Baltimore has erupted in chaos ever since Freddie Gray died in police custody after being arrested on drug suspicions. It’d gotten so bad that the violent rioters protesters exercising their first amendment rights were so passionately violently rioting exercising their first amendment rights, people weren’t allowed to leave the Orioles/Red Sox game… because of all the violent rioting free speech that was going on outside.
Thankfully, Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake held a news conference to urge calm…
The following was from a recent email communication from Steve Silverman of Flex Your Rights.
On Tuesday the Court held in Rodriguez v. U.S. that suspects cannot be detained beyond the scope of a routine traffic stop for the sole purpose of performing a dog sniff. The 6-3 ruling is indeed a big win for the 4th Amendment. But our old friend and former-Flex Associate Director Scott Morgan emailed me a note about why this ruling is particularly special.
Great point, Scott! Anytime suspects fail to clearly invoke their 4th Amendment rights, their defense is confined to the more difficult path of articulating other procedural 4th Amendment violations. Because of the relative weakness of such arguments, courts will often find that police acted in “good faith” by executing a search they believed to be lawful. This sets bad precedent expanding the scope of legal police searches.
However, when citizens clearly assert their rights, they empower the courts to rule in their favor by setting a higher evidentiary standard necessary to override their refusal. In other words, there’s a greater likelihood for a 4th Amendment victory – which is likely to set good precedent limiting the scope of legal police searches.
I don’t know if Dennys Rodriguez has seen our videos, but when police asked him to wait around until a drug dog could sniff his vehicle, he correctly refused. If more citizens are empowered to do the same – we’ll get better cases, better rulings, and a stronger 4th Amendment.
Ah, blessed spring. That time of renewal, when our lawns start growing again, trees start budding, and flowers start blooming. The time, they say, when young men’s thoughts turn to love. But along with these pleasant things, the thoughts of many also inevitably turn to taxes, as the April 15 deadline for filing dreaded 1040 returns — those self-confession forms that the government insists we are required to file every year — looms once again. And I’m not immune to those thoughts of taxes either; I’m just prohibited by an unconstitutional infringement on my right to free speech — that dastardly federal injunction against the Fellowship — from discussing income taxes. So, this month I’m going to talk a little about some other taxes that come to mind as April rolls around.
I was recently reading through the comments for an internet article discussing the situation in Syria, where people protesting against the government are being brutally attacked by that same government. It comes as no surprise that Syria is no more tolerant of those who don’t bow down to their every edict and whim than is the United States (or any government, for that matter). The discussion centered somewhat on the relative severity of the responses from the two governments, with the comparison on the U.S. side being the shooting of unarmed war protesters at Kent State University by National Guard soldiers on May 4, 1970. Some commentators denounced the comparison because while it was regrettable that a couple of people were shot in Ohio, Syria was using tanks against their protesters. Now there’s no question that tanks are an escalation over rifles, but it got me thinking about whether Kent State was really the best example of the U.S. government abusing its citizens.
April 19th is Patriots’ Day, because on that day in 1775 was fired the “shot heard ‘round the world” — the shot attributed with starting the War for Independence in Lexington, Massachusetts. In recent history however, Patriot’s Day has taken on other significance.1 On that day in 1995, the Alfred P. Murrah Building in Oklahoma City was blown up, purportedly by Timothy McVey in retaliation for the 1993 massacre in Waco, Texas. And that is the example that came to my mind when thinking about governments using tanks against their own people.
Propagandizing 70 percent of the population is not easy to do, and obviously requires active deceit or pervasive acquiescence by the country’s news media. As part of his discussion last night, Oliver showed my favorite MSNBC clip in order to illustrate the lack of substantive surveillance discussion in the media:
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