Severe Police Tactics in Suburbia

I’m about to dive into a three-part series in The Philadelphia Inquirer investigating heavy-handed policing tactics in suburbia.

It makes me proud that my hometown paper has the balls to allow writer Mark Fazlollah to delve so deeply into a chronically underreported social problem.

Continued

Videotaping Police Should Never Be a Crime

Radley Balko, one of our favorite fellow constitutional fetishists, has an informative FoxNews.com piece on the legality of videotaping police encounters. For those of you who are unsatiated by our FAQ about videotaping police, this should hit the spot.

I wonder: Aside from law-breaking officers, who benefits from laws prohibiting the videotaping of police officers?

Continued

4th Amendment Victories in State Courts

We’ve got some more required reading for all you “4th Amendment is dead” fools who keep farting on our freedom parade. I know, there’s no shortage of police, judges, and prosecutors who can’t find big enough boots to trample your rights with. Believe me, I know. But the law evolves over time, as does the behavior of our public servants. This month brought a couple examples of the ability of State Courts to set a high threshold of 4th Amendment protection for the citizens they serve.
Continued

Illinois v. Caballes: Dog Sniffs & You

Illinois v. Caballes
543 U.S. 405 (2005)

In Illinois vs. Caballes, the Supreme Court ruled that police do not need reasonable suspicion to use drug dogs to sniff a vehicle during a legitimate traffic stop.

This decision stems from the case of Roy Caballes, who was pulled over for speeding and subsequently arrested for marijuana trafficking after a drug dog was brought to the scene and alerted on his vehicle. The Illinois Supreme Court reversed his conviction, finding that a drug sniff was unreasonable without evidence of a crime other than speeding.

In a 6-2 ruling, the Court held that the Fourth Amendment is not implicated when police use a dog sniff during the course of a legal traffic stop. Justice Stevens wrote the Opinion of the Court, finding that since dog sniffs only identify the presence of illegal items — in which citizens have no legitimate privacy interest — the Fourth Amendment does not apply to their use. Justices Souter and Ginsburg dissented, pointing to studies showing that drug dogs frequently return false positives (12.5-60% of the time, according to one study).

What this ruling means:

Continued

Page 8 of 8« First...45678