long as they did not start fighting over which interpretation of the bible was/is correct.
                Further, many people are much more prepared to help other in an emergency, regardless of whether or which church they attend. Search for Occupy Sandy to see how people helped each other after a disaster, anarchistic co-operation via twitter etc. did way better than formally organized initiatives.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • icon
                tqk (profile), 20 Nov 2014 @ 2:53pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Moral of the story:

                I'm pretty sure society was much better when everyone prayed and read the Bible in school.

                Oh yeah, for sure. I just *loved* sitting through Sunday school and daily Lord's Prayers in school, despite the fact I've *never* been religious nor even the least bit spiritually minded. I am so much a better person for having to suffer through what I always saw as self-serving lies, and seeing all around me fervently agreeing to perpetuate such lies.

                It is such a joy for me to see everyone around me appears to believe in ghosts, vampires, zombies, aroma therapy, chiropractors, and so much other bunk. It really helps me to respect my fellow residents on the planet.

                Really.

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              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 21 Nov 2014 @ 7:32pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Moral of the story:

                The problem with reading the bible is whose book should we use? Should it be the Catholic/Baptist/Quaker/Church of Latter Day Saints/Jehovah's Witness/Greek or Russian Orthodox/Coptic version? Or should we read the torah, koran, buddhist sutras, book of shadows or the vedas?

                As soon as you try to make my kids read your bible I will start a lawsuit that will drag through the court system for decades, will involve an examination of constitutional law written over the last three centuries, involve generations of SCOTUS benchwarmers, billions of dollars in taxpayers money, the time and efforts of the best trial lawyers, ambulance chasers and frivolous litigators ever produced by the US legal system. I will bury you in red tape, have protestors lined up 100 deep outside your front door, have death threats sent to your social networking page, your home, your place of work, family, friends, enemies...

                And you won't be able to do a thing about it because it's the American Way.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • icon
                  tqk (profile), 22 Nov 2014 @ 3:08pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Moral of the story:

                  The problem with reading the bible is whose book should we use? Should it be the Catholic/Baptist/Quaker/Church of Latter Day Saints/Jehovah's Witness/Greek or Russian Orthodox/Coptic version? Or should we read the torah, koran, buddhist sutras, book of shadows or the vedas?

                  Great post, but I note you failed to mention the Flying Spaggetti Monster, SO I HAVE NO OPTION BUT TO SUE YOU TO DEATH FOR ...

                  I'm sure you know where this is going.

                  Thanks.

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            AJ, 20 Nov 2014 @ 9:30am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Moral of the story:

            5 Internets to you for using the word "cloistered" in a sentence. I had to look it up lol.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              tqk (profile), 22 Nov 2014 @ 3:20pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Moral of the story:

              5 Internets to you for using the word "cloistered" in a sentence.

              I'm guessing, but I think I may know of lots of words you've never heard of. What's an "Internet" worth, if I may ask?

              Prestidigitation.

              Antidisesablishmentarianism.

              Yahweh.

              That's 15 Internets you owe me. Pay up! I have witnesses! Yeah, I tend to get off on sublime minutiae. Sue me.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 20 Nov 2014 @ 5:12am

          Re: Re: Re: Moral of the story:

          Looks like we have a cop who's trying to troll us. Nice try

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 20 Nov 2014 @ 5:21am

          Re: Re: Re: Moral of the story:

          If I wanted that, I'd just stay in the US.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 20 Nov 2014 @ 5:58am

          Re: Re: Re: Moral of the story:

          As opposed to the "protection" provided by the 1st, 2nd 4th, and 5th amendments?

          Face it, this country has become exactly what we learned about in school about those "third world, strong man dictator" countries you speak of - there is little, if any difference anymore.

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        • identicon
          Benjamin Wade, 20 Nov 2014 @ 6:10am

          Sarcasm is needed in this situation to highlight the ridiculousness

          My family goes back to the beginning of this nation,and they all fought for this country and its constitution. Under cover of having rights, our rights are being taken away, and apologists (like you) defend that loss of rights.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Baron von Robber, 20 Nov 2014 @ 8:55am

          Re: Re: Re: Moral of the story:

          Wow, did you have a 2nd blow of 'stupid' this morning?

          USA or 3rd world, huh? Did Canada, Europe, Japan, etc fall off the edge of flat world today?

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          • icon
            John Fenderson (profile), 20 Nov 2014 @ 9:48am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Moral of the story:

            In all fairness, those nations are all First World ones.

            First world: generally aligned or allied with the US
            Second world: generally aligned or allied with the ex-Soviet Union
            Third world: not generally align or allied with either.

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            • identicon
              Baron von Robber, 20 Nov 2014 @ 10:25am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Moral of the story:

              Aye, I was only pointing out the false dichotomy of the point that any non-US country must be a 3rd world country.

              Obviously not true.

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            • identicon
              DCL, 20 Nov 2014 @ 10:25am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Moral of the story:

              I always figured "worlds" lined up with how "rich" the general society was.

              First world: Pretty dang rich in general
              Second world: most people are surviving but don't have much disposable income or free time
              Third world: most people are struggling to to survive.

              Now I will say there is a strong correlation between govt type and the general society status.

              So for this discussion the US would be heading toward a First world Dictator ship.

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              • icon
                Richard (profile), 21 Nov 2014 @ 2:12am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Moral of the story:

                I always figured "worlds" lined up with how "rich" the general society was.


                It's not as simple as that. Brunei and Saudi Arabia come near the top of the per capita GDP list but are definitely not havens of freedom. Now at first I thought that maybe it was the source of the wealth that matters - but then I remembered that Norway is also oil rich - so maybe there is something else in there. I wonder what it couild be?

