Texas Cops Engage In Millions Of Roadside Searches, Find Nothing Illegal 80 Percent Of The Time

from the you-can-only-be-this-inefficient-by-spending-other-people's-money dept

Pretextual stops are bread-and-butter for cops. There's plenty of real crime out there waiting to be solved, but that requires time and attention that law enforcement apparently just doesn't have. So, a lot of what passes for "law enforcement" is just officers rolling the dice on vehicle searches, hoping to find something illegal (or at least some cash) to justify the roadside harassment.

Here are the depressing facts about the crime solving abilities of law enforcement:

In 2018, the most recent year for which data is available, just 45.5% of all violent crime cases reported to police in America were "cleared," typically meaning a suspect was arrested, according to the FBI's Uniform Crime Reporting Program.

When it came to property crimes, the clearance rate was much lower, at just 17.6%.

While these crimes go (mostly) unsolved, police officers are operating with nearly the same success rates on the nation's streets and highways. There are plenty of traffic stops. But there's actually very little "crime solving" happening. The Houston Chronicle has looked into local law enforcement activity and found almost nothing that justifies pretextual stops or the extended amount of time that elapses between when the lights go on and citizens are free to go.

Law enforcement has a fondness for junk science. Training seminars and Dunning-Kreuger have convinced cops they can do something almost no person can: determine guilt just by talking to people. So far, nothing has talked officers out of this self-delusion. Roadside stops are numerous. Evidence of criminal activity is almost nonexistent.

Statistically, police are terrible at determining which motorists are worthy of being detained and searched. Most turn up nothing. Often relying on signs of a driver’s deception that research has long debunked, officers distinguish liars from truth-tellers at a rate barely above chance, studies show.

Since so few of these pretextual stops result in criminal charges, these Constitutional violations are rarely challenged. The cost of pursuing a lawsuit is prohibitive, as is the qualified immunity doctrine which relies on precedent very few courts are in any hurry to set. As long as a cop violates rights in a way courts haven't already addressed, the citizen gets nothing from the lawsuit but a hole in their wallet and a handful of violated rights.

This lack of deterrent has made harassing motorists a pretty safe bet for officers who think pretty much anything a motorist does in the presence of law enforcement is suspicious. But citizens are getting zero bang for their taxpaying buck when officers focus on drivers rather than actual criminal activity.

Texas police performed just under a million searches during traffic stops last year, according to figures reported to the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement. About one in five resulted in contraband being found. The agency’s numbers aren’t perfect; it combines several types of searches, and some police departments appear to have entered data incorrectly; TCOLE has re-written its form for more precise reporting in the future.

In other words, cops' instincts are wrong at least 80% of the time. And even when they do get a "hit" (i.e., discovering contraband), there's still a chance whatever's been found won't be enough to justify filing criminal charges.

Citizens have a problem with this. Not that they can do much about it. Lawsuits are often futile and law enforcement officials support this harassment with unchallenged and unverified claims about "crime prevention," which seems to talk most local legislators out of engaging in much oversight.

Of course, the entity that most firmly believes millions of stops are acceptable isn't even a law enforcement agency. It's the local police union, represented by VP Douglas Griffith. Griffith cites that one time officers stopped Timothy McVeigh as justification for years of harassment that has yet to produce another terrorist arrest from a traffic stop. Going further, Griffith says this is the public's cross to bear if it would like to continue living in a society.

Tolerating searches that turn up nothing is a reasonable public price for the law enforcement benefit, Griffith said: “To me, if I know I didn’t do anything wrong, it’s nothing more than a minor annoyance.”

That's not how rights work, you fuckmook. Whether or not someone did something wrong is beside the point. The cops can't engage in suspicionless searches. The public's rights aren't secondary to law enforcement wants or needs. And citizens should be doubly upset if they have done nothing wrong.

Fortunately, not everyone is so stupid and dismissive of other people's rights. Here's one law enforcement official who actually recognizes the permanent damage excessive stops and searches can do to community relations.

