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Judge OKs Fake Checkpoints (CO)

Discussion in 'Legal' started by AZTOY, Aug 15, 2003.

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  1. AZTOY

    AZTOY Member

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    Judge OKs Fake Checkpoints in Search for Illegal Drugs

    Friday, August 15, 2003

    DENVER — Colorado police can set up fake checkpoints in hopes of sniffing out illegal drugs, an appeals court ruled in a case where camouflage-clad officers spied on fans during a bluegrass festival in 2000

    Thursday's ruling, which reversed an earlier finding, was based on a federal appeals court decision last year in a similar case in Oklahoma.

    Police at the Telluride festival had posted signs along the road saying, "Narcotics checkpoint, one mile ahead" and "Narcotics canine ahead." Officers wearing camouflage hid on a hill and watched for any people who turned around or appeared to toss drugs out of their windows after seeing the signs.

    After Stephen Corbin Roth, 60, was pulled over for littering, police found a marijuana pipe and mushrooms while searching his car.

    The appeals court said that while drug checkpoints are illegal — because motorists are stopped at random and without reasonable suspicion of committing a crime — the discovery of the pipe gave the officers probable cause to stop Roth's vehicle.

    Roth's lawyer said he planned to appeal.

    Sheriff Jerry Martin said his department conducted four fake checkpoint operations before suspending them because of the lawsuit. The operation will probably be reinstated, he said.

    "We didn't dream it would be that effective. I'm telling you, they tossed stuff out of there that you couldn't believe," Martin said.

    In the Oklahoma case, Mack Flynn saw checkpoint warning signs in Muskogee County, quickly got off the interstate and dropped a large sack by the roadside. The 10th Circuit agreed with his lawyers that checkpoints are illegal but ultimately ruled against him because there really weren't any checkpoints.

    "The posting of signs to create a ruse does not constitute illegal police activity," that court said.

    http://www.foxnews.com.edgesuite.net/story/0,2933,94859,00.html
     
  2. Jeeper

    Jeeper Member

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    WHether I think it is OK or not is up in the air. It is very humorous though.
     
  3. buzz_knox

    buzz_knox Member

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    I don't like the idea of busting people b/c they turned around (assuming that the turns are legal) but if they are openly disposing of evidence of a crime and/or littering, go for it.
     
  4. Mike Irwin

    Mike Irwin Member

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    Hum....

    This one bothers me...
     
  5. geekWithA.45

    geekWithA.45 Moderator Emeritus

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    One of the few and most effective tools that remain to LEO is the use of lies and deception.

    This is a real problem that has lead directly to the erosion of respect for LEO.

    Furthermore, it's an outright shame that most folks don't know what their rights are, or how to effectively use them.

    Sigh.
     
  6. Carlos

    Carlos Member

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    Agreed. I hate back-handed tactics such as this.

    It just keeps getting better, huh? :banghead: :banghead:
     
  7. Atticus

    Atticus Member

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    And "We the People" were somehow served by this? A 60 year old Bluegrass fan is headed home to smoke his dope...but is instead tricked into littering. Okaaaay. If the guy isn't driving while intoxicated...I simply don't give a flip.
     
  8. Morgan

    Morgan Member

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    I find it very humorous, and vaguely disturbing. Even people who know that such a checkpoint is illegal know that there are probably departments out there who would do it anyway. On the other hand, society has determined that certain substances are illegal, and the cops were very imaginitive in dealing with the problem of such substances entering an area where they knew it would be commonplace. Thinking outside the box.

    Cops don't have any rules against lying or misrepresenting - it is sometimes very useful in an investigation to claim you know something...

    As an aside, since when do you get to search someone's car when citing for littering? Amazing how often permission is given, but the story doesn't detail.
     
  9. Coltdriver

    Coltdriver Member

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    Your tax dollars, hard at waste.