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            • identicon
              Captive Audience, 25 Nov 2014 @ 9:07pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Moral of the story:

              Technically the USA is the second world and Europe and Asia are the first.

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        • identicon
          alternatives(), 20 Nov 2014 @ 11:06am

          Re: Re: Re: Moral of the story:

          You're welcome to leave and go somewhere else

          Yes, because you get to leave your money at the border.

          What is it, 50% tax on the assets you want to leave the country with?

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 20 Nov 2014 @ 12:27pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Moral of the story:

            Where did you get an idea like this? One of the few things the government hasn't done away with in the fight on terrorism is the ability to take money in and out of the country.

            You just can't take large piles of cash. You can do a swift wire transfer, use bitcoin. HSBC used to make it easy, but I don't think they do anymore.

            You may be referring to the need to pay a bunch of extra income tax when you give up your US citizenship. But that is a separate issue.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 20 Nov 2014 @ 12:18pm

          Re: Re: Re: Moral of the story:

          What are these rights you speak of ?

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Uriel-238 (profile), 20 Nov 2014 @ 1:21pm

          Tu Quoque?

          Saying (or in your case implying) that nowhere else is it better, whether true or not, doesn't make it right or acceptable.

          In the late 1930s while there were complaints about German aggressiveness, the concerns about the nuremburg laws was understated because everyone hated the Jews and wanted someone to blame for the great depression. The National Socialists only got proactive about it, and sentiment in the United States was generally envy.

          Civil forfeiture is nothing short of literal highway robbery, and the enthusiasm the police are showing, both in favoring forfeiture stops over other kinds, and in the extent of their searching (dogs and removal of the dashboard in this case), illustrate how this is totally about taking people's stuff, and not about stopping or preventing crime.

          Cops are robbing people, and this is wrong. Full stop.

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        • icon
          art guerrilla (profile), 20 Nov 2014 @ 1:28pm

          Re: Re: Re: Moral of the story:

          @ a non cow 2:53 am

          you fucking authoritarian moron: WE (meaning the US of A) are the terrorists, WE are the ones abrogating rights, WE are the ones not following due process, WE are the ones ignoring the constitution, WE are the ones making a fascist Empire...

          stupid sheeple are stupid...

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            Uriel-238 (profile), 20 Nov 2014 @ 1:55pm

            The old man in Pueblo

            Listen, years ago I rode with Juárez against Emperor Maximilian. I lost many chickens but I thought it was worth it to be free. When Porfirio became President, I supported him – but he stole my chickens. Then came Huerta and he stole my chickens. Then it was Carranza’s term, and he stole my chickens too. Now comes Pancho Villa to liberate me and the first thing he does is steal my chickens.(…) What makes one different from the others? My chickens don’t know. All over the world revolutions come and go. Presidents rise and fall. They all stole your chickens. The only thing to change is the name of the man who takes them.

            --Old man in Pueblo, Young Indiana Jones and the Curse of the Jackal

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        • identicon
          Captive Audience, 25 Nov 2014 @ 8:59pm

          Re: Re: Re: Moral of the story:

          The standards of liberty must be really low here in the USA if the baseline is measured against a third world dictatorship. Sadly the descent has been so thorough that soon even the third world dictator and police state will seem more accountable.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 20 Nov 2014 @ 5:10am

        Re: Re: Moral of the story:

        I know plenty of people raised during the 'tough on crime' era to still worship cops. And yet some of them have the nerve to call themselves 'small gubberment' types.

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      • identicon
        Jose Diego-Vasquez, 20 Nov 2014 @ 6:20am

        Re: Re: Moral of the story:

        No, the moral is to stay the hell out of Tennessee. Nice folks there, but a corrupt, backwards shithole.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 20 Nov 2014 @ 8:52am

      Re: Moral of the story:

      No, the moral of the story is, "Fuck bad cops."

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        tqk (profile), 20 Nov 2014 @ 9:10am

        Re: Re: Moral of the story:

        No, the moral of the story is, "Fuck bad cops."

        The cops didn't get this power and authority in a vacuum. They had help from your elected representatives and your overall justice system. The cops are just following orders and milking the situation for all it's worth. This is what their organization has been commanded to do.

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        • icon
          Alien Rebel (profile), 20 Nov 2014 @ 9:46am

          Re: Re: Re: Moral of the story:

          Bingo.

          You have the right to an elected government. If you don't participate in elections, a government not of your choosing will be appointed for you.

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 20 Nov 2014 @ 10:35am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Moral of the story:

            You are missing an important fact, you choice of representative is limited to those who choose to stand. Until more reasonable people stand for office the situation will not improve, and most reasonable people do not want to associate with politicians and so will not stand. Participation in election requires standing for office, or taking an active part in selecting the candidates for election, which is difficult to do in a party system.

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            • icon
              Alien Rebel (profile), 20 Nov 2014 @ 11:33am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Moral of the story:

              Not missing anything if you read "participation" to mean more than merely filling in a ballot once in a while. Don't like the choices up for election to office? There are primaries. Don't like who the parties present? Make noise in your party and/or in public; write, speak, protest, give money, maybe run for office your danged self.

              Either the democratic process works, or it doesn't; if the work and sweat of getting it to work is too hard, then comes that "a government will be appointed for you" option. Lots of history showing how badly that can suck.