“I think the payoff is not worth it,” said Major Mike Lee, who oversees the Harris County Sheriff’s Office’s Patrol Bureau. Say “we stop a thousand cars a day. And we make a great arrest that day and we put it all over social media. But in the meantime, you pissed off 999 citizens who may have all been pro-law enforcement before you stop them, and now have such a bad taste in their mouth after that stop."

In most cases, the only thing "justifying" a stop is a melange of faulty assumptions and contradictory logic. With enough creativity, any stop will look clean on the paperwork.

Officers have cited a driver’s pulsing veins, “limbic movements” (twitching), shifty eyes and windows that don’t roll down (suggesting drugs hidden in the door panels) as signs of potential criminal activity. Based on their “training and experience,” they’ve flagged as suspicious cars smelling too much like air freshener, vehicles that are too clean or too messy, erratic driving and driving that appears too cautious.

The science is against cops and their supposedly preternatural ability to suss out liars and cons.

“There are no nonverbal and verbal cues uniquely related to deceit,” a 2011 review of deception research concluded.

Their own failure rate should have clued them in years ago.

A 2005 study of Texas police found officers performed barely above random chance in being able to discern a person telling the truth from a liar.

And yet they persist. It takes several court decisions to deter this activity. And the lack of deterrence shows there haven't been enough court decisions yet. It's convenient for cops to treat everyone as a criminal suspect, even when all they've done is crossed a fog line. Precedent gives them the leeway to turn minor violations into major headaches for motorists. But 80% of the time, all the public gets from this use of their tax dollars is harassed motorists.

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Filed Under: 4th amendment, police, pretextual stops, roadside searches, texas


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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Nov 2020 @ 3:55pm

    I don't even think these numbers include the stops that Texas "law enforcement" do in other states.

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

  • icon
    TheResidentSkeptic (profile), 5 Nov 2020 @ 4:30pm

    Then again...

    the 80% probably supplied plenty of that sweet "asset forfeiture cash" so all those stops were good.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 7 Nov 2020 @ 11:37pm

      Re: Then again...

      That is one reason to dial up the security on your phone to insane cop proof mode so that if your phone is seized, they will not be able to get at the contents

      My phone is encrypted and it I have a mode set where the phone wipes itself and does a factory reset and then requires your Google password to finish setting up the phone, making my phone's contents inaccessible.

      I do that whenever I go to Canada's Wonderland because there is no way to get to Toronto from the West Coast without going through Michigan. This way if my phone is seized in Michigan, via asset forfeiture, they will not be able to access my phone's contents, and they will have to throw it in the trash, as they will never get anything useful out of it.

      They could not come to me later on and demand my password. There is no law in any of Mexico's 31 states, Canada's 14 provinces, America's 50 states, or at the federal level in those countries that makes it a crime to have my phone at insane cop proof security levels where law enforcement cannot access seized phones.

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

      • icon
        Uriel-238 (profile), 8 Nov 2020 @ 1:36pm

        cop-proof phones

        Phone access should be thoroughly resistant against all but expensive forms of penetration. By expensive, I mean it's inconvenient, slow and law enforcement can't use the method to dragnet all phones confiscated at a protest or at a highway sobriety checkpoint. It should also require a warrant from a judge that doesn't trust law enforcement to be reasonable in its searches.

        The current tunneling-electron-microscope hack of a TPM is that kind of expensive. For now, though current versions of iOS and Android are still (probably) vulnerable to unpatched (day-zero) exploits, and cracking software used by law enforcement depends on those that are unreported. So black hats selling exploits to crack providers rather than reporting them.

        (Black hattery?)

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

      • icon
        nasch (profile), 9 Nov 2020 @ 6:42pm

        Re: Re: Then again...

        there is no way to get to Toronto from the West Coast without going through Michigan.

        I've seen that claim before (maybe from you, I don't know) and it doesn't make any sense. I think you mean to say the most direct route goes through Michigan. If you really want to avoid Michigan, you can go around Lake Erie to the south and enter Ontario from New York. And there are at least three other longer routes that also don't go through Michigan.