    Why are these ninja wanna be's not out scouring the national forests of Colorado for illegal drug operations where thousands of acres have been co opted by the drug cartels so they can grow locally and not deal with smuggling?

    I would have to suggest that it would be hard and dangerous work.

    Unlike popping an old hippie for his hash pipe:D
     
  10. TarpleyG

    TarpleyG Member

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    As much as I would be tempted to go through the checkpoint just to say "No, you can't search my vehicle!" I would most likely just turn around. This scenario would have put in the same situation either way.

    GT
     
  11. benewton

    benewton Member

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    Ah, let me try to get this straight...

    The "legel" OFFICIALS put up a sign stating that there's a "DRUG CHECKPOINT" ahead. But there isn't, it's a lie, for whatever purposes. But then too, it's legal for "them" to lie, so I guess that doesn't count.

    Then again, they do DUI checkpoints, without notice, as far as signs go, all the time. And I'm required to stop, without charge to them for the time they've cost for a no probable cause stop...

    Then, too, sometimes they post signs saying no CCW, and ignoring that one could get me "apprehended". (Note: I do have a chance, though, since maybe they'd just "confiscate" the USPc without further "charges").

    So, me, the poor civilian, is supposed to realize just which signs are real, legal, and binding on my activities, and which are fake and can be ignored?

    And just how am I supposed to do that, realtime, since that, for one reason or another, is how I have to live my life?

    Lie to a LEO and you've problems in detail, he lies to you, well, in that case all's fair...

    There is a reason many of us have zero faith in LE, or, now that I think about it, in the "law" itself.
     
  12. jimpeel

    jimpeel Member

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    So if someone gets out of their car and holds up a sign that states that the other sign is a fake is that okay? After all, under the ruling, the sign was okay because there really weren't any checkpoints so wouldn't alerting the driving public to that fact also be legal?

    Also, isn't there a law that makes it illegal to place false signage upon any roadway with the intent to confuse or trick the motoring public? Wouldn't such a sign also be considered litter and within the purvue of every citizen to clean up their community by removing same?
     
  13. sm

    sm member

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    Not comfortable with this at all.

    Many years ago a sheriff used old junk cars on blocks painted to resemble sheriff cars, with a "straw" sheriff to get speeders to slow down, he'd change locations from time to time. Now that was just a smart use of resources, getting people to think...no rights stepped on.

    This article on the other hand is nudging my rights before getting stomped on...not comfortable at all.

    Always respected the moonshiners against the "revenuers". something to be said about rear wheel drive, stout engines and suspensions...back roads are kinda nice for change...history is a good tool...oh, black shows up at night...cobalt blue does not on a moonless night...people wondered why I opted for the black-out package...no chrome...;)

    gunmetal grey, olive green...never black--never
     
  14. Standing Wolf

    Standing Wolf Member in memoriam

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    We don't need no stinkin' Fourth Amendment!
     
  15. Denko

    Denko Member

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    We are sorry sir,we just don't have the manpower to respond to every 911 call as soon as we would like.
     
  16. MeekandMild

    MeekandMild Member

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    I tell you, since I took my new job up here in God's Country I have a very low general opinion of the 'kosher' war on drugs as generally applied.

    We see about 15 druggies a week who come in to our facility in various stages of disarray and need for detox. They tell stories about unbelievably easy access to drugs and minimal sucess by the police in stopping them.

    In three counties here there are dozens of drug arrests per week but I suspect that is from the dumbest 1% of a population of thousands of druggies. The general rule is the cops bust them, they get off on probation and they are "good" for a number of months then go back to their usual behavior. YAWN.

    All I can say is GOOD FOR THESE COPS!! If you've ever seen a druggie screaming at the top of their lungs, defecating on the floor and ready to hang themselves if given the chance you can appreciate my perspective. (From my experiance druggies have a VERY high suicide rate.)

    My 2 cents worth.
     
