CarTalk.com Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

Will the police state bust you?

There is an interesting case at the US Supreme Court today. A drug dealer was busted by DC police when he was found in a house with 200 pounds of cocaine and oodles of money. How did they get the tip? GPS. They got a warrant and attached a GPS device to his car to keep tabs on him. They followed him all around DC and Maryland. But by the time they got around to bugging his car, the warrant had run out. And Maryland is not their jurisdiction. The defense argues that surveillance like this violates the 4th amendment, prohibiting illegal search an seizure. But the State argues that because he was in public, he had no rights to privacy and that they didn’t even need a warrant to plant the device.

I’m torn on this one. On on hand, the government had a real reason to believe that he should be watched closely. But then again, paranoid JT wonders if JEdgar Hoover is reincarnated, will we all end up with Big Brother’s GPS device on our cars. What do y’all think?

I think this question answers itself. If they have a real reason to believe that he should be watched closely, they can get a warrant. If it involves multiple states, they can get a federal warrant. I think even warrants are often too easy to get and just represent a rubber stamp, but it’s better than letting some rogue cop track whomever he wishes.

I’ve known a rogue cop who was gay for his chief, and rebuffed. He ended up harassing the chief (after they’d both been fired) with searches and attempts at prosecution, and one person was jailed on charges that were later dropped. Situations like this show that a little more judicial oversight couldn’t hurt.

The Texas legislature proposed a bill some years back that would put electronic tracking devices on every vehicle, under the guise of making it impossible to drive without insurance and not get caught. I thought this was way overboard and was glad it didn’t pass. I’d like to see a judicial ruling, as this case may provide, that stops future attempts at this nonsense.

All drugs should be decriminalized, sold through legitimate pathways, taxed HEAVILY (but not more than 100%) and put an end to “The War On Drugs” which has been a dismal failure…If you want to destroy yourself with drugs, go ahead…That problem can be solved through education…But FIRST, lets get the drug criminals and drug money off the streets…That is a greater problem than drug addiction…

“I think this question answers itself.”

Not necessarily. The Supremes already allowed a similar surveillance event. Someone duped a perp into taking a GPS device and the police followed him by satellite. Eventually, they busted him and there was no warrant involved.

I don’t think the state should violate laws or the Constitution to enforce a law. Let one like this slide now and then where does it stop?

The cops around here play a bit loose with the rules now and then and 2 separate murder cases have been thrown out with the almost dead certain killers skating free.
The first involved botching the investigation and then manufacturing evidence to cover up their ineptness. The second involved the beating deaths of 2 women in which the wrong guy was arrested (prints didn’t even match) and charged while they let the primary suspect leave town without checking his prints, his clothes, his alibi, or anything else. The cops also altered evidence on this one.

@ Caddyman
All drugs should be decriminalized, sold through legitimate pathways, taxed HEAVILY (but not more than 100%)…That will not solve anything

That problem can be solved through education…with all due respect, that is incorrect. Nothing changes until something changes in the heart or soul if you want to use those terms. It must from within. Education is needed and necessary but what about educated criminals? It must come from within or nothing changes.

Ya know I just feel there is more justice for the criminal than there is for the average Joe. Prosecute and catch the wrong doers any way you can and yes mean eyed, legalize it and tax it would be a similar situation to prohibition days, ain’t seen no moonshine for decades.

Drug laws have been used as an excuse to give police ever-increasing freedom, and taking more freedom from people. I believe that there’s a level of drug use that’s recreational, and not life-destroying (any more than all the sugar and alcohol and coffee people consume legally). I have a philosophical belief that prohibition actually increases abuse, and there may be scientific evidence of that.

When drug abuse is a problem, we should treat it as the medical problem it is, and not as a criminal offense. The “controlled substances” are already not controlled; we should bring treatment of their problems into the light, rather than pushing for more searches, more arrests, and more prisons. We tried the war, and it got us nowhere.

No warrant=illegal wiretap=he should walk free.

Caddyman, I totally agree with your stance on drugs as well.

Since my oldest was in grammar school she was taught about the dangers of drugs…She’s now working on her Doctorate at Harvard…Drug use has almost DOUBLED since when she was in first grade. Education is part…but a small part…Family situation peer pressure, and environment have far more influence.

Harvard, huh? Wasn’t that Leary and Alpert’s old stomping grounds? Good times.

A large part of education is making sure your kid knows what not to tell ma and pa.

Not your kid of course. :wink:

Smarter people than me argue on each side of the legalization issue. I have put 2 people in prison and 6 in the brig for drug use but more and more it seems that the law enforcement and court systems and politicians are milking the problem for all that it is worth. And yes, like alcohol prohibition, it promotes crime. If thoughtfully reasoned out and properly controlled legalization would seem to be an improvement. But if it proved to be a mistake it would be difficult to put the genie back in the bottle.

“@ Caddyman
All drugs should be decriminalized, sold through legitimate pathways, taxed HEAVILY (but not more than 100%)…That will not solve anything”

Yes it will…It destroys the illegal, unregulated drug bazaar that flourishes in our streets…It puts the illegal drug dealers out of business which is more than half the problem…

“But if it proved to be a mistake it would be difficult to put the genie back in the bottle.”

Excuse me, what? What bottle? Access to drugs is not a problem. If you want drugs, guns, or a prostitute, just give me some money and wait right here. I’ll be back in an hour or two. Of course I’ll be empty handed and saying “what money?” :wink:

Caddyman speak straight: “It puts the illegal drug dealers out of business which is more than half the problem…” Make them compete for jobs at McDonald’s or start their own companies.

Caddyman, what you suggest is insane (not you yourself, but your suggestion). There are numerous drugs that can cause paranoia, delusions, violent behavior, and other very serious problems. The dangers they pose go way beyond just the dangers to the user, they pose a danger to innocent people as well. And if they were made legal they’d be far more available to children. Meth, LSD, heroin, these should not be made legal.

I would agree that there is a category of drugs that does not induce violent behaviors, such as pot, that should b elegalized. But all drugs? No way.

Make them compete for jobs at McDonald’s or start their own companies.

And you honestly think they are going to get legitimate jobs??? They’ll find some other illegal activity.

I don’t agree with legalizing all drugs. People commit enough crimes as it is now to get money to buy drugs.
If it became legal Open Season I don’t see chronic drug users (often habitual crmininals) running to get a good paying job so they can support their now legal habit and go about their lives in a straightforward legal manner.

I do agree that some of the punishment doled out for drugs is excessive. Currently in OK there’s a big stink over a young mother (2 kids) who needed some money and sold 30 dollars worth of weed; a crime for which the judge handed her 12 years in prison. The judge then retired and a subsequent judge modified the sentence to 8 years and the ruckus is not over yet.
Yet the woman in the cell with her gets 3 years for manslaughter. It seems pretty skewed to me.

No one can see what the results would be if drugs were legalized. Murphy’s law will insure that those “unintended consequences” will be waiting for passage of legalization. The costs could outweigh the benefits. But year after year the idea seems more and more worth trying.

@Caddyman,

I was no fan of Michael Jackson (actually met him and his family in Gary before they became widely famous) but his negligent doctor may get only house arrest because California’s prisons are so overcrowded with drug offenders.

I did not say we should allow a legal free-for-all in marketing dangerous recreational drugs…No advertising of any sort. Packages limited to small quantities. Sales volume limited. Packages marked with the dangers of the product they contain…But at least establish a legal pathway so users don’t have to deal with street criminals…

But you guys are probably right…The criminals won’t give it up without a fight…The legitimate outlets would be under constant attack…