        What's also strange is I don't know why you would single out Michigan in a story about Texas, so maybe you're coming from Canada's west coast to Toronto, and don't want to enter the US at all. In which case, you can just... not go into Michigan. There are roads going from other parts of Canada into Toronto (assuming Google Maps has correct data about Canada, which I'm fairly confident it does).

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

  • icon
    ECA (profile), 5 Nov 2020 @ 5:26pm

    who gdts paid more.

    A police person, or a detective?
    HOw often do you need to Figure things out?

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

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 5 Nov 2020 @ 5:32pm

    ... Said the man who will never be searched

    Tolerating searches that turn up nothing is a reasonable public price for the law enforcement benefit, Griffith said: “To me, if I know I didn’t do anything wrong, it’s nothing more than a minor annoyance.”

    Great, then you should have no problem being stopped any time someone sees you on the road and feels like tossing your car for anything incriminating. Hell, while we're at it why not include your house as well, surely you wouldn't object to that being searched on a regular basis unless you have something to hide, right?

    Goons like him a a big reason people are pissed off at and distrustful of police, because the only thing he and those like him care about are the police, and if someone from the public gets the short end of the stick thanks to a cop then that's just too damn bad, as that's the price the police are glad to have everyone but them pay.

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

    • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
      identicon
      Reese Seeved O'Verandout, 5 Nov 2020 @ 7:43pm

      Re: ... Said the drug addict who WILL be searched

      Goons like him a a big reason people are pissed off at and distrustful of police, because the only thing he and those like him care about are the police

      No, police are necessary.

      Legislatures make laws with which most people agree. I'm sure you have your own wish list, mainly of disadvantaging "conservatives" whom you wrongly claim are racist and so on.

      In general, those who fear police have good reason to because are in fact violating the law and engaging in variously destructive acts which no sane society can just let go without sanction.

      Boils down you're just trying to claim that YOU should be above all generally accepted norms. -- Well, since living in civilization creates frictions and annoyances for you and you cannot see the overwhelming advantages to clean water and easy access to more food than is good for anyone, I think you should move to the Australian Outback, say, and live as you want, FREE.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 6 Nov 2020 @ 4:49am

        Re: Re: ... Said the drug addict who WILL be searched

        You have a few opinions that are severely lacking in anything from the real world.

        Care to address the white collar criminal activity that goes unchecked? Do they fear for their lives 24/7? Does NYPD stop n frisk Wallstreet 3pc suits looking for the nose candy?

        Your condescending attitude typical and one of the problems facing society today.

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

      • identicon
        Rocky, 6 Nov 2020 @ 5:56am

        Re: Re: ... Said the drug addict who WILL be searched

        No, police are necessary.

        Certainly, but not goons. You know, the whole "To serve and protect", not "Abuse and deflect".

        Boils down you're just trying to claim that YOU should be above all generally accepted norms

        I think most would argue that the police should be held to the same accepted norms everyone else areheld to.

        Anyway, as usual you show your disdain for the Constitution.

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

      • icon
        Stephen T. Stone (profile), 6 Nov 2020 @ 6:55am

        those who fear police have good reason to

        Black Americans, for example — they have more of a distrust/fear of police than any other racial demographic because policing in the United States has had an anti-Black bias since its inception. If you doubt that assertion, go talk to every Black person freed by the Innocence Project and the families of every Black person killed by the cops without having committed any crime.

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

  • icon
    Koby (profile), 5 Nov 2020 @ 5:36pm

    Maybe

    Citizens have a problem with this. Not that they can do much about it. Lawsuits are often futile and law enforcement officials support this harassment with unchallenged and unverified claims about "crime prevention," which seems to talk most local legislators out of engaging in much oversight.