  17. Marko Kloos

    Marko Kloos Moderator Emeritus

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    Meekandmild,

    alcohol kills far more people in a year than all the illegal drugs combined, both directly and via DUI. We all know what alcohol does to a person when they "overdose", and I've seen plenty of defecating or vomiting drunks and alcoholics suffering from violent withdrawal.

    So, the question is, why be inconsistent? Why make one intoxicant illegal and crack down on it with the full night of the state, and leave the demonstrably more dangerous one legal?

    We tried Prohibition. Not only did it not work, but it also brought us organized crime and NFA '34.

    We tried banning drugs. Not only did it not work, it brught us drug cartels and GCA68, as well as AWB89 and AWB94. Why insist on relearning the lessons of Prohibition all over again?

    I don't care whether my neighbor destroys himself with heroin or vodka. It makes no difference to me. Neither you nor me nor the State can stop him if he has his mind set to it. Why waste literally hundreds of billions of tax dollars, and infringe on the civil rights of all non-users, just to try and keep a few Darwin cases from annihilating themselves?
     
  18. standingbear

    standingbear Member

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    what bothers me is the deceptive practices here.what if it were a rock consert and after seeing the sign,just to avoid a hassle,someone turned around and headed home or remembered they forgot something at the gas station 5 miles back.would this make them automatically guilty of having narcotics in their car?what if they were stopped down the road for suspicion later based on turning around and nothing was found..kinda like changing the speed limit on a rural highway for a few days to get speeders(it was done not far from here- the municipality had to pay back all the fines and the violations removed).im sure it soured alot of peoples image of what leo stands for.its no wonder people feel the way they do.
     
  19. Atticus

    Atticus Member

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    "We see about 15 druggies a week who come in to our facility in various stages of disarray and need for detox. They tell stories about unbelievably easy access to drugs and minimal sucess by the police in stopping them. "

    Well...let's throw another 10 billion dollars at it then. People who want to alter their reality will do so with homemade hooch, PAM in a can, glue, a cactus, a mushroom, electricity, ...whatever. It is pointless to fight this war on some drugs. Deal with the mental problems as they arise.
     
  20. Ian

    Ian Member

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    I haven't ever used narcotics, and I don't intend to start any time soon. I have nothing illegal in my car. However, I would still pull a u-turn if I knew a checkpoint was up ahead. I just don't like the idea of being stopped at a random checkpoint. The 4th Amendment is a Good Thing.

    All the more reason to move to a small town that doesn't have enough cops to pull this nonsense in the first place...
     
  21. Zundfolge

    Zundfolge Member

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    These "fake" checkpoints are not as much of a violation of our rights as the real ones, but this is one of those police actions that ultimately works against them.

    There are more and more generaly "law abiding" folk who are begining to see our Law Enforcement Officers as the enemies of freedom and not to be trusted any more then we trust other street thugs.

    This kind of dishonesty is eroding the relationship between Peace Officers and the community they serve. And in the long run this will make police work more difficult and more cops die needlessly.

    Just look at the cop bashing threads that pop up here on THR ... I'd say that as a group us THRers are probably more pro-cop then the average citizen and even here there are many of us (myself included) who don't trust cops.


    How much good will in the community is every "druggie" they bust with a little baggie of pot going to cost them with such tactics?
     
  22. Tamara

    Tamara Senior Member

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    Always good to know who's on my side. ;)
     
  23. Bruce H

    Bruce H Member

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    Sonebody should kick that judge right in the brass ones. Tell him it was a fake kick, then do it again.
     
  24. rock jock

    rock jock Member

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    Flawed argument. If you are going to address the unconstitutional basis for random searches, go right ahead. But trying to equivocate guns with drugs makes your point moot. One is a necessary element of freedom and is protected by the Constitution; the other is not.
     
  25. MeekandMild

    MeekandMild Member

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    Really? :rolleyes: I wonder if you'd think differently if your neighbor had a meth lab?
     
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