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9/22/2017 12:11:25 AM
Posted: 4/24/2001 7:35:18 AM EDT
check it out.... Supreme Court Allows Minor Traffic Offense Arrest April 24, 2001 10:35 am EST WASHINGTON (Reuters) - In a decision affecting the nation's 185 million licensed drivers, a divided Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday that individuals can be arrested for minor traffic violations punishable only by a fine. The high court, by a 5-4 vote, said the Constitution's Fourth Amendment, which bans unreasonable arrests and searches, does not limit police discretion to make arrests for routine traffic violations. "The question is whether the Fourth Amendment forbids a warrantless arrest for a minor criminal offense, such as a misdemeanor seat-belt violation punishable only by a fine. We hold that it does not," Justice David Souter said for the court majority. Souter, normally one of the court's most liberal members, was joined by four conservatives -- Chief Justice William Rehnquist and Justices Antonin Scalia, Anthony Kennedy and Clarence Thomas. Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, a moderate conservative, dissented, saying, "The court neglects the Fourth Amendment's express command in the name of administrative ease" and it "cloaks the pointless indignity" that the woman in the case suffered "with the mantle of reasonableness."
Link Posted: 4/24/2001 7:43:32 AM EDT
Link Posted: 4/24/2001 8:16:01 AM EDT
"It can't happen here." IT IS happening here.
Link Posted: 4/24/2001 8:18:47 AM EDT
I'm curious for your reasoning? If a cop sees you make a traffic violation he certainly has proable cause to stop you and arrest (if allowed by your sttae's law) you b/c a crime has been committed. The 4th was to stop the police from battering down your door at home one night w/o any reason at all.
Link Posted: 4/24/2001 8:52:15 AM EDT
An infraction is not a crime. This is like getting the cuffs for a parking ticket. The Suprems Court definitlty blew this one. Norm
Link Posted: 4/24/2001 9:03:58 AM EDT
The forth states "...secure in their persons...". It's not just about searching your residence.
Link Posted: 4/24/2001 9:07:14 AM EDT
I don't see why you guys are going bonkers over this. Traffic infractions are offenses; while they are not "crimes", i.e. a Misdememanor or Felony, a traffic ticket is indeed an arrest. It's simply whats called a "short form", requiring you to appear in Court at a later date. Officers in my state (can't speak for elsewhere) have always had the option of immediate arraignment for any ticket which they have reason to believe trhe Defendant will not appear as ordered by the ticket. This can include the defendants statements, out-of-state residency, prior failures to appear, etc. The seat belt section mentioned is cited as a Misdemeanor. At least in my state, that's a crime. Maybe it's a misquote on the reporters part, or thats actually a misdemeanor somewhere...hard to believe, though.
Link Posted: 4/24/2001 9:11:25 AM EDT
Originally Posted By Norm G: An infraction is not a crime.
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An infraction certainly is a crime. Examples of infractions would be possession of small amounts of Marijuana, indecent exposure, and vehicle code violations. The biggest difference between an infraction and a misdemeanor is you cant request a jury trial for an infraction.
Link Posted: 4/24/2001 9:13:29 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 4/24/2001 9:41:23 AM EDT by MindHunter]
Originally Posted By tcsd1236: (can't speak for elsewhere) have always had the option of immediate arraignment for any ticket which they have reason to believe trhe Defendant will not appear as ordered by the ticket. This can include the defendants statements, out-of-state residency, prior failures to appear, etc.
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Alaska as well. Hunter out... Edited for accuracy. I just lost an argument with a coworker. (I am not above admitting when I am wrong) Alaska has a statute that specifically forbids an arrest for an infraction that has a bail schedule set for it. I was wrong. I do however feel Alaska should repeal that statute and adopt one that forbids an arrest for a infraction UNLESS the person shows intent to not appear for court. You learn something new everyday. Hunter out again...
Link Posted: 4/24/2001 9:25:42 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 4/24/2001 9:26:38 AM EDT by MOD]
Originally Posted By mattja: The forth states "...secure in their persons...". It's not just about searching your residence.
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We are all happy you can quote the 4th amendment, now if you just knew somehting about it. If you are in your house the police can't come in unless 1)they have probable cause that a crime is being committed or 2)they have a warrant. Also, cars is given slightly less 4th amend protection than your house b/c it is mobile. This situation is like number one where the officer observed her violating the seat belt law and therefore had probable cause to stop her.