    I'm kind of surprised that more local mayors haven't run on an anti-traffic stop platform. Anti-speeding cameras seemed to have been popular a few years back in my area, then they went away and so problem solved. Traffic stops are just designed to make profits for the local police department, not improve safety, and everyone knows it's just a fraud. I have to believe that a lot of challengers could boost themselves ahead of a long-time incumbent on just this one issue alone.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 5 Nov 2020 @ 7:24pm

      Re: Maybe

      The issue is that the cops and their friends won't like it, and they are loud. Also, that half-ish bit of the population that digs authoritarianism (although a huge chunk of them deny it and say they are all about freedom) scream "anti-cop! anti-american!" any time someone tries to rein in the abusive overreach of law enforcement, or merely suggests it. Most politicians don't like running on platforms like that, and the ones that do are examples to everyone else why not to do it. If for no other reason, avoiding being targeted by cops for the rest of your life is a good reason to avoid slapping that plank into your platform.

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

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 5 Nov 2020 @ 7:34pm

      Re: Maybe

      Not as much as you might think, as you can be damn sure that any politician or political hopefully who dared propose something that might challenge police profits, take away some of their power or even think of holding them accountable for their actions will be vilified by the police union and the political opponents as 'soft on crime' and 'anti-police', and there are still far too many people who buy the idea that the police are good by default and anyone who opposes them in any way is evil and if not a criminal themselves then a friend to criminals.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 5 Nov 2020 @ 7:38pm

      Re: Maybe

      Koby, how is it that you can seem to be a decently reasonable person on topics such as this, but at the same time be so completely, and more importantly, factually wrong on topics such as section 230 and the 1st amendment?

      How does your head not react as if you've been watching blip-verts?

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

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Reese Seeved O'Verandout, 5 Nov 2020 @ 7:34pm

    LAW for TD means Looking At Wrong: 20% is WAY above random!

    You cannot get that success rate with random stops. I'd be surprised at over 1% if truly random. Whatever "hunches" or "intuition" or subtle signs cops use is some many multiple times better than random.

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

    • identicon
      Rocky, 6 Nov 2020 @ 3:04am

      Re: LAW for TD means Looking At Wrong: 20% is WAY above random!

      Yeah, well..

      Expecting cops to respect the citizens constitutional rights is tad burdensome it seems. Lets just abolish the constitution, then the cops can do whatever they want without breaking the law.

      They can also then just harass and arrest people they think are criminals and undesirables without those pesky details of due process. Heck, why not just shoot "criminals" on the spot. There you have some of the authoritarianism you like, for the good of the people!

      /s

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

    • icon
      bhull242 (profile), 11 Nov 2020 @ 12:30pm

      Re: LAW for TD means Looking At Wrong: 20% is WAY above random!

      I would expect it to be at least as good as a coin toss.

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

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Reese Seeved O'Verandout, 5 Nov 2020 @ 7:34pm

    You're not raising anything that normal people worry about,

    so just look as though you oppose catching criminals.

    As for the assertion are turning 999 out of 1000 persons against cops: NO, that depends almost entirely on A) a bit of politeness from cops when turn out wrong, and B) that most people when "caught" (even at traffic rules) see some slight good to obeying norms.

    Only insane "defund the police" anarchists like Techdirt aren't 99.9% of time GLAD that they can call cops and expect help.

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

    • icon
      bhull242 (profile), 11 Nov 2020 @ 12:22pm

      Re: You're not raising anything that normal people worry about,

      Tell that to the people calling police for help only to be assaulted by police when they arrive.

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

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Reese Seeved O'Verandout, 5 Nov 2020 @ 7:35pm

    YES OR NO: Even if traffic stops are so bad as you claim,

    do you advocate NONE?

    Do you then expect smooth flow of society besides traffic without constantly reminded? If so, it's just "libertarian" fantasy, has never and will never work.

    IF you had any good civic purposes to promote, Techdirt, you'd push positive ideas for reforms, not just rail at cops for stopping drug dealers and other criminals.

