Friday, February 08, 2013

Fourth Amendment: Not Even Pretending Anymore

Here is a mostly unremarkable news update out of California, where ex-cop Christopher Dorner is still on the lam. The story indicates that the current cops looking for him aren't so much as paying lip service to the constitution. Two quotes I found most chilling (italics mine): "The search for Dorner shifted to Big Bear Lake after an officer found the ex-officer's burned Nissan Titan pickup. Cindy Bachman, spokeswoman for the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department, said up to 400 homes were searched" and "California Highway Patrol officers set up check points at all 3 exits from the Big Bear area on highways 18, 38 and 330 to check all vehicles that could possibly hide Christopher Jordan Dorner." Which is basically synonymous with "all vehicles that are not motorcycles."

I don't know what bothers me most: that the fourth amendment is so blithely ignored, or that the media is so blithely accepting of this. 

Incidentally: why did Dorner switch from "cop" to "ex-cop"? According to the news:  "Dorner was fired from the LAPD in 2008 for making false statements related to a 2007 complaint he filed against his training sergeant. He claimed she kicked a suspect who is mentally ill in the shoulder area and the face during an arrest at a hotel in San Pedro."

So when a cop tells a lie, falsely accusing an innocent person of committing a crime, that's a firing offense.... IF that innocent party is another cop. Police lie in courtrooms and on the witness stand all the time, of course--incarcerating innocent people is safer, easier and more lucrative than incarcerating actual danger-to-society criminals--and Christopher Dorner would still have his badge today, had he been smart enough to limit his false accusations to ordinary American citizens. But lying about his fellow cops was clearly beyond the pale.

2 Comments:

Blogger Cinnamonbite said...

Is it illegal? Because I'm betting there is a legal loophole.
http://www.legalzoom.com/everyday-law/home-leisure/can-police-search-your
#4 makes it legal, if this is truly the law and not just someone's opinion on the internet. Unless the police MUST be in, "hot pursuit," then it's not legal for them to search the houses. On the other hand, perhaps these people all gave consent. The original article needs more facts.

and this one:
"Searches of Cars and Their Occupants
Cars may be searched without a warrant whenever the car has been validly stopped and the police have probable cause to believe the car contains contraband or evidence. If the police have probable cause to search the car, all compartments and packages that may contain the evidence or contraband being searched for are fair game."
http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/search-warrant-basics-29742.html

8:30 AM  
Blogger Jennifer Abel said...

Cinnamonbite, if cops hear pounding coming from a car trunk, along with a voice saying "Help I'm being kidnapped let me out," THAT constitutes probable cause. If cops decide to search every single car leaving a given town, that is NOT probable cause.

9:47 AM  

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