Link Posted: 4/24/2001 9:31:08 AM EDT
The following article goes into the incident more fully. The Defendant did NOT go to jail as was reported elsewhere; she was taken to the station, processed and released. Police can arrest and handcuff people even for minor offenses punishable only by a fine, the U.S. Supreme Court said Tuesday in the case of a motorist arrested and jailed for not wearing a seat belt. Ruling 5-4 in a case that could affect anyone who drives a car, the justices said such an arrest does not violate the Constitution's Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable seizures. Police generally can arrest anyone they see breaking the law, the court said as it barred a Texas woman from suing the officer who handcuffed her and took her to jail. The Fourth Amendment protects "the right of the people to be secure ... against unreasonable searches and seizures." A lower court had ruled that Gail Atwater could not sue over her arrest because the officer did not violate her constitutional rights. Atwater was driving her two children home from soccer practice in 1997 in Lago Vista, Texas, when she was stopped by a police officer who had noticed the three were not wearing seat belts. Texas law allows police to make arrests for routine traffic violations, except for speeding. The officer arrested Atwater, handcuffed her hands behind her back and took her to the city police station. A friend looked after her children and her pickup truck was towed away. Atwater's mug shot was taken and she was released after posting bond. She later pleaded no contest to the seat belt offense and paid the maximum $50 fine. Atwater and her husband, Michael Haas, sued the city and the police officer, saying the arrest violated her constitutional rights. The high court majority rejected her argument that police should not have arrested her for a crime that would carry no jail time. "The arrest and booking were inconvenient to Atwater, but not so extraordinary as to violate the Fourth Amendment," Justice David H. Souter wrote for the majority. Souter was joined by Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist and Justices Anthony M. Kennedy, Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia. Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, John Paul Stevens and Stephen Breyer dissented. A lower federal judge had thrown out Atwater's lawsuit. A three-judge appellate court reinstated it, but the full 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled she could not sue. The appeals court said the arrest was reasonable because the officer had reason to believe Atwater violated the law and the arrest was not carried out in an "extraordinary manner." The states have widely varying policies on whether police can arrest people for minor offenses. Some states allow officers to arrest people for offenses punishable only by a fine, while others prohibit it. Some states let officers arrest someone they witness committing a misdemeanor offense only if the offense is considered a breach of peace. During arguments at the Supreme Court last December, Atwater's lawyer said the Fourth Amendment restricts the use of arrest for minor offenses. The case would be different if someone were stopped for drunken or reckless driving, which could cause danger for others on the road if they were released, her lawyer said.
Link Posted: 4/24/2001 9:33:06 AM EDT
The lady was doing 15mph looking for a toy for her kids and took off her seatbelt. Frankly, I think she needs to be off the road for lack of common sense. If she's looking for a toy, she's not watching the road. If she's not watching the road, she will eventually hit something with her vehicle. How many of you have been in accidents, or know of someone in an accident and you or the person who hit you said, "But, I just took my eyes off the road for a second and then it happened."? Next step in my book, start ticketing those who don't have the sense to pull over when using their cell phone. If it's an emergency pull over and call, if it ain't, wait until you get home! awp101[grenade]
Link Posted: 4/24/2001 9:38:56 AM EDT
Maybe I am more concerned that something so fucking stoopid (i know...) ended up probably costing us and them tens of thousands of dollars for something that the darn officer could have just given a simple ticket and said 'have a nice day mam'
Link Posted: 4/24/2001 9:39:19 AM EDT
MOD, considering you do not know me and have no knowledge regarding my education in this matter, I find you to be quite arrogant in that you would suggest I know nothing about the 4th. In fact, I studied Constitutional Law in college, my father is a retired lawyer and we have discussed this matter on many occasions. When my father's law partner was a young, poor lawyer driving a beat-up Impala in the 1970's, his car was searched numerous occasions without PC. Just because the courts hold a revisionist view of the 4th doesn't mean it's the correct view. It's simply the view they hold today. Anyone with even a mild understanding of the law knows that's how the system operates.