              --

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              • identicon
                Zonker, 20 Nov 2014 @ 1:54pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Moral of the story:

                I wish I got to vote in primaries so that I could have some say in who our candidates should be, but I don't. Why don't I? Because I am non-partisan/independent and I will not choose sides. Because I won't join a political party I'd be expected to vote party line for, I don't get to choose who their candidates shall be. I don't get any candidates on my ballot during primaries at all. I'm lucky if I get one local bond measure or a couple of local non-partisan offices with one candidate running unopposed on my primary ballot.

                I only get the choice between the worst of party D and the worst of party R after both sides have selected the extremist of their choice already. I can't change Federal law as that power is given only to Congress, but I am given little choice of who will represent me in that Congress.

                Run for office myself or back my own candidate? I don't have a SuperPAC. I don't have hundreds of millions of free speech dollars. I don't own a corporation or a media company. Independents are a small minority in this country, and the partisans rarely vote outside of their own political party. Not a bloody goddamn chance in a frozen over hell surrounded by flying pigs struck by an asteroid and two bolts of lightning holding a winning lottery ticket could I ever possibly succeed at that.

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                • icon
                  Alien Rebel (profile), 20 Nov 2014 @ 4:00pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Moral of the story:

                  You need to list a few more "I can'ts," like-
                  "I can't write, can't educate myself or others, can't send money, can't support any group, can't do research, can't march and hold a sign, can't take part in local issues, can't volunteer anywhere.
                  I'm sure there's quite a bunch of others I'm missing.

                  --

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                • icon
                  tqk (profile), 20 Nov 2014 @ 6:36pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Moral of the story:

                  I wish I got to vote in primaries so that I could have some say in who our candidates should be, but I don't.

                  Which is why I insist Churchill was wrong. Democracy is the best of a list of bad choices, woopee. Churchill was a democrat, so he was prejudiced against non-democratic systems of government. Anarchy is going to see its day, whether we like the idea or not. *Firefly*!

                  Governments of today are giving democracy a bad name (or it always was bad and is now being shown to be) and are anarchy's best marketers.

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                  • identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, 21 Nov 2014 @ 8:09am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Moral of the story:

                    Anarchy is not a stable system. It is just a power vacuum waiting to be filled. Nothing might sound better than the something bad that we currently have but nothing could become something a lot worse too. Imagine if religious nutbags didn't have human laws and government forces holding them back from enforcing their perceived gods' laws.

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                    • icon
                      tqk (profile), 21 Nov 2014 @ 11:19am

                      Re: Moral of the story:

                      Imagine if religious nutbags didn't have human laws and government forces holding them back from enforcing their perceived gods' laws.

                      What, open season on violence prone religious nutbags? Yeah, that'd be terrible. I don't much care about regular religious nutbags, but we need all the violence prone ones we can get, right?

                      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • icon
                tqk (profile), 20 Nov 2014 @ 5:21pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Moral of the story:

                Make noise in your party and/or in public; write, speak, protest, give money, maybe run for office your danged self.

                You know, we really hate people like you? You keep making all this !@#$ to be our fault for having let it happen.

                I have actually (forced myself to) run for political office. It's every bit as bad an experience as everyone tells you it is. It really sucks. It's awful.

                How democracy manages to survive from day to day is a miracle to me. Maybe the !@#$ing lawyers have mangled it so badly, it's lost its ability to die.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • icon
                  Alien Rebel (profile), 20 Nov 2014 @ 7:47pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Moral of the story:

                  The older I get, the more I enjoy doing things to get people to not like me. It's liberating, wish I'd started being a jerk sooner. ;-D

                  Seriously; I don't mean to sound preachy. it's just that IMO there's some seriously high water coming, and we all have the simple but uncomfortable choice of either getting up from the couch and stuffing sandbags, or hoping the couch floats.

                  Maybe the only bad that will result from too many complacent / disengaged / dispirited Americans are yet more wasted tax dollars, having to learn Mandarin so you can impress your new boss, perhaps losing a kid or a spouse to cancer after drinking too much of that funky-flavored water the government was too lame to do anything about. Same old same old, the world goes on.

                  On the other hand, maybe we're not too far from having one of history's big moments, when people get to stare at the rubble of their homes and communities and wish like hell they'd been paying closer attention, and had done more when they had the chance. Hard to say.

                  --

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                • icon
                  Uriel-238 (profile), 20 Nov 2014 @ 11:25pm

                  Democracy has long since failed.

                  But society survives regardless of how the government act, because society is made up of people, and they need society to basically function to get along from day to day.

                  The continuation of politics, whether by vote, or by law officers jerking people around, or by revolutionaries and COIN forces fighting, all happen despite the fact that people really just want to get on with their day-to-day lives.

                  And that force of inertia is what keeps America moving forward no matter how much we look like an evil empire or a cyberpunk dystopia.

                  So long as the garbage is collected, the power is on, the trains run on time and the grocery stores are filled with food, the nation is going to keep going.

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Pat, 20 Nov 2014 @ 12:41pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Moral of the story:

            "You have the right to an elected government."

            Actually, you have the right to chose a government from a very narrow selection of representatives carefully chosen and completely bought and owned by us rich corporation. We spend billions of dollars making certain that they tell you what you want to hear but only do what we tell them, which these days is nothing at all because we're pretty happy with the way things are running at the moment. Out profits have never been higher... thank-you democracy.

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            • icon
              Alien Rebel (profile), 20 Nov 2014 @ 1:34pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Moral of the story:

              The people with money and armies have always had a leg up. The choices you have as a citizen remain the same; either organize and work collectively to keep Goldmad Sachs of S**t from ruling the world, or accept what comes your way. Unfortunately I can't think of anything easier, where we do nothing but complain, and somehow things get better.

