US Supreme Court says passenger can be frisked

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Being armed means being dangerous to cops:

http://www.boston.com/news/nation/washington/articles/2009/01/26/us_supreme_court_says_passenger_can_be_frisked/

US Supreme Court says passenger can be frisked

January 26, 2009

WASHINGTON --The Supreme Court ruled Monday that police officers have leeway to frisk a passenger in a car stopped for a traffic violation even if nothing indicates the passenger has committed a crime or is about to do so.

The court on Monday unanimously overruled an Arizona appeals court that threw out evidence found during such an encounter.

The case involved a 2002 pat-down search of an Eloy, Ariz., man by an Oro Valley police officer, who found a gun and marijuana.

The justices accepted Arizona's argument that traffic stops are inherently dangerous for police and that pat-downs are permissible when an officer has a reasonable suspicion that the passenger may be armed and dangerous.

The pat-down is allowed if the police "harbor reasonable suspicion that a person subjected to the frisk is armed, and therefore dangerous to the safety of the police and public," Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said.
 

drgrant

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That's just great, flush the 4th amendment into the crapper.... [thinking]

-Mike
 

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To add a little detail here, the probable cause was odd behavior from the passengers (they were turned around in the back seat looking at the cops intently... [rolleyes]) and secondly they were in full blue crips regalia head to toe in a gang dominated territory. Ladies and gentlemen, the supreme court just held that wearing certain clothes and rubbernecking was justification for bypassing the 4th amendment. More technically, so long as the officer had an articulable reason to suspect danger, they were free to pat down the perps. This is going to make "stop and frisks" (terry stops) even more common as the bar has been lowered significantly.
 
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To add a little detail here, the probable cause was odd behavior from the passengers (they were turned around in the back seat looking at the cops intently... [rolleyes]) and secondly they were in full blue crips regalia head to toe in a gang dominated territory. Ladies and gentlemen, the supreme court just held that wearing certain clothes and rubbernecking was justification for bypassing the 4th amendment. More technically, so long as the officer had an articulable reason to suspect danger, they were free to pat down the perps. This is going to make "stop and frisks" (terry stops) even more common as the bar has been lowered significantly.
Moral: To avoid being frisked, drive naked with your eyes closed.
 
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Just a couple of comments. The Supreme Court rulings on LEO stops of people for suspicion of crime or for simple traffic violations are very complicated. Lawyers familiar with that area of law have blogged that they themselves would not know when they could refuse to be searched, or to have their vehicles searched. We are not quite to the point where failing to allow a search is in itself probable cause that permits a search, but we are getting close. For what it's worth, these decisions are more the product of the law & order conservative justices than of the namby, pamby left wing. Scalia, in particular, seems to think that a high school dropout should be able to parse potentialities that would baffle a law school class. This case was unanimous, and I think that the underlying principle is that the LEO has a right to secure his own safety.

I am not a lawyer, but I will give the following advice: don't carry illegal drugs or guns in your car, and don't give the LEO any lip. If he oversteps his bounds, make your complaint after to the civilian/political oversight boards.
 

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I am not a lawyer, but I will give the following advice: don't carry illegal drugs or guns in your car, and don't give the LEO any lip. If he oversteps his bounds, make your complaint after to the civilian/political oversight boards.
Plus don't wear gang colors and you aren't likely to look so suspicious! [rolleyes]
 

terraformer

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I am not a lawyer, but I will give the following advice: don't carry illegal drugs or guns in your car, and don't give the LEO any lip. If he oversteps his bounds, make your complaint after to the civilian/political oversight boards.
This is where I jump out of my skin. A) CRBs are a joke. They have no teeth. B) The only cases that go to the SCOTUS are ones where something was found. How about all of the times the search was bad but nothing was found? There is no standing because there was no harm. Maybe the lawyers know if there is any civil route for redress but again, civil liability is about compensating for harm done. No harm, no foul seems to be how the judicial system is set up. The whole system is set up to slowly ratchet back the rights because there is nothing pushing the opposite direction. Think of the NFL replay rule. If you win, the call gets overturned. But if you lose, you are out a timeout. Imagine if the guberment had to pay a fine for bad searches. This type of mechanism would actually act as a counterweight.
 

terraformer

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Plus don't wear gang colors and you aren't likely to look so suspicious! [rolleyes]
So a black man with a LA dodgers hat is a crip and any latin yute is a blood by wearing a LA/Anaheim/CA/"Municipality du jour"* Angels hat then.

