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Supreme Court rules Ignorance of the Law IS an excuse for Officers

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posted on Jan, 22 2015 @ 08:37 AM
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Didn't find this in a search.
Also not convinced it's in the right forum, but I cannot seem to post in "Posse Comitatus"


In 2009, Nicholas Heien and a friend were traveling down a North Carolina highway when they were pulled over for having a broken tail light. A subsequent search of the car found a plastic bag containing coc aine. It turns out, though, that police had no legal right to stop the car in the first place because, under North Carolina law, having a single broken tail light is not an offense. Heien contended that just as ordinary citizens cannot claim ignorance of the law as a defense, police can't either, and because the traffic stop was illegal, the evidence from the search that followed should not have been permitted in evidence against him.



But the Supreme Court, by an 8-1 vote, ruled that since the officer's mistake was reasonable, it did not violate the constitution's ban on unreasonable searches and seizures.


Source

So now an officer can just "misunderstand" a law and it's okay for them to break it.
Nice.

I love the double standard, here- officer is caught with child porn but the search wasn't technically legal, so he goes free.
Some kid has a party favor in his car and gets caught by a search that isn't technically legal, and he's in trouble.

I guess I should have been a first class citizen instead- must be nice to be above the law.




posted on Jan, 22 2015 @ 08:43 AM
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a reply to: lordcomac
This pisses me off.

Goose/gander.... all that.



posted on Jan, 22 2015 @ 08:44 AM
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a reply to: lordcomac

I agree...this as N.L.B.S.

A person whose job is to know the law can be ignorant of it and that is OK, but a regular joe that doesn't even know as they pass complex legislation on the back of another mundane rules change must have the supreme courts ability to know and interpret legalese..... Wtf?

I can't wait to watch this pos country implode under the weight of its own be.



posted on Jan, 22 2015 @ 08:49 AM
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a reply to: lordcomac

Another excuse to turn their backs on their oath and the citizens that essentially pay their salaries and adverse judgments.

Defund departments before it's too late.



posted on Jan, 22 2015 @ 09:02 AM
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What is the name of this case, btw? The artice doesn't state that - I am pissed and want to read Soto's dissenting opinion. Wtf it doesn't violate 'UN-reasonable' searches and seizures?

Edit to add: found it by searching 'Heinen SCOTUS'

The case is "Heinen Vs North Carolina" (duh): www.scotusblog.com...


edit on 22-1-2015 by kissy princess because: added link

edit on 22-1-2015 by kissy princess because: typo



posted on Jan, 22 2015 @ 09:16 AM
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So these people who are supposed to be Enforcing the Law, can unlawfully subject civilians to searches and seizures, and then retroactively claim they didn't know what they were doing was illegal? AND they can still prosecute the civilian after all that?

It goes from bad to worse - what in the world could justify this. it is beyond my understanding. Grrr


a reply to: lordcomac



posted on Jan, 22 2015 @ 09:34 AM
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I'm one of the last people to defend a cop these days, but it wasn't "unreasonable" to stop the person for a missing taillight, IMO. I agree with the SCOTUS ruling in this case.

SCOTUS Blog


On appeal, the North Carolina appellate courts surprisingly ruled that the outdated state vehicle code required only one working brake light (“a” stop lamp, in the words of the statute); therefore, there had been no violation of law that would permit the stop. The officer made no error about the facts; but he had been mistaken about the meaning of the law. However, the North Carolina Supreme Court ruled, the officer’s mistake about this law was “reasonable,” and for that reason the Fourth Amendment right to be secure from “unreasonable … seizures” was not violated.



posted on Jan, 22 2015 @ 09:36 AM
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Gah.... Brain cramp..

Whiskey tango foxtrot..

Yea stop the planet it's time to get off..



posted on Jan, 22 2015 @ 09:37 AM
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a reply to: Benevolent Heretic
I am not sure how reasonable it is for the police to be so unfamiliar with the laws that they are enforcing that they can't do it properly.



posted on Jan, 22 2015 @ 09:59 AM
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To be fair, I don't see a problem with stopping someone and telling them they've got a light out.
Searching their car over it, however, is totally unreasonable.

Up here, I got a ticket last time I had a light out- His argument for a ticket and not a warning was that he had seen me around town before with the light out. You know, because I'm supposed to just know when I've got a brake light out, apparently. Jerk.

The girl, though (she's cute, has tits, etc) had ALL three of her brake lights out last time she went in for an inspection sticker. Never once got pulled over, and nobody was like "hey you know you don't have ANY BRAKE LIGHTS right?"
Amazed she didn't get crushed by an SUV.

