Saturday, January 21, 2006


I don't understand the problem some law enforcement folks have with probable cause. If they have reason to believe that I am committing a crime, they can certainly get warrants and come investigate me.

In the case that led to this week's Supreme Court ruling, the cops said they felt that the "suspect"--who had been stopped for a traffic violation--was acting nervously and had used air freshener in his car, which made them suspicious. Which is why they brought in the drug sniffing dogs.

So why didn't they simply get a warrant? They, indeed, had "probable cause". I know a very specific example recently where a man was stopped for a traffic violation. Cops suspected drugs (they were right) and they told the guy: "you can let us search the car, admit to what you've got, or wait for an hour and we'll get a warrant." The guy admitted he had dope.

If certain judges are too tough in their determination of probable cause, then we should address THAT issue. With more clearly defined legal definitions or greater oversight of those judges.

But I don't want cops to be able to threaten me with dogs when there is no cause.
No one disputes that we need to more vigilant and aggressive in this post-9/11 world. But it is ENTIRELY possible to do so without violating civil rights.

I don't understand what's wrong with probable cause.

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