              Some jobs are hard, dirty, nasty, and don't come with any guarantee of success. Way it is.

              --

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Nov 2014 @ 4:42am

    "But hey, no one's rights were violated because the drug dog told officers the car contained drugs, even though it didn't."

    Yeah, the sarcasm doesn't help in the slightest. In fact, it's getting kind of old really. Every article at TechDirt of late seems nothing more than sarcasm substrate.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 20 Nov 2014 @ 5:04am

      Re:

      If you don't like it, don't read it.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 20 Nov 2014 @ 5:59am

      Re:

      What is wrong with sarcasm? You want your reading material all prettied up, warm and soothing? Fine, that's your choice. Ignorance is bliss.

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    • identicon
      Benjamin Wade, 20 Nov 2014 @ 6:04am

      Sarcasm is needed in this situation to highlight the ridiculousness

      of the situation.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 20 Nov 2014 @ 6:05am

      Re:

      How is that Sarcasm? Those must literally be the thoughts that run through the cops heads. IF we can't get their permission, we get the dog to give us a signal that is completely arbitrary and cannot be disputed. Even after the dog has been proven to have given a false positive "signal" the police still seize any cash they find and claim it is illgotten until proven otherwise. If you honestly think that scenario is perfectly fine, you are a moron.

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    • icon
      Dirkmaster (profile), 20 Nov 2014 @ 9:52am

      Re:

      Man, if you don't like sarcasm, you might as well ditch the internet altogether.

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    • icon
      Uriel-238 (profile), 20 Nov 2014 @ 2:07pm

      False dogs

      Maybe abuse of drug dogs to bypass the probable cause requirement will eventually have the use of dogs as an instrument of search put behind the warrant rather than in front, since there is no way to challenge whether the dog legitimately signaled or not.

      We've been seeing a lot of false positives from dogs, or their handlers. Essentially it's become a means to circumvent Fourth Amendment rights.

      Is there a law that actually says that dog behavior can justify a probable cause search? Does it specify what specifically the dog has to do? It should.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 20 Nov 2014 @ 2:23pm

        Re: False dogs

        Is there a law that actually says that dog behavior can justify a probable cause search?

        You're asking whether there's statute law? That is, you're not asking about case law.

        Are you inquiring about federal statutes? Or about statutes emanating from the legislatures of the several states?

        Or perhaps you're querying with regards to administrative rules authorized by some statute?

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 20 Nov 2014 @ 2:47pm

          Re: Re: False dogs

          I'm tired of people having the audacity to ask questions without consulting a lawyer first.

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          • icon
            Uriel-238 (profile), 20 Nov 2014 @ 2:54pm

            A nation in which everyone requires legal council.

            I'm tired of people having the audacity to ask questions without consulting a lawyer first.

            Not sure if sarcasm.

            And I'm terrified that I live in a nation where that might be unclear.

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        • icon
          Uriel-238 (profile), 20 Nov 2014 @ 3:04pm

          You tell me.

          You're asking whether there's statute law? That is, you're not asking about case law.

          Are you inquiring about federal statutes? Or about statutes emanating from the legislatures of the several states?

          Or perhaps you're querying with regards to administrative rules authorized by some statute?


          I'm wondering how a contraband-searching dog ends up on site prior to articulable reasonable suspicion, and how a dog making an ambiguous signal to its handler is grounds for a probable-cause search. As a layman I have no idea if the laws would be at the federal, state or county level or whether it's legislated or based on judicial precedent or even mere common practice.

          In a world in which the state was concerned about police abuse and judicial overreach, we might actually pass laws about the protocols of using dogs for search. But given the surveillance state, it seems that personal privacy is a deteriorating concern.

          But it seems that when we develop a technology that might be used to uncover a crime, the police gain access to it long before effects to civilians including privacy concerns, are considered.

          And hence we have dogs being used to justify law enforcement taking apart cars so that they can rob an out of state couple.

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 21 Nov 2014 @ 3:21am

            Re: You tell me.

            I'm wondering how a contraband-searching dog ends up on site prior to articulable reasonable suspicion

            Illinois v Caballes (2005) relates one way in which a contraband-searching dog was deployed before any articulable suspicion of contraband had developed:
            llinois State Trooper Daniel Gillette stopped respondent for speeding on an interstate highway. When Gillette radioed the police dispatcher to report the stop, a second trooper, Craig Graham, a member of the Illinois State Police Drug Interdiction Team, overheard the transmission and immediately headed for the scene with his narcotics-detection dog. When they arrived, respondent's car was on the shoulder of the road and respondent was in Gillette's vehicle. While Gillette was in the process of writing a warning ticket, Graham walked his dog around respondent's car. The dog alerted at the trunk. Based on that alert, the officers searched the trunk, found marijuana, and arrested respondent. The entire incident lasted less than 10 minutes.

            In Caballes, the question the court decided was:
            "Whether the Fourth Amendment requires reasonable, articulable suspicion to justify using a drug-detection dog to sniff a vehicle during a legitimate traffic stop."
            So, to the extent that you're looking for the sources of law authorizing these activities, this Supreme Court case is certainly one of those authorizing sources now.

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 21 Nov 2014 @ 4:23am

            Re: You tell me.

            ... how a dog making an ambiguous signal to its handler is grounds for a probable-cause search.

            See Florida v Harris (2013).
            In this case, we consider how a court should determine if the "alert" of a drug-detection dog during a traffic stop provides probable cause to search a vehicle.