Link Posted: 4/24/2001 9:53:23 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 4/24/2001 9:53:09 AM EDT by awp101]
Cleatus- you're right in the cost, cosidering it was a $50 fine, BUT, that is the beauty of our system. If we think the authorities are out of line, we have a course of action we can follow and hopefully get them straight. If this was over a $50 firearms violation, would we have considered it stupid? Besides, no law can keep an officer from being a jackass... awp101[uzi]
Link Posted: 4/24/2001 10:02:00 AM EDT
Oh, so it's okay to arrest peope for not wearing their seatbelts because the pig..er..cops do it everywhere already? Even Alaska? Wow, that must make it right. So is it okay to kill people who shoot at cops after they are in handcuffs because the NYPD does it? Sigh. Where is Senator McCarthy when you need him? Socialists everywhere. Sure, let's arrest people who talk on cell phones, and while we're at it, let's throw people in jail for not wearing their seat belts. There is a crime that victimizes society. Hey, since we're getting all tough with the law, lets toss people in jail for smoking in public! Or for farting in the elevator. I hate that, don't you? Let's also arrest people for looking at police officers funny, or for not having their papers on them, or for j-walking. So that we can carry out these arrests, let's arm all our pigs..er..I mean cops, with automatic weapons, M4s no less, and dress them up in helmets and body armor. Let's put checkpoints everywhere, looking for all these heinous offences and arrest everyone. Hmmm...but where will we put all these law breakers? I know! Let's make concentration camps, where we can store them! Yeah! Und zen vee can shoot zem, yah! Zat vould be gooten, yah? Das fatherland is necht for der non-seaten-belted vearin stroodlecoupf, ya? Doitchland, doitchland, uber alas.... Those of you who speak out in favor of this disgust me. You deserve whatever gun control laws you get shoved down your throat. And if any of you hipocrites have flash suppressors of collapsing stocks on your post-ban ARs, you deserve to rot in Federal jail for the rest of your lives. It's because of people like you that we face the issues we face in this country today. How dare I? You served in Nam? Killed 80,000 communists for Uncle Sam? Fought in WWII so the rest of us could be free? Don't care. It doesn't matter. Because right now, you're a fascist. Bill Wallace
Link Posted: 4/24/2001 10:09:26 AM EDT
You better pick between the 4th and the 2d. Different majorities support different sides.
Link Posted: 4/24/2001 10:10:46 AM EDT
Bill Wallace You are proof that aerial spraying of Prozac would be a good thing LOL. Hunter out...
Link Posted: 4/24/2001 10:20:07 AM EDT
Originally Posted By mattja: MOD, considering you do not know me and have no knowledge regarding my education in this matter, I find you to be quite arrogant in that you would suggest I know nothing about the 4th. In fact, I studied Constitutional Law in college, my father is a retired lawyer and we have discussed this matter on many occasions.
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You are right that I know nothing about your education. My comment was based upon your statement and the fact that it did not show any appreciable understanding or application of the law to the facts. I'm a lawyer but still, I try and say something intelligent.
Link Posted: 4/24/2001 10:42:32 AM EDT
If I were the appellant in this case I would have been pissed given the inconvenience over a seat belt violation (which is a crime), on the other hand, she is an idiot. An arrest for a traffic violaton? Can't see LE wanting to waste their time in this manner. Only time it's done in VA is where the person refuses to sign the summons- then they are taken before a magistrate (after being arrested). Legally, it seems excessive and I wish the ruling had been based on common sence notions of what constitutes an "unreasonable seizure"- Booking and mugshots for a traffic violaton? That's UNREASONABLE by any measure. What a waiste of pleading paper.
Link Posted: 4/24/2001 10:55:23 AM EDT
You civilians should quit your whining and let the cops do their jobs.
Link Posted: 4/24/2001 10:57:16 AM EDT
The SCOTUS tells us that it's reasonable that a woman was handcuffed and taken to the station for a [b]seatbelt violation[/b], one of the nanny-state laws that were passed to keep us all safe and warm and fuzzy, and all the police on the board come out to applaud and tell us how reasonable that is. Could that be because none of you folks with a badge in your pocket [b]ever[/b] have to worry about such a thing happening to you or yours? "Can I get a little professional courtesy here?" "Sure thing, have a good day. We're Code Four." The lawyers, of course, just want to debate the exact meaning of this or that given the other, hereinafter known as "That Thing Over There." Damn folks! They handcuffed her for something you and I would be pissed to get a citation for! Can I get a reality check here?? Semper Fidelis Jarhead out.
Link Posted: 4/24/2001 11:00:13 AM EDT
Originally Posted By Jarhead_22: The lawyers, of course, just want to debate the exact meaning of this or that given the other, hereinafter known as "That Thing Over There."
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Wow, you understood exactly what I was saying! Gold star for Jarhead guy!