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

    • icon
      bhull242 (profile), 11 Nov 2020 @ 12:29pm

      Re: YES OR NO: Even if traffic stops are so bad as you claim,

      Traffic stops with reasonable suspicion are fine so long as they don’t go beyond the reasonable suspicion and turn into harassment or a fishing expedition and act reasonably. Traffic stops without reasonable suspicion and ones that extend beyond where that reasonable suspicion was extinguished are bad. Traffic stops that go far beyond what is reasonable are bad. The problem is that you don’t seem to realize the difference.

      Also, maybe you missed all the times Techdirt railed at cops for stopping people who aren’t drug dealers or criminals. Or the fact that cops often act disproportionately to the alleged crime committed and apparent danger presented. Or the times Techdirt have praised certain reform efforts or suggested some ideas for reform.

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

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Reese Seeved O'Verandout, 5 Nov 2020 @ 7:35pm

    Techdirt and other "libertarians" expect everyone else to obey

    laws and provide a safe orderly society in which they're privileged rebels who can flout all yet still be taken care of. -- Even though civilization is barely hanging together now.

    There's nothing wrong with "authoritarianism" when it in fact promotes the common good. You drug addicts / leftists / anarchists are not for the common good, shown by that never mention it.

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

    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 6 Nov 2020 @ 7:00am

      There's nothing wrong with "authoritarianism" when it in fact promotes the common good.

      And there you have it — Brainy finally admits he’s a fascist.

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

      • icon
        Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 9 Nov 2020 @ 1:00am

        Re:

        A fascist and a closet communist to boot going by every argument he keeps making about information control and property rigthts. It's ironic, really. In Baghdad Bob's fevered imagination "the people" should stand supreme, except when the people do something he doesn't like at which point it's gulag time for the lot of them.

        I'm beginning to think Baghdad Bob's real grievance is that instead of being Kim Jong-Un he's a cruddy basement dweller who salves his ego by pretending he's a stalwart keyboard warrior taking on the full might of the New World Order as manifested by Mike Masnick.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 6 Nov 2020 @ 8:51am

      Re: Techdirt and other "libertarians" expect everyone else to ob

      There's nothing wrong with "authoritarianism" when it in fact promotes the common good.

      The only good that authoritarianism has ever promoted is that of the elites.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 6 Nov 2020 @ 9:28am

      Re: Techdirt and other "libertarians" expect everyone else to ob

      You drug addicts / leftists / anarchists are not for the common good, shown by that never mention it.

      If by "common good" you mean "whatever you tell me," then yeah, you can shove your common good right up your bootlicking ass.

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

    • icon
      Uriel-238 (profile), 6 Nov 2020 @ 1:09pm

      "...when it in fact promotes the common good."

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

    • icon
      ECA (profile), 6 Nov 2020 @ 4:04pm

      Re: Techdirt and other "libertarians" expect everyone else to ob

      Privileged?
      rebels?
      Drug addicts?
      Leftists?
      Anarchists?

      GO read your bible. You Socialist. Go back to Sunday school and LISTEN CLOSELY.
      Most governments Could be run very nicely. but its the corruption, tha Have and have nots, its Capitalism run amok. Its the Opportunists. Those that WANT more and share LESS.

      Its not hard to listen to others and get opinions, but are they TRUTH/Fact. As YOU tend to take a Dump You ponder the reasons for such a need, is is because you are full of it?

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

    • icon
      bhull242 (profile), 11 Nov 2020 @ 12:20pm

      Re: Techdirt and other "libertarians" expect everyone else to ob

      First, leftists, anarchists, and drug addicts are all completely unrelated, and not everyone here falls under any of those descriptors.

      Second, as I recall, leftists (and people on this site) have been promoting the common good when it comes to climate change, how to deal with the pandemic, business regulations, health insurance, voting rights, vaccinations, and welfare.

      Third, what you’re describing sounds more like the “sovereign citizen” movement and similar people to me than leftists, anarchists, drug addicts, or people on this site.

      Finally, we live in a democracy (or republic if you prefer) that is opposed to authoritarianism. It used to be that most people here were at least nominally against such a thing, but apparently that’s changed at least somewhat. Still, I stand against authoritarianism of any kind no matter the intention behind it.