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 21 Nov 2014 @ 10:08am

              Re: Re: You tell me.

              See Florida v Harris (2013).

              Here's a recent case from the District of Utah, decided after Florida v Harris...

              United States v Medina (D.Utah, April 2014)
              As discussed above, the Tenth Circuit has deferred to the expertise of canine professionals to decide whether training is adequate to produce a reliable dog. And as discussed above, Defendant has failed to undermine the presumption that Utah's training program produces reliable dogs. Therefore, the accuracy rates of dogs certified in other jurisdictions have little bearing on Jip's reliability. Moreover, the Tenth Circuit has repeatedly held that narcotics detection dogs with accuracy rates below or comparable to Jip's are sufficiently reliable to establish probable cause.[Footnote 19] Defendant concedes that Jip performs at 75% accuracy, which is above the threshold set by the Tenth Circuit. Finally, although Defendant directs the Court's attention to cases involving dogs with success rates above Jip's, other circuits have also found dogs to be reliable despite having success rates below Jip's.[Footnote 20]


              I'm excerpting this case here primarily because of the statistics collected in these two footnotes:
              [Footnote 19] See, e.g., Kitchell (affirming district court's finding that dog with 66.7% accuracy rate was reliable); Ludwig ("[B]ased on historical performance, this dog's alert suggested a 58% chance of finding a seizable quantity of drugs. While we hesitate to get into the business of affixing figures on probable cause, if we were pushed to do so we would hold this to be enough."); United States v. Kennedy (10th Cir. 1997) ("The evidence indicated that Bobo correctly alerted 71% of the time in those instances where records were kept and that on those occasions where Bobo worked with Small, the dog had at least an 80% accuracy rate. We find that a 70-80% success rate meets the liberal standard for probable cause . . . .").

              [Footnote 20] See, e.g., United States v. Anderson (11th Cir. 2010) (unpublished) (55% accuracy); United States v. Koon Chung Wu 246 (4th Cir. 2007) (unpublished) (60% accuracy); United States v. Limares (7th Cir. 2001) (62% accuracy).
              (Pincites omitted.)

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  • identicon
    terabitman, 20 Nov 2014 @ 6:28am

    Know your rights - never talk to police

    Identify yourself, provide your documents, that is it. The answer to any question should be "I am exercising my right to remain silent". Where are you going? ... Where did you come from? ... Do you know how fast your were going? ...

    DO NOT get out of the car. No matter what the officer says.
    DO NOT consent to any search. Don't resist physically either, rather repeat you do not consent to a search.
    Ask repeatedly "Am I being detained?" If the answer is no, then leave.
    If you're not being detained then you do not need to wait for a dog. If you are being detained they need probable cause.

    It sounds like this couple made the mistake of trusting police officers. NEVER TRUST THE POLICE. DON'T TALK TO POLICE http://youtu.be/6wXkI4t7nuc

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 20 Nov 2014 @ 7:34am

      Re: Know your rights - never talk to police

      DO NOT get out of the car. No matter what the officer says.


      Maryland v Wilson (1997)
      Chief Justice Rehnquist delivered the opinion of the Court.

      In this case we consider whether the rule of Pennsylvania v.Mimms (1977) (per curiam), that a police officer may as a matter of course order the driver of a lawfully stopped car to exit his vehicle, extends to passengers as well. We hold that it does. . . .

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    • icon
      limbodog (profile), 20 Nov 2014 @ 7:43am

      Re: Know your rights - never talk to police

      I don't think the police were letting those two leave until they'd had a chance to search them for something to rob. If they tried to leave, or didn't eventually allow the search, they'd taze them for resisting arrest or something. Rights are lovely, but meaningless if they aren't upheld by those in charge of upholding them.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 20 Nov 2014 @ 7:45am

      Re: Know your rights - never talk to police

      If you are being detained they need probable cause.

      I thought —everyone— was familiar with Terry v Ohio (1968). You've heard of “reasonable suspicion” before.

      Do I need to google up Terry for you?

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 20 Nov 2014 @ 8:28am

        Re: Re: Know your rights - never talk to police

        You've heard of “reasonable suspicion” before.

        Here's a hot-off-the-presses case... United States v. Mundy (6th Cir. November 12, 2014) (not for publication).
        Whether reasonable suspicion of criminal activity has been adequately established to justify a traffic stop is a mixed question of law and fact that we review de novo.“The reasonableness of a traffic stop is measured by the same standards set forth for investigatory stops in Terry v. Ohio (1968), and its progeny.” Reasonable suspicion requires “more than a mere hunch, but is satisfied by a likelihood of criminal activity less than probable cause, and falls considerably short of satisfying a preponderance of the evidence standard.”
        (Citations omitted.)

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        • icon
          Uriel-238 (profile), 20 Nov 2014 @ 2:14pm

          Terry stops

          "likelihood of criminal activity" sounds like Terry stops should see more than a 50% conviction rate of the specific crime for which the car was stopped (e.g. carrying a enough drugs to be considered for sales). If they're not getting that many convictions, then rights are being violated.

          Of course this presumes that the court is actually fair in its trial and not of the sort where Three cops say you're guilty therefore you're guilty.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 20 Nov 2014 @ 2:41pm

          Re: Re: Re: Know your rights - never talk to police

          More than a hunch, but less than probable cause. Thank god for the judicial system, always there to clarify things with simple, quantifiable metrics.

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          • icon
            Uriel-238 (profile), 20 Nov 2014 @ 3:15pm

            What is "unreasonable" suspicion?