Link Posted: 4/24/2001 11:06:36 AM EDT
Well, now that I know she's a soccer mom I won't cry as much for her. :) MOD, I'm surprised you can infer what you did from such a short statement. I'm not a lawyer like yourself and I certainly don't claim to be an expert.
Link Posted: 4/24/2001 11:13:36 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 4/24/2001 11:15:36 AM EDT by Cible]
Originally Posted By Jarhead_22: . . . [b]seatbelt violation[/b], one of the nanny-state laws that were passed to keep us all safe and warm and fuzzy.
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That's not why they were passed.
Link Posted: 4/24/2001 11:15:42 AM EDT
Arrested and handcuffed? Heck, she's lucky she wasn't dragged into a ditch and executed -- after all, without a seatbelt she might have gotten hurt and caused our insurance premiums to go up. Horrors! [:O]
If you are in your house the police can't come in unless 1)they have probable cause that a crime is being committed or 2)they have a warrant. Also, cars is given slightly less 4th amend protection than your house b/c it is mobile.
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And if you aren't in your home or in your car...?
Link Posted: 4/24/2001 11:21:22 AM EDT
Originally Posted By Cible: That's not why they were passed.
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How important is that to my central point? They were passed to keep us safe, right? And I need the state to worry about how safe I am when going 75 mph (an inherently risky activity) why? If Texas doesn't require me to wear a helmet when riding on a motorcycle, why should they care if I wear a seatbelt in a car? What's next? Mandatory floaties in the swimming pool? Wearing mouthpieces when eating a jawbreaker? Regardless, the central point of my post remains. Semper Fidelis Jarhead out.
Link Posted: 4/24/2001 11:25:28 AM EDT
Originally Posted By MOD: If you are in your house the police can't come in unless 1)they have probable cause that a crime is being committed or 2)they have a warrant.
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Actually, there are between 9 and 11 (depending on which opinion you read) enumerated exceptions to a warrant requirement when LE enters a home. I don't remember seeing one that said a warrentless entry was OK if they had probable cause "that a crime is being committed". I believe a little more is required. The Welch case outlines the factors pretty well and the Court talks about "degree of urgency", "danger to others", "contraband being destroyed" etc. See Welch v. Wisconsin, 466 U.S. at 750. It's not just that "a crime is being committed". The reason is pretty simple: Long ago, the Sup. Ct. wisely proclaimed that warrantless entries into a home were [i]per se[/i] unreasonable and shifted the burden to the government to prove it was otherwise.
Link Posted: 4/24/2001 11:27:24 AM EDT
What this comes down to is that she argued that her arrest was an unreasonable seizure given the severity (or lack thereof) of her crime. The 4th doesn't say anything about how severe a crime must or must not be before they can arrest you. The issue of stops and searches of persons on the street is quite complicated, but I believe the cops must always have PC if they don't see you committing a crime.
Link Posted: 4/24/2001 11:31:19 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 4/24/2001 11:32:29 AM EDT by MOD]
Steve: You are right, I thought I would just stick with generalities. One that I do remember from my bar prep class is that of "hot pursuit", LE can enter you home to chase someone but must be right behind them and you better not leave the drugs on the table.
Link Posted: 4/24/2001 12:55:42 PM EDT
Originally Posted By MOD: The issue of stops and searches of persons on the street is quite complicated, but I believe the cops must always have PC if they don't see you committing a crime.
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But let's not forget that LE can stop you and even detain you briefly if they can articulate a reasonable suspicion of criminal activity that may be afoot (Terry). This standard is less than PC. In recent years, there has even been yet a lesser standard required for detaining someone in the context of an "investigative detention", which, according to the Sup. Ct., does not even implicate the 4th amendment because of its non-intrusiveness. These cases involve questioning a citizen, very briefly, about a matter that does not involve the citizen as suspect.
Link Posted: 4/24/2001 3:22:20 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Jarhead_22:
Originally Posted By Cible: That's not why they were passed.
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How important is that to my central point? They were passed to keep us safe, right?
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Uhhhhhh, no. Make no mistake, they were passed to reduce the costs of medical care spent on accident victims. That you are "safe" is an incidental benefit. Helmet laws? The savings are less clear. Many less riders, nothing really matters oner about 35 m.p.h. anyways. Didja know that since passing seat belt laws, most auto deaths are from head injuries? Wellhowdoyoulikethemapples? Some serious money to be saved from massive CNS injuries too, but people in cars are willing to accept that level of risk and expense over that discomfort.