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

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Reese Seeved O'Verandout, 5 Nov 2020 @ 7:36pm

    Why the sprawl? -- Space here on Techdirt is offered for FREE!

    Just a note for hypothetical new readers: over 90% of my comments here get "hidden" for no articulable reason even though mild and on-topic, so I sprawl them for protest. Techdirt could end that practice with one click (or by an Admin NOT clicking). It's infuriating, that's why done, to run off all dissent. -- They're puzzled why I persist for years now, just don't understand how FUN the site is when taken right!

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 5 Nov 2020 @ 9:55pm

      Re:

      Nobody believes you.

      DMCA voted.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 5 Nov 2020 @ 11:16pm

      Re: Why the sprawl? -- Space here on Techdirt is offered for FRE

      over 90% of my comments here get "hidden" for no articulable reason

      Maybe, and I may be reaching here, but just maybe, posting 5 comments within 2 minutes, none of which add anything meaningful to the commentary of the article, and could easily be considered spam and generally not worth reading, is the primary reason why your comments are voted to be hidden by the community.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Nov 2020 @ 2:19am

    its even worse

    TCOLE reports count seized cash as "contraband". Let that sink in for a moment. Rather than showing an astounding one stop in five finding something illegal, which would be pretty impressive, it's just showing how often asset forfeiture happened.

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

  • icon
    Bloof (profile), 6 Nov 2020 @ 3:29am

    It's like Ben Franklin said, "it is better 100 innocent Persons should suffer than that one guilty Person should escape." Oh wait.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Nov 2020 @ 4:56am

    Searching people you dislike for contraband is a hell of a law enforcement strategy.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Nov 2020 @ 3:08pm

    wow

    Guilty until... no wait. Just plain guilty. Like permanently.
    Goodbye Innocent until proven guilty.
    Democracy certainly is changing these days.

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

    • icon
      ECA (profile), 7 Nov 2020 @ 11:47am

      Re: wow

      Democracy?
      When 2 people chosen arent from anyone chosen By the 2/3 of the population?
      2 groups of rich persons, wanting to get more rich?
      People thinking that the only persons running for office are THOSE 2 on TV all the time? Abit of brain washing if you ask me.
      Even those elected are fighting the constitution.

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

      • icon
        Uriel-238 (profile), 7 Nov 2020 @ 12:14pm

        Two (plutocratic) party system

        Yeah, the US has long been a designated democracy. An alleged one.

        I keep thinking the sooner we acknowledge the United States is totally not a democracy and maybe we might want to give actual democracy a try someday, the sooner we'll take seriously revising the US electoral system so it can't be hacked by plutocrats and corrupt officials.

        But we keep calling it democracy and very little changes at the state and federal levels.

        It frustrates me.

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

  • icon
    Bill Silverstein (profile), 6 Nov 2020 @ 5:14pm

    How good are instincts?

    I am surprised that some defense attorney did not look into the percentage of arrests that resulted from the instincts as an issue on the validity of the cop's instincts.

    Do that both for the cop and the entire department.

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

    • icon
      Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 11 Nov 2020 @ 2:57am

      Re: How good are instincts?

      "I am surprised that some defense attorney did not look into the percentage of arrests that resulted from the instincts as an issue on the validity of the cop's instincts."

      What makes you think they haven't? I doubt there aren't thousands of US lawyers salivating at the idea of nailing a state for class-action size damages.

      It's just that according to the law an officer can roll up to any person who behaves perfectly ordinarily, demand to search their vehicle, use the refusal to volunteer the search as suspicious behavior, and then proceed to impound the vehicle, wallet, smartphone and suit of that person as "civil forfeiture" at which point the person has to perform the logical impossibility of proving he isn't a Bad Guy of some sort if he wants it all back.

      If a lawyer needs hard proof of malfeasance, like an officer holding a John Goodman "Cyclops" monologue in front of a turned-on bodycam, just to get anywhere with the above example, it's pretty much given any texan court will summarily toss any case where officers searched a lot of people and refrained from further abuse.

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


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