            Probable Cause sounds like a better-than-50% chance that a suspect is guilty of a specific, articulable crime. (Everyone is guilty of something because our law is stupidly complex.)

            But what the heck is reasonable suspicion?

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 21 Nov 2014 @ 5:29am

              Re: What is "unreasonable" suspicion?

              Probable Cause sounds like...

              “Probable cause” is a constitutional phrase. That is, it's a phrase found within the text of the Fourth Amendment.
              ... no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
              Thus, it's very important to understand that what the phrase sounds like to you is not necessarily what the phrase sounds like to a judge.

              See, generally, Illinois v Gates (1983)
              [A]n effort to fix some general, numerically precise degree of certainty corresponding to "probable cause" may not be helpful...

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              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 21 Nov 2014 @ 6:12am

                Re: Re: What is "unreasonable" suspicion?

                See, generally, Illinois v Gates (1983)

                Also Maryland v Pringle (2003):
                The probable-cause standard is incapable of precise definition or quantification into percentages because it deals with probabilities and depends on the totality of the circumstances.
                (Citing Gates as authority, along with Brinegar v United States (1949).)

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 21 Nov 2014 @ 7:07am

              Re: What is "unreasonable" suspicion?

              ... what the heck is reasonable suspicion?

              Ornelas v United States (1996):
              Articulating precisely what "reasonable suspicion" and "probable cause" mean is not possible.

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              • icon
                Uriel-238 (profile), 21 Nov 2014 @ 12:48pm

                And we're okay with this?

                See, generally, Illinois v Gates (1983)

                [A]n effort to fix some general, numerically precise degree of certainty corresponding to "probable cause" may not be helpful...


                --~-~--

                Also Maryland v Pringle (2003):

                The probable-cause standard is incapable of precise definition or quantification into percentages because it deals with probabilities and depends on the totality of the circumstances.

                --~-~--

                (Citing Gates as authority, along with Brinegar v United States (1949).)


                Ornelas v United States (1996):

                Articulating precisely what "reasonable suspicion" and "probable cause" mean is not possible.


                And considering we have stacks of examples of law enforcement officers being untrustworthy of the benefit of the doubt, we're supposed to find this situation just and acceptable?

                It's not only not okay, but it's been not-okay for a very long time.

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      • identicon
        alternatives(), 20 Nov 2014 @ 11:13am

        Re: Re: Know your rights - never talk to police

        Not everyone reading this site knows about a Terry stop.

        Your 1st response was far better - citing case law showing the commenter was wrong.

        Rather than snark'n about Terry - show 'em.

        And in the interest of the case of Showing v. Telling or Showing v. Snark:

        Via http://logosradionetwork.com/tao/ I give the readers Traffic Stop script

        One might want to download Monday night - Eddie's night from Logos for further framing.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Nov 2014 @ 6:58am

    A precedent, that individual "law" departments are'nt restricted by a budget and hence the things they buy, probably not the only possible revenue, as well as seizures of a honeypot region, to perhaps have the means to buy new "lawfull" toys such as drones, imei catchers, government endorsed invade my rights spy program etc etc etc

    Offcourse, thats assuming these "lawfull" stops are'nt a means by "upstanding" costume wearers to bolster their paychecks

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Nov 2014 @ 7:41am

    I like how these drug dogs alert on nothing at all. It's also nice having your car's dashboard ripped apart on the side of the highway. I'm pulled dashboards apart and know how hard it is not to break the plastic clips holding it together.

    I'm scared to travel after hearing all these stories about highway thugs robbing innocent people!

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  • identicon
    Reality bites, 20 Nov 2014 @ 7:43am

    Those that wage war on fellow citizens need to pay the price.

    Last time I checked treason carried the death penalty.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Nov 2014 @ 8:24am

    Why are dogs issuing search warrants? What's this say about the intelligence of judges. Does it suggest that dogs are just as capable of doing a judge's job?

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  • identicon
    Just Another Anonymous Troll, 20 Nov 2014 @ 8:52am

    Incompetent cops

    Shame on these cops.
    They should have just swiped the car when they couldn't find any cash.

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    • identicon
      RD, 20 Nov 2014 @ 9:48am

      Re: Incompetent cops

      "They should have just swiped the car when they couldn't find any cash."

      I have always had a question about this. I just bought a new car. I dont *own* that car, the bank does. If the cops steal it, they arent actually taking *my* property. Sure, I have a financial obligation there, but it is the BANKS property. If I dont pay, the BANK is the one who comes calling to get it. Can they report it stolen then? After all, I no longer have possession of the bank's property, and it was taken against my will.

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      • icon
        John Fenderson (profile), 20 Nov 2014 @ 9:52am

        Re: Re: Incompetent cops

        "If I dont pay, the BANK is the one who comes calling to get it."

        Well, technically, it's the insurance company who comes calling. This is one of the reasons why you are required to carry comprehensive insurance in order to get financing. But your point stands.

        "Can they report it stolen then? After all, I no longer have possession of the bank's property, and it was taken against my will."

        I'm guessing that generally, the answer is "no" because it was only stolen from the point of view of common sense, not from the point of view of the law.

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        • icon
          ltlw0lf (profile), 20 Nov 2014 @ 4:08pm

          Re: Re: Re: Incompetent cops

          Well, technically, it's the insurance company who comes calling. This is one of the reasons why you are required to carry comprehensive insurance in order to get financing. But your point stands.

          IANAL, but I suspect reporting the vehicle stolen to the insurance company when it is seized by the police (regardless to whether it was a legal seizure or not,) would probably qualify as insurance fraud. Telling the insurance company that it was illegally seized probably won't get you much of anywhere, though they might be able to provide you with a reference to a good lawyer.

