Warning

 

Close

Confirm Action

Are you sure you wish to do this?

Confirm Cancel
Member Login
Posted: 1/27/2002 5:13:19 AM EDT
This is just an opinion question. Do you as an LEO think that a blatently unconstitotional order should be punisishable by jail time? how bout an unconstitotional act? I am not talking about enforcing laws on the books or a questionable search. What I am talking about is (hypothetically) if your superior told you to say quarter troops in someones home or without a warrent told you to go house to house and search peoples homes. Or if an officer did this on there own? Dou you think that this should be a crime with a jail sentance?
Link Posted: 1/27/2002 6:36:17 AM EDT
My opinion- no, but for three reasons: 1) When the order was refused, there would be no victim. 2) If a police officer was the one who issued the order, the department itself would punish the individual. This could include a loss of employment, lost wages, demotion, etc.. 3) There already is a system for dealing with such violations. It is called a tort, better known as a lawsuit. This is the remedy that could be applied against politicians, LEOs, and everyone else who might have the ability to give such an order. You are talking about a violation of civil rights, not criminal law.
Link Posted: 1/27/2002 6:45:52 AM EDT
It basically already is. Most states have laws that cover "Official Misconduct" or "Official Oppression" which are basically laws that forbid public servants (not just LE) from using their position to commit a violation of the law, like trespassing or unlawful use of force. There is also the dreaded federal "1983" (not the year, but the US Code" violation, which is basically a public servant, under the color of the law, acts to unlafully deprive a person of their civil rights. A true Section 1983 violation gets investigated by the FBI and can result in a Federal prosecution or lawsuit.
Link Posted: 1/27/2002 8:43:54 AM EDT
Mike T 1. LEOs enforce vitimless Laws all the time. And I was talking about if the order was followed. 2. I do not believe Departments will punish the officers (case in point a local PD around me has told its Officers that they can basically do what they want, Illegal searches for example, because the worst that will happen is it will be thrown out of court. I believe there should be consiquenses just like in the civilian world. 3. Yes you can sue, but if a violation of Civil rights will land a civilian in jail whay not an LEO?
Link Posted: 1/27/2002 9:06:53 AM EDT
In many states, "official misconduct" is a crime punishable by jail time. An officer in my department got convicted of this for an unlawful use of force. And you can also be held criminally liable by the Feds for violating someone's civil rights. As far as the police 'quartering someone in a citizen's home', WTF? Warrantless house-to-house searches ordered by a supervisor? Do you really think those things are going to happen? Those are a whole different story than a search of a car or pedestrian on what some may see as insufficient probable cause.
Link Posted: 1/27/2002 10:42:43 AM EDT
Originally Posted By ADTECHARMS: Mike T 1. LEOs enforce vitimless Laws all the time. And I was talking about if the order was followed. "Victimless crime" would indicate...a crime. You are talking about a violation of civil rights. They are not the same thing and can not be lumped together. 2. I do not believe Departments will punish the officers (case in point a local PD around me has told its Officers that they can basically do what they want, Illegal searches for example, because the worst that will happen is it will be thrown out of court. I believe there should be consiquenses just like in the civilian world. Believe what you will. I can not and will not be able to change your mind on a forum. Please enlighten me for the consequences of an illegal search in the civilian world. I believe the consequences are the exact same in any scenario you bring up. 3. Yes you can sue, but if a violation of Civil rights will land a civilian in jail whay not an LEO? Actuallly- the punishment for a LEO for a violation of a civil right can result in prison as well as monetary damages. A regular civilian does not face this. HE/she only faces monetary damages.
Link Posted: 1/27/2002 1:08:07 PM EDT
No I do not think that they will quarter troops or do house to house searches. I was just coming up with something everyone here would agree on is blatently unconstitotional. And Mike T yes civilians can also goto jail for violating Civil Rights. And if there was an illiegal "Search and Seizure" by a civilian and not an LEO there would be jail time it is called Tresspassing, Breaking and Entering and Larceny. Another question for you. If an LEO Seizes an item illegally and the court says it was illegal, Why is it not Larceny? I did not know about "Offical Misconduct" as a crime. Thank you for your Info on that.
Link Posted: 1/27/2002 2:10:10 PM EDT
NO, civilians can not go to jail for violating civil rights unless they are elected or appointed officials. Once again, a violation of civil rights and a criminal code violation are not the same thing. There is no civil rights statute for trespassing, B&E, etc. Breaking and entering, trespassing, etc are crimes. Doesn't matter who the violator is. That however, is not what you asked. To quote you: "This is just an opinion question. Do you as an LEO think that a blatently unconstitotional order should be punisishable by jail time? how bout an unconstitotional act?" You asked about unconstitutional acts. Not criminal violations.
Link Posted: 1/27/2002 3:29:52 PM EDT
The reason that officers are not prosecuted for 'larceny' if a court rules they found something as a result of a bad search is that the rules of search and seizure are not as iron-clad and easy for the cop on the beat to understand as you may think. The courts say that we need 'probable cause' for a search without a warrant of say, a pedestrian or a car. Well, what is 'probable cause'? The textbook answer is that it means the officer has an objectively reasonable belief that contraband or other evidence of a crime is present in the area in question. Sounds simple, doesn't it? Well, try applying it in hundreds of different situations out on the street, WITHOUT the benefit of a judge or prosecutor to advise you. Just because a judge who never spent a day as a cop and has no idea how things actually happen on the street doesn't agree that you had quite enough to search that car, doesn't mean that there was any criminal intent on the officer's part to violate anyone's civil rights, and that's what is required to raise the officer's conduct to the level of a criminal offense. As far as larceny, in most states that requires an intent to permanently deprive someone of their lawful property. If evidence that someone can lawfully possess is taken as evidence and the judge rules the search was illegal, the person gets the item back. If the item was contraband (cocaine, etc), then it was not LAWFULLY possessed and the defendant is not entitled to get it back regardless of the outcome of the suppression hearing. The point you seem to be missing is that many of the rules that govern normal people's conduct do not apply to on-duty police in many situations. We can stop people, go on their property without permission, seize items, etc. It's an integral part of the job. The courts realize that we don't have legal counsel available to us to tell us how the courts are going to rule on our actions before we take them (not that they would know, anyway- given the same situation, you would get three different opinions out of three different judges). So, they give us considerable leeway as far as criminal liability for what we do. If we do something intentionally to violate someone's rights, rather than make a good-faith judgment that some judge disagrees with a year later, then we can (and should) be held criminally liable. However, we aren't expected to be perfect (by the courts, anyway). Your question is just too broad. Maybe if you give some specific scenarios we could assist you better.
Link Posted: 1/28/2002 7:02:52 AM EDT
Good points all, but let me add: I am duty bound to refuse an unlawful or unconstitutional order. That said, since 1983 I have yet to receive one. It would be a good idea for those in the conspiracy looney bin to understand that just because they don't like a law does not automatically render it unconstitutional. We had an officer killed last year (with an assault rifle) by a nutcase that thought seatbelt laws were a sign of the apocalypse. About "quartering". The idea of the police turning your home into a bed-and-breakfast is just way out there in left field. Lastly, prostitution is not a "victimless crime" I don't believe there is such a thing.
Top Top