The Weekly Sedition

Monday, 18 August 2008

Know Your Rights as the Accused

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — weeklysedition @ 6:25 PM

Every week on TV, Bill Koehler and I provide information to audience about their rights when the cops suspect them of a crime, their rights as the accused, and as a juror.

Before I begin, a DISCLAIMER —

  • NOTHING that you read here should be construed as legal advice.
  • Your reading of this page does NOT constitute any sort of attorney-client relationship between yourself and Bill Koehler or myself.
  • Consult an attorney before making any sort of statement to, or filing any sort of paperwork with, the cops, the prosecutor, or the judge.

First, when the officer stops you on the street, they have to have what’s called “reasonable suspicion” to stop and hold you, i.e. that you “has been, is, or is about to be engaged in criminal activity based on specific and articulable facts and inferences.” At this point, the officer is allowed to conduct what’s called a Terry frisk, where they search you for weapons. The idea here is that the officer is conducting the search to ensure his/her personal safety, and the safety of bystanders and other officers.

A note about the Terry stop — if the officer finds other contraband items, — drugs, for example — they are NOT admissable as evidence against you unless it’s clear to the officer that the item(s) indeed are contraband.

Next, if they want to search your person, your vehicle, your possessions, or your home, or arrest you, they have to have what’s called “probable cause” — again, a reasonable suspicion that you’ve done something wrong. Bill and I recommend that you ask the officer these three questions — 1. Am I free to go? 2. Am I under arrest? 3. What am I being charged with?

Ask them this over and over again. YES, they will get annoyed, but that’s their problem. If they don’t want to deal with you asking those questions repeatedly, they can always release you. [2]

When they want to search you, your vehicle, your possessions, or your home, insist on a warrant. And even if they do get that warrant, still refuse consent for them to search. If they get what’s called a “telephonic warrant,” tell them they can conduct a telephonic search — they can call you on the phone, tell you what they’re looking for, and you can tell them if you have the item(s) in question.

Should the officer(s) decide to arrest you, they are required to read to you what’s called the Miranda warning. At the end of the warning, some officers will ask you these two questions —

          Do you understand the rights I have just read to you?
          With these rights in mind, do you wish to speak to me?

Answering “No” to first question will merely get the warning re-read to you. If you have plenty of time to kill, you could ask the officer to explain your rights under the law, but I suspect that in most cases, the best bet is to get clear of the situation as soon as possible.

Answering “No” to the second question is the cutoff — after hearing that, the officer(s) are NOT permitted to question you until you agree to waive those rights. At the same time, you have to remember the Golden Rule — “Silence is golden.” KEEP YOUR MOUTH SHUT!

While browsing the web, I found this comment from Tom Knapp on criminal prosecutions [1] —

          98% of criminal prosecutions in the US result in “convictions,” 92% through plea bargains reached
         between a powerless defendant and a nearly all-powerful prosecutor, the other 6% through jury trials.

That’s a big part of why Bill and I recommend that people accused of crimes by the state —

  1. Plead “not guilty,” and refuse to plea bargain with the prosecutor.
  2. Insist on a jury trial within six months of charges being filed against you. Refuse to accept any delays from the prosecuting entity — either the case goes to trial within six months, or they drop the charges.
  3. In New Mexico (we don’t know about other states), there’s a procedural rule that the prosecuting entity must provide the defense with copies of all evidence against the accused within thirty (30) days of charges being filed. If the prosecution fails to provide that evidence within 30 days, the charges must be dropped.

Considering Tom’s comment above, if people charged with crimes started insisting on that jury trial within six months of charges being filed, and refusing to plea bargain, then the cops and prosecutors would have to be a lot more selective in the cases that they choose to pursue. And who knows — they just might ask the legislatures to start repealing the non-sensical laws such as Drug Prohibition, “gun control,” zoning, taxes, censorship codes,and the like.

NOTES

[1] Faux libertarians throw rocks at Gravel
[2] You & The Police!, by “Boston T. Party
[3] Fully Informed Jury Association [FIJA]

Wednesday, 2 April 2008

The Fools of April

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — weeklysedition @ 5:56 PM
While searching for an innocuous little graphic of a hand grenade with a “Complaint Department” tag on the pull-pin, I found the news page from the New London (Connecticut) Police Union’s site

AVT sniffs out another big bust!

                          

Suspect arrested on parole violation. Investigation leads to
$3,800 in cash and approx 1 1/2 pounds of marijuana.

Gotta love the above picture of the two Prohibition Agents displaying the weed and cash for the camera. Look at the stupid grins on these clowns — I wonder if they’re saying under their breath, “Are we gonna PAR-TAY tonight!” ? Hey, if they don’t like anyone wondering if they’re corrupt, all they have do is stop enforcing the anti-Constitutional statutes that comprise Drug Prohibtion.

Here’s more of the same —
      

                       


How about this one? If this guy wasn’t standing in front of a marked patrol unit, I’d start to think that he might be affiliated with some skinhead or Aryan Airhead outfit.

Dirty Dog!!

matteo

How about this guy? If Officer Galante and Ike find out that police work is a dirt job!
Mat and Ike helped VIS chase down a weapons suspect in the woods behind Laurel
Dr. Both Mat and Ike are wet, muddy and forced the suspect into the dry waiting
arms of Billy Edwards. Good job … now go take a shower!

What exactly makes one a “weapons suspect,” I wonder? Where did our self-appointed Ruling Class get the idea that this asinine, anti-Constitutional, anti-human excuse for a concept would fly? Have they never read, or even heard of, the Second Amendment — the Constitutional guarantee that government won’t infringe Americans’ pre-existing right to own and carry weapons?

Hah — most of them — especially the ones whose constituencies are in the big cities — put forth explicit plans in their campaign advertising on just how they plan to enact more infringements. Here’s the thing — I’m sure that if the above cops had refused to enforce the anti-Liberty laws in question, then they would have been labeled by the lamestream snoozemedia as “lazy,” “incompetent,” or “corrupt.”

So it’s not these guys per se that are corrupt — it’s the system that keeps them doing what they’re doing that’s corrupt. As for my title (The Fools of April), well, that’s an apt descriptor for the earnest proponents of the corrupt system. They truly believe that they’re doing you and everyone else a favor by keeping these laws on the books, and creating more of these laws.

Thursday, 15 November 2007

A Cop Says “Legalize Drugs”

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , , , , , — weeklysedition @ 2:46 AM

Case for Legalizing Drugs

Getting them where it really hurts – in the wallet!

By Matt Berger

Originally published in the November 2007 issue of Guns and Weapons for Law Enforcement

In the May issue, Dave Street made a compelling argument for maintaining the prohibition of illict drugs. Street was absolutely accurate in his depiction of the downward spiral of the drug user / addict, and the ravages of drugs upon individuals and society. Most likely, Street’s moral convictions are a large part of his desire to see drugs remain illegal, and again, I agree with him. I find recreational use of narcotics morally reprehensible, and have nothing but contempt for such behavior.

The problem, as I see it, is that we’re letting our beliefs get in the way of a pragmatic, effective solution to “the war on drugs.”

The drug trade is an extremely lucrative big business, with returns so high that legions of people are willing to risk life and imprisonment to pursue a career in the supplying of drugs. They are willing to be ruthless, to murder, and even to corrupt governments to carry out their business. On the user level, they are willing to steal, rob, burglarize, and worse, just to keep their supply flowing.

The profits fuel drug cartels at the top, filtering down to dealers and gangs, with endless capital with which to carry out their deeds. Worst of all, it breeds crime, both violent and deadly violent on the streets.

But what would happen to these cartels, dealers and gang-bangers if we were to dry up their financial infrastructure overnight? Surely, they would be reduced to petty thieves and stick-up men without the pay-off.

A quick reference to history will turn up a very close analogy, the heyday of the mobsters during the prohibition years. The mob was at its apex during these years with the money-making machine of supplying illegal booze. When the Volstead Act was repealed, the money dried up, and the Mob was never again to return to its former glory. But then came drugs.

If drugs were legalized, they could be closely regulated and taxed. Prices would be driven down, and the junkie could simply walk into his neighborhood drug store with a script, instead of burglarizing your home, dismantling your air conditioner for copper, carjacking you, or sticking up the liquor store to pay for his habit. The passing around of dirty needles be curtailed. The violent gang-banging dealers in your town would have to subsist on a meager income of low-level crime, and the guns for their drive-by shootings, and the purpose behind them, would wane. The cartels and corrupt governments that thrive on overly inflated cost of drugs brought on by illegalization would also dry up and blow away.

Think about it: The local gang-bangers you stop on a daily basis, rolling in Escalades with wheels and stereo equipment that cost more than the boat you dream of owning when you retire. How do these punks who pay no taxes and punch no clock afford such a lifestyle? It’s because of the multi-billion-dollar enterprise that is the drug trade. No intelligence, education or any other qualifications required, just a willingness to break the law, and hurt and kill people as a price of doing business.

In a perfect world, we could lock up all of the bad guys for as long as they deserved, but we all know cell space is at a premium. Because of this, rapists, pedophiles, robbers and even murderers are getting out in record time to allow for the mandatory sentences of droves upon droves of drug traffickers. We could free up that space to keep the killers, rapists, molesters and the like behind bars, where they belong.

So, would half of the population become junkies? Of course they wouldn’t. Sure, a very small percentage of people would experiment, but for the most part, those who want drugs are getting them now, and those who don’t, aren’t and won’t, just like drinkers and non-drinkers during the prohibition years. That won’t change.

In the end, we can’t stop the users. What we need is a more effective way to end the crime and violence surrounding this insidious culture. We can stop the suppliers and dealers, their guns and violence, and their killing. Perhaps we need to stop thinking in terms of “throwing in the towel” on our moral convictions, and start thinking in terms of reducing crime.

[ Yeah, I know that advocating “we can tax and regulate the stuff” as a rationale for ending Drug Prohibition is pretty piss-poor for anarchist-leaning libertarians. Still, remember that this opinion piece wasn’t published in The Libertarian Enterprise, but in a magazine generally geared to those who are on the “front lines” and actively engaged in fighting the “Drug War” — these are the people who are tasked with arresting you for “possession” and “possession with intent to distribute.” If these folks aren’t willing to continue the fight, then it falls to the admin pukes and finally the Congresscreeps who write these asinine statutes to enforce those same statutes, and we know that most of them are above getting their hands dirty and risking their lives.

For more information about cops opposed to Drug Prohibition, check out the Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP) siteMike Blessing ]


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