          I'm guessing that generally, the answer is "no" because it was only stolen from the point of view of common sense, not from the point of view of the law.

          It might have also been stolen from the point of view of the law too. Certainly in this case, where the stop was questionable (would love to see how they articulated the reasonable suspicion for the stop, especially when the officer admitted they didn't think drugs were present.) Last time I checked, carrying money wasn't grounds for reasonable suspicion for a stop.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Nov 2014 @ 8:52am

    To think highwaymen are making a comeback, and its legal this time too!

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Nov 2014 @ 9:36am

    Of relevant note: Tennessee has no state income tax.

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  • identicon
    shred, 20 Nov 2014 @ 9:36am

    shredding

    Get some shredded money. Get some shredded "grass". Mix them. Spread it everywhere and watch the dogs go crazy.

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  • identicon
    John O, 20 Nov 2014 @ 9:52am

    The simple solution here is to mandate that all drug dogs that mistakenly alert need to be destroyed immediately. When the cop has to, by law, shoot the dog dead at the side of the road we'll see much less nonsense.

    Failure to immediately destroy a defective dog should carry a minimum penalty of 20 years. I bet you'd have the local news out there filming the dumb goon crying as he's forced to execute his pet... and if he refused, it'd be difficult to wiggle out of prosecuting him, what with it being shown on the 6'o'clock news.

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    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 20 Nov 2014 @ 1:58pm

      Re:

      That's not fair, I'm betting most of the time the dog is just doing what it's told/indicated to do, namely 'Perk up and indicate a positive when the officer gives the following signal', it wouldn't be fair to punish the dog for simply following it's training.

      Nah, a suitable punishment for a false positive would be letting the falsly accused return the favor, and with the exception of the firearms, seize anything and everything in the cop's pockets or car that strikes their fancy as restitution, even to the point where they can take the car apart to get an item.

      Need a new laptop? Well hey, that might have been used in an armed robbery, better grab it. New radio, that might have been involved too, better safe than sorry. That cash and credit cards in the cop's wallet, that's clearly drug money, better seize that. And the car battery, that facilitated some crime I'm sure, better remove that while you're at it.

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    • icon
      Uriel-238 (profile), 20 Nov 2014 @ 2:50pm

      Not that this would be carried out...

      But it might be enough to force dogs that false positive to be retired. Since they're pre-trained, drug dogs are easy adoptees.

      Considering that there's always a dearth in trained contraband dogs, it would rapidly exhaust a county's supply of legitimate dogs, if they were simply used to falsely justify searches.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 20 Nov 2014 @ 5:20pm

      Re:

      No, AFAIK, the dogs are alerting at the order of the handler. They are trained that way, and can "alert" on a signal from the handler at any time. The fallacy that the dogs only alert on the presence of drugs is just that, a fallacy. The police are depending on that to "justify" the searches and possible seizures. This is based on the idea that the victim will know how an alerting dog acts to convince him to "cooperate". Such police officers and trainers should be the ones in jail.

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  • identicon
    John O, 20 Nov 2014 @ 9:52am

    The simple solution here is to mandate that all drug dogs that mistakenly alert need to be destroyed immediately. When the cop has to, by law, shoot the dog dead at the side of the road we'll see much less nonsense.

    Failure to immediately destroy a defective dog should carry a minimum penalty of 20 years. I bet you'd have the local news out there filming the dumb goon crying as he's forced to execute his pet... and if he refused, it'd be difficult to wiggle out of prosecuting him, what with it being shown on the 6'o'clock news.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Nov 2014 @ 11:09am

    Wow... And I was afraid to drive in Mexico

    I always was leery of driving in Mexico in case some banditos stopped me to rob me. But this is far worse. It is state sanctioned thievery. I bet it is safer to drive in Mexico since thousands do it every year without problems. When the police and state are robbing you who do you call for help? 911? They will just send in the SWAT team to make sure you hand over any valuables.

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    • icon
      John Fenderson (profile), 20 Nov 2014 @ 11:18am

      Re: Wow... And I was afraid to drive in Mexico

      "When the police and state are robbing you who do you call for help? 911?"

      I don't even call them when I'm being robbed by non-uniformed criminals. I've been burglarized and mugged, and never called the cops.

      The one time I did actually call the police was when a drunk driver ran into a telephone pole outside my house (snapping it in two places!). And, honestly, that experience was bad enough that I wished that I hadn't.

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      • identicon
        Jack, 20 Nov 2014 @ 3:17pm

        Re: Re: Wow... And I was afraid to drive in Mexico

        @John Fenderson

        It's pretty sad that when you are the victim of a crime, calling the police is a cause for more concern than the actual crime... I as well had my apartment broken into (on a Saturday afternoon) and I didn't have police come investigate (I didn't even call them). The only time they were involved" at all was when the insurance company wanted a police report - I went to the station on Monday, gave them a list of stolen items, and refused to let them come inside my apartment when they wanted to investigate.

        No thanks, I'm not having police go on a fishing expedition in my apartment, risking having my dog shot (the burglars were compassionate enough not to harm my dog and make sure she didn't get out), or risking being further harmed by the police.

        I had a neighbor back in NJ when I was in college call the police in the middle of the night when someone was breaking into his apartment. They ran when they heard sirens before they got in, but my friend was arrested after the blunt roach, grinder, and shake on his coffee table lead to a search finding his bong and less than $50 worth of weed.

