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Absurd Fourth Circuit ruling embodies everything that’s wrong with drug raids

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posted on Mar, 27 2015 @ 01:57 PM
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Absurd Fourth Circuit ruling embodies everything that’s wrong with drug raids

So while everyone complains about amendments like the first and the second being violated, few realize that one amendment has been under attack for the better part of 50 years starting with the Nixon Administration's War on Drugs and only escalating from there. First, before we being this is a long article and I won't be able to copy paste all of it. I HIGHLY suggest that you read the whole thing, it is a very illuminating account of the state our our Fourth Amendment. Also second, I will now post the Fourth Amendment below so all know what we are talking about.

Fourth Amendment


The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects,[a] against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.[2]


Take all of that in, it will become important later as your blood starts to boil. Let's move onto the article I linked at the beginning of the thread.


Earlier this month, a three-judge panel from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit issued an appalling decision in a lawsuit stemming from a fatal 2005 drug raid in Maryland. In fact, the opinion encapsulates everything that’s wrong with sending militarized police barreling into homes to serve search warrants on people suspected of nonviolent, consensual crimes.

Here’s what happened:

In May 2005, police in Cambridge, Md., received an anonymous tip that there was drug activity going on in the duplex at 408 High St. (Yes, that’s the real name of the street.) They did a trash pull and found what they claimed to be two plastic bags, one from each apartment, that contained marijuana residue. That’s it. That’s the probable cause for what happened next.

At 4:30 a.m. on May 6, SWAT teams from the Cambridge Police Department conducted simultaneous raids on the two apartments. According to the police, during the raid on the upstairs apartment, resident Andrew Cornish emerged from his bedroom carrying a knife, which was still in its sheath. The police say Cornish then confronted them, at which point one of the officers shot Cornish in the face and forehead. Cornish died. According to the court, the police found “a small amount of marijuana” in the apartment. By the officers’ testimony, the raid took less than a minute.


So what we have here is one of the typical no knock raid situations that we read about on ATS regularly. Some poor kid threw him empty marijuana baggy into the trash, a nosy neighbor calls the cops, cops come out find baggies with "marijuana residue", then at 4:30 in the morning storm the house and end up shooting the kid who had an unsheathed knife on him. The cops only end up finding a small amount of pot after the raid is over. Now that is certainly enough to get many people angry, but keep in mind this happened back in 2005. I'm not making this thread to talk about the raid. I'm making the thread to talk about what happened afterwards.

Keep in mind that the Fourth