Serve and protect- Yeah, right.



posted on Jan, 22 2015 @ 10:06 AM
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Text deleted, due to a clarification post below by Jamie telling us that the case decision was read wrong. Thanks.
edit on 22-1-2015 by Aleister because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 22 2015 @ 10:13 AM
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I think on average, most Americans commit up to 3 felonies a day. One law after another. And we still question the notion of police state?



posted on Jan, 22 2015 @ 10:17 AM
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a reply to: CottonwoodStormy

I don't think I commit any felonies a day, so someone must be taking up my slack. I hope they're committing some fun ones, those darn felons.



posted on Jan, 22 2015 @ 10:24 AM
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You might want to read the actual article:

"The traffic stop and the subsequent consensual search of the car were therefore also reasonable.

The maxim "ignorance of the law is no excuse," does not apply here, Chief Justice Roberts maintained, because Heien "is not appealing a brake light ticket; he is appealing a coc aine-trafficking conviction as to which there is no asserted mistake of fact or law."


The search was consensual.

She's appealing the coc aine conviction, of which there is no mistake of fact or law.


edit on 22-1-2015 by Jamie1 because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 22 2015 @ 10:24 AM
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originally posted by: butcherguy
a reply to: Benevolent Heretic
I am not sure how reasonable it is for the police to be so unfamiliar with the laws that they are enforcing that they can't do it properly.


He was familiar with the law. His mistake was in interpretation. The whole thing comes down to the SC's interpretation of "reasonable" and "unreasonable" as regards the 4th amendment.

In any case, holding the cops to a different standard than civilians IS wrong. If a regular Joe misunderstood the law, he wouldn't get the same leeway. So, I see the point, I just agree with the ruling. The same "reasonableness" criteria should be used when judging us regular people.



posted on Jan, 22 2015 @ 11:16 AM
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I have been driving for over 25 years, and pretty much EVERYWHERE I know.

Broken tail light is enough to get anyone pulled over anywhere.

Ignorance my snip.



posted on Jan, 22 2015 @ 11:19 AM
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a reply to: butcherguy

The way the law is written requires interpretation by LE because of the wording. Which is a point that Sotomayor cited in her dissenting opinion.

The complainant gave permission to the search. Trying to then paint that search as unreasonable doesn't really work.

Beyond that, "ignorance of the law" is actually sometimes a legitimate defense for people. Doesn't happen too often, but it has happened. So the people trying to make this out to be some double standard are a wee bit off base.

Oaths and such



posted on Jan, 22 2015 @ 11:43 AM
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originally posted by: Benevolent Heretic

originally posted by: butcherguy
a reply to: Benevolent Heretic
I am not sure how reasonable it is for the police to be so unfamiliar with the laws that they are enforcing that they can't do it properly.


He was familiar with the law. His mistake was in interpretation. The whole thing comes down to the SC's interpretation of "reasonable" and "unreasonable" as regards the 4th amendment.

In any case, holding the cops to a different standard than civilians IS wrong. If a regular Joe misunderstood the law, he wouldn't get the same leeway. So, I see the point, I just agree with the ruling. The same "reasonableness" criteria should be used when judging us regular people.

Sorry, both you and Shamrock have it right.
It was a case of not reading enough about the case and a little premature click-u-lation on my part.
Thanks to both of you for straightening me out in this matter.



posted on Jan, 22 2015 @ 11:47 AM
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a reply to: butcherguy

No worries man. The beauty of ATS comes through once again


Also not all of what I said was directed at you. I probably should've noted that in there somewhere. My bad



posted on Jan, 22 2015 @ 11:57 AM
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originally posted by: InverseLookingGlass
Defund departments before it's too late.


Absolutely correct, we need to start cutting off the money supply

LEOs are in place to do the following and NOTHING MORE:

1. Protect themselves.
2. Maximize their total compensation.
3. Act as a source of revenue generation for the department currently employing them, the union they belong to and the local governments authorizing their activities.
4. Protecting the commercial interests of national corporations (with PAC's lobbying on their behalf)
5. Protecting the private property of large land owners, residing within their jurisdiction, that are also contributing to and participate in local politics
6. Controlling dissenting narratives that would interfere with 1-5.

They’ve been totally co-opted, insulated from consequences and the citizens are picking up the tab. Its that simple, but no one understands this, nor are many willing to accept these facts. Also most importantly, that’s how Fascism works and in turn uses domestic police forces. This is the simplest answer that nearly everyone continues to ignore.

We should ALL be trying to de-fund police departments, instead of trying to prosecute their employees or change laws. Such measures have proven overwhelming to be ineffective. De-funding police departments is perfectly legal and solves the bad apple problem MUCH faster, than legal action in the court system.

Activists should be finding ways to legally cut the budget for NYPD and all the other PD's acting illegally, forming their own PAC's (Political Action Committee) focused on chipping away at this single Budget reduction issue, little by little. Cutting off the money supply will stop them dead, cold, in their tracks.
edit on 22-1-2015 by boohoo because: (no reason given)



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