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  • identicon
    Rekrul, 20 Nov 2014 @ 11:54am

    I would love to see a news crew get a brand new car, power-wash the hell out of it, inside and out to guarantee that there isn't any drug residue anywhere on it, then have their own drug dog go over it just to make sure. Then drive it through TN until they're stopped and a drug dog inevitably "alerts" on the car.

    I'll bet they'd have a hard time trying to justify that to a court.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Nov 2014 @ 1:46pm

    I know dozens of companies that refused to base themselves in Tennessee because of the risk their employees would have money stolen by the local policemafia (polfia? or maybe mafolice?).

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Nov 2014 @ 10:30am

    A Christians view of what Gods laws are:

    Honor thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long. Thou shalt not kill.
    Thou shalt not commit adultery.
    Thou shalt not steal.
    Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.
    Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's house.

    Enforcing those laws would be bad?

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    • icon
      Uriel-238 (profile), 21 Nov 2014 @ 12:57pm

      Christianity is not a good source of authority.

      Leviticus advocates the death penalty to those who break the Decalogue, including the worship of other gods, failing to adequately recognize the sabbath. Idolatry and so on.

      Given US history has had periods in which God's laws have been used to justify slavery, religious privilege and denial of rights to minorities and fringe groups -- legal issues we are continuing to fight to this day -- I'd argue that God's laws have done the United States by far more harm than good.

      Especially since the God's laws we like are easily derived from the more universal law of reciprocity.

      Christians have not conducted themselves well or wisely in US History. Many Christians continue to not conduct themselves well or wisely to this very day.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Nov 2014 @ 10:18am

    Oh, and one more thing...

    Via SCOTUSblog, we learn that the Supreme Court has scheduled oral argument in Rodriguez v United States for Wednesday, January 21, 2015.

    The question presented to the Supreme Court reads:
    This Court has held that, during an otherwise lawful traffic stop, asking a driver to exit a vehicle, conducting a drug sniff with a trained canine, or asking a few off-topic questions are "de minimis" intrusions on personal liberty that do not require reasonable suspicion of criminal activity in order to comport with the Fourth Amendment. This case poses the question of whether the same rule applies after the conclusion of the traffic stop, so that an officer may extend the already-completed stop for a canine sniff without reasonable suspicion or other lawful justification.

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  • icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 22 Nov 2014 @ 3:48pm

    That's positively bullocks.

    "...conducting a drug sniff with a trained canine, or asking a few off-topic questions are 'de minimis' intrusions on personal liberty..."

    Was this ruling made with or without awareness of how drug sniffs are used commonly today, which is to say a hack to bypass constitutional protections against search, by using a false signal to justify a search?

    As a layman, I don't trust dog handlers or their dogs. Even if the signals are genuine, a test yields a false positive as frequently as a coin flip should not be used justify an invasion of personal rights.

    Furthermore, given that story inconsistency can be used to justify an arrest, "off topic questions" are, themselves invasive. A police officer should not be stopping someone unless they have advance idea of crimes committed, and a stop for traffic infractions should not automatically lead to searches for unrelated felonies.

    C'mon people, we have more people in prison per capita than any country ever. Our "tough on crime" stance already is sending way too many people into the Worst Institution On Earth.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 22 Nov 2014 @ 5:55pm

      Awareness

      "...conducting a drug sniff with a trained canine ...[is] 'de minimis' intrusion[] on personal liberty..."
      Was this ruling made with or without awareness ...?
      I linked to Illinois v Caballes (2005) in my comment above, responding to one of your earlier questions.

      Did you read Justice Stevens' opinion for the court? Did you read the dissents from Justices Souter and Ginsburg? You tell me.

      At any rate, none of the justices, not Stevens, nor O'Connor, nor Scalia, Kennedy, Thomas, Breyer —nor even the dissenters— none of the justices ever stood alongside the interstate, semis whistling by, with a doberman pawing through their vehicle.

      So, maybe they were wrong, maybe Caballes was wrong the day it was decided... not maybe, it was wrong the day it was decided, it was... no honest person could call that "de minimus", not if they lived through it themselves... but were the justices evil? Did they have awareness? Did they know it was wrong? You tell me.

      Were they evil?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Uriel-238 (profile), 22 Nov 2014 @ 7:32pm

        The evil of jurists

        I don't like calling anyone evil.

        Out of touch, maybe. Presumptive that law officers mean well and are capable of not taking advantage of their authority. They may even be biased to adjudicate favorably to the DoJ, in this case, at the expense of human rights, which in this case, they presume to encroach on only minimally.

        I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations. --James Madison

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      tqk (profile), 22 Nov 2014 @ 7:52pm

      Re: That's positively bullocks.

      "...conducting a drug sniff with a trained canine, or asking a few off-topic questions are 'de minimis' intrusions on personal liberty..."

      C'mon people, we have more people in prison per capita than any country ever.

      You forget, there's money to be made. Prisons are now being run by honest profit seeking capitalists. Canada's even doing it.

      "Follow the money trail" is more pertinant today than it ever was. Hollywood used to do movies that attempted to expose this sort of thing ("Brubaker"), but it's mainstream now, so don't expect any allies to step forward. We're laying low waiting for the inevitable eruption. Even small kids can wield baseball bats, you know?

      I would love to get into this fight. It's well worth fighting for. Unfortunately, I'm likely not going to live long enough to see it (my hair and beard are already fully gray).

      Still, (Monty Python) "I'm not dead yet!"

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 22 Nov 2014 @ 8:07pm

    Bastille day is still a thing in Paris.

    Maybe it will be someday in the US.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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