Regardless, the central point of my post remains. Jarhead out.
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Link Posted: 4/24/2001 3:41:22 PM EDT
Well, it looks like the conservative (?) majority came to the wrong conclusion for the right reasons. I'm not one to bitch too much about this. Texas (yes'm that's right Our Texas) got it wrong when it permitted incarceration in situations such as the one in this case. No doubt about it! It's a state problem, simply put. We can't let the USSCT go around invalidating state laws on a whim, when a bare majority senses 'injustice' in the air. It's up to Texas to cure this problem, as well as any other states with similar laws. [b]Is this, or is this not, what one would expect in a POLICE STATE?[/b] What if a 'friend' could not come and pick up the children? Would the children then be placed in a juvenile detention facility until someone (such as the bailed-out mother) could come and claim them? This is too much for a simple traffic offense! Shame on you five (5) inJustices! But more shame on Texas for permitting the law in the first place! Eric The (Texas) Hun
Link Posted: 4/24/2001 4:10:27 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 4/24/2001 4:11:15 PM EDT by BigZ]
Anyone on this Forum who defends the Supreme Court ruling regarding seatbelts is an [size=5][b] ASSHOLE!![/b] [/size=5] Plain and simple. Don’t ever bitch and moan about your GUN rights. AR15.COM is all about our personal freedom. Just wait until they take away your guns for being arrested on a ridiculous charge such as this. To think that someone on this forum believes this ruling is OK makes me sick!
Link Posted: 4/24/2001 5:01:51 PM EDT
You guys know what is next dont you? A rolling stop at a stop sign and off to jail you go. How about not using your signal light when you make a turn, off to the big house for you. Giving police this kind of power is dangerous. They can now do whatever they want to whoever because they can arrest you for nothing. A little resistance may be needed on this.
Link Posted: 4/24/2001 5:10:32 PM EDT
And if she`s good lookin`, for sexual favors the incident could possibly be overlooked........HEY...it HAPPENS.....freedom?...justice?...yeah, sometimes!!!!![sniper]
Link Posted: 4/24/2001 5:54:07 PM EDT
The jails are crowded enough, I don't see the police really enforcing this. If someone is being an asshole, yes they may haul their ass to jail but otherwise I think they have bigger fish to fry. Besides very soon they will be looking for those people with deadly assault rifles like the Marlin model 60 and Ruger 10/22 [:)]
Link Posted: 4/25/2001 5:23:48 AM EDT
I heard on the radio this morning that a Texas state legislator named Gallegos introduced a bill yesterday that would make it illegal for police to [b]handcuff and haul to the station[/b] someone who commits a violation for which the only penalty is a fine. So you guys who were defending this indefensible travesty of justice will be bummin' I guess, if you're Texas LEOs, huh? And Cible, reGoddamnedgardless of why seat belt laws were passed, like I said, the central point of my original post in this thread remains: It is asinine, cruel and an abuse of power to hook 'em up and drag 'em in for what's basically an administrative proceeding. Semper Fidelis Jarhead out.
Link Posted: 4/25/2001 10:30:21 AM EDT
It sounds like the lawyers have been writing laws for entirely too long. When the Supreme Court can quibble over the fine points of this kind of junk, find how many? 9 to 11 exceptions to one of the Bill of Rights, when congress can write hundreds of laws affecting speech when the first amendment clearly says "Congress shall make no law ..." The gun laws we have that infringe when the second clearly says " ... shall not be infringed." About the only Constitutional right intact is the Third Amandment and that only because it's no longer convenient. Read throught all the amendments, see how many are even close to being supported or defended by those who swore to. Time for another revolution. The government has gotten too entrenched, writing too many stupid laws, infringing on too many freedoms, passing too many taxes all for their own benefit. Time to shoot all the lawyers, all the judges, all the politicians and start over. This kind of crap is ridiculous. Norm
Link Posted: 4/25/2001 11:08:03 AM EDT
Originally Posted by Norm G - Time to shoot all the lawyers...
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Now, uh, Norm G, I've already requested amnesty on this Board in the event of Revolution.[:D] Eric The Hun, Esq.
Link Posted: 4/25/2001 11:15:38 AM EDT
Great, the next time I am driving through some back woods county and the cop wants to pull me over because I was "swerving and driving in a reckless manner" I can be thrown in jail and left there for a few days until I can get a lawyer and prove that nothing was amiss. This does not sound like a free country to me.
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