* Or whatever municipality has cash to burn...
 
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Maybe the lawyers know if there is any civil route for redress but again, civil liability is about compensating for harm done. No harm, no foul seems to be how the judicial system is set up.
If in fact a search was illegal there are civil avenues one could pursue if they chose.
 

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So a black man with a LA dodgers hat is a crip and any latin yute is a blood by wearing a LA/Anaheim/CA/"Municipality du jour"* Angels hat then.

* Or whatever municipality has cash to burn...
Hey, YOU had posted the following and I was just responding to that.

secondly they were in full blue crips regalia head to toe in a gang dominated territory.
I have no idea what gang paraphernalia looks like but certainly assumed from YOUR post that it wasn't as simple as a LA Dodgers hat!
 

terraformer

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Hey, YOU had posted the following and I was just responding to that.



I have no idea what gang paraphernalia looks like but certainly assumed from YOUR post that it wasn't as simple as a LA Dodgers hat!
Yes, he had on more than just a hat. But one thing that has been happening lately is as gang members are getting profiled based on dress, they are becoming less and less overt about their affiliations, basically as I understand it getting back to their roots when all they had to choose for a color was a simple bandana or sports team hat.

I was stretching this out to it's next logical stop. If gang affiliation is not clear, as one would expect gang members to want to blend in, then more and more a hunch is going to have to be less sure, or less informed.
 
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There is a clear reasoning behind this for officer safety, which is valid, and for reasonable suspicion, again at the discretion of the officer. The law isn't so much the issue, or the ruling by the court -which I think is unfortunately correct, its the unintended consequences of the law and the abuse that it will harbor in in regard to civil liberties and whittling down of amendments for future generations.
 

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There is a clear reasoning behind this for officer safety, which is valid, and for reasonable suspicion, again at the discretion of the officer. The law isn't so much the issue, or the ruling by the court -which I think is unfortunately correct
Yeah, there is no good answer here... If we are the victim we want the police to follow their gut and go after people who look suspicious.

If we are the unfortunate enough to be in the really wrong place at the wrong time not doing anything wrong, we want absolute literal interpretations of 4th amendment protections...

I've been a little of both - though thankfully even the ones who pushed it a little too far did their job and quickly realized and corrected their mistake...

All you can do is hire "the best" and make sure that your police departments are governed both internally and externally with as much ethical oversight as possible... There will always be bad apples - this is where we've failed in many cases - making it too hard to get rid of the bad apples...
 
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This is where I jump out of my skin. A) CRBs are a joke. They have no teeth.
Well, yeah. I was thinking more along the line of your elected representatives. In our smallish city, we have a Police Commission which has public meetings, and at which you could tell our story (briefly) and the Chief of Police would have to sit there and listen. I'm sure he would stand behind his guys in public, he would not like to be embarrassed.

I doubt there is any practical means to redress on for a single incident, but politicians are reactive to a steady drip, drip, drip of complaints from the voters.
 
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...the underlying principle is that the LEO has a right to secure his own safety....
Who can disagree with this? Why are we worried about 4th Amendment violations when officers have a right to secure their own safety? Let's drill a bit deeper. It is because the SOP for LEOs is to execute traffic stops for non-crimes, not even reasonable or probable cause for crimes. (And no, speeding when there is no endangering is not a real crime.)

I do not know the details of the traffic stop in question, but they are irrelevant to my point. So many traffic stops are of the "routine" variety that 4th Amendment questions do arise, and rightly so. We are constantly at risk of being stopped for non-crimes; non-reckless driving, non-endangering behavior, broken tail lights, etc. When this is the environment in which we live every day, we worry about 4th Amendment violations. It is as if the 4th Amendment only applies if we never leave our houses. And now someone will say, "Well, the roads are publicly owned, so there is no expectation of privacy when you are on public roads." Bullshit. I would drive on private roads to avoid this shit if they existed. (How I loved driving on the old private logging roads in northern Maine.)

There are deep issues here, and they stem from the raft of non-crimes that have been called crimes (non-endangering driving, 'possession' of plants, chemicals and firearms, etc.), Government's virtual monopoly on roadways, combined with the propensity of some bad apple LEOs to abuse their resultant and (in this system) necessary power. The 4th Amendment is as sacred in America as the 1st, 2nd and 5th - we have them to protect ourselves from Government. They are laws for Government, not us. Whenever they are weakened, Government grows in power and we become more endangered.

The 4th Amendment concerns are justified, so if officer safety is the reason why it has been weakened yet again, then we need to revisit the reason why officers so commonly find themselves having to plea 'personal safety' when overstepping their Constitutional bounds: Stop pulling over so many goddamn drivers.
 

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Why are we worried about 4th Amendment violations when officers have a right to secure their own safety?
+1

This is a very slippery slope and ultimately why socialism fails - the state, now responsible for every aspect of everyone's lives must first severely restrict their behavior to contain costs and "keep them safe" and then begin culling the herd when food production can no longer keep up...

Think about it - if we nationalize health care, the state will be responsible for your medical expenses - do you think it would want you doing dangerous things like bungee jumping? Driving? Eating fatty foods? etc...

Of officers have unlimited right to "secure their own safety" - they'd just shoot anyone who got out of a car with a felony warrant connected to the tag... Why risk it?
 

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Very interesting read, especially the last line of the SJC decision.

"Officer Trevizo surely was not constitutionally required to give Johnson an opportunity to depart the scene after he exited the vehicle without first ensuring that, in so doing, she was not permitting a dangerous person to get behind her."

http://www.supremecourtus.gov/opinions/08pdf/07-1122.pdf
 

KMaurer

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Just a couple of comments. The Supreme Court rulings on LEO stops of people for suspicion of crime or for simple traffic violations are very complicated. Lawyers familiar with that area of law have blogged that they themselves would not know when they could refuse to be searched, or to have their vehicles searched. ...
Well, allow me to clear up this conundrum for these learned experts. They have an absolute right to refuse to consent to a search of their persons or vehicle under any and all circumstances. Similarly, they never have a right to use force of any kind in an attempt to resist a search by police, no matter how blatantly illegal or unconstitutional. I hope this clears things up for them. Now whether the results of any such search would be admissible in a court, or whether the fact of a search would subject the officers conducting it to civil and/or criminal penalties is an entirely different, and definitely complicated question. Hope that helps.

Ken
 
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Who can disagree with this? Why are we worried about 4th Amendment violations when officers have a right to secure their own safety? Let's drill a bit deeper. It is because the SOP for LEOs is to execute traffic stops for non-crimes, not even reasonable or probable cause for crimes. (And no, speeding when there is no endangering is not a real crime.)

I do not know the details of the traffic stop in question, but they are irrelevant to my point. So many traffic stops are of the "routine" variety that 4th Amendment questions do arise, and rightly so. We are constantly at risk of being stopped for non-crimes; non-reckless driving, non-endangering behavior, broken tail lights, etc. When this is the environment in which we live every day, we worry about 4th Amendment violations. It is as if the 4th Amendment only applies if we never leave our houses. And now someone will say, "Well, the roads are publicly owned, so there is no expectation of privacy when you are on public roads." Bullshit. I would drive on private roads to avoid this shit if they existed. (How I loved driving on the old private logging roads in northern Maine.)

There are deep issues here, and they stem from the raft of non-crimes that have been called crimes (non-endangering driving, 'possession' of plants, chemicals and firearms, etc.), Government's virtual monopoly on roadways, combined with the propensity of some bad apple LEOs to abuse their resultant and (in this system) necessary power. The 4th Amendment is as sacred in America as the 1st, 2nd and 5th - we have them to protect ourselves from Government. They are laws for Government, not us. Whenever they are weakened, Government grows in power and we become more endangered.

The 4th Amendment concerns are justified, so if officer safety is the reason why it has been weakened yet again, then we need to revisit the reason why officers so commonly find themselves having to plea 'personal safety' when overstepping their Constitutional bounds: Stop pulling over so many goddamn drivers.
To the anonymous coward who gave me a negative rep because you disagree:

[rofl]
 
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