chilling arrest powers

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by Thanatoast, Dec 27, 2003.

  1. Thanatoast macrumors 6502a

    Thanatoast

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2002
    Location:
    Denver
    #1
    According to this story the police can now arrest everyone in a vehicle when no one admits to ownership of contraband discovered in the car. Is it just me or is this Supreme Court ruling completely bass-ackwards? How is this not a violation of my rights? And I guess innocent until proven guilty went out with 9-11, but still. Anyone have any thoughts?
     
  2. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2002
    Location:
    toronto
    #2
    it will be interesting to see how this case is cited in future cases. can everyone on a greyhound bus now be arrested? an airplane? an amtrak train?

    will someone try to use it in a case where people are contained in some sort of structure that isn't transportation, like a house or an office complex?
     
  3. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2002
    Location:
    toronto
    #4
    following on that, a prosecutor can try to cite any case he wishes. my concern is always w/ how far out of context a judge and jury will accept the reference.

    e.g. i'm thinking of the (iirc) n. carolina prosecutor who brought charges against the operators of a meth lab under the terrorist / chemical weapons provision of the patriot act.
     
  4. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2003
    Location:
    Colly-fornia
    #5
    Tell that to Jose Padilla.
     
  5. Taft macrumors 65816

    Taft

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2002
    Location:
    Chicago
    #6
    Yes, and this is a good thing. However, sometimes it does not protect you from nasty cops.

    I'll use an example which is common (statistically). A cop pulls over a minority who possesses marijuana. They arrest him. While in custody, the man is offered various "deals" and is subjected to a variety of questioning without their lawyers. The man, not knowing his rights, lands himself a mandatory minimum sentance for drug trafficing.

    Now this is obviously a cartoonish scenario. Not all cops would do such a thing. But it illustrates the flipside to the point you made: officers have discretion in how they conduct themselves. This means that cops can treat people nicely, cops can treat people poorly, or cops can treat people illegally.

    So I have a problem with expanding a police officer's ability to arrest me. If you allow cops to cast a large net when arresting people on the suspicion of a crime, that means a lot of innocent people are brought in because they might be guilty even though the evidence is flimsy at best. This would be fine if I was 100% certain that no cops would act illegally while I was in custody. Unfortunately, cops are humans. Some are a**holes, some are criminals, many have quotas, many use racial profiling. This means that those innocents brought in for a given crime might be handled unfairly, be coerced into a false confessions, be scared into an illegal plea bargain, etc.

    The burden of proof should be squarely on the shoulders of the cops. If they don't have reasonable evidence of illegal activity, they shouldn't be making arrests. Unfortunately, the burden isn't that high in the US: cops can usually arrest you based on reasonable suspicion. I think that sucks.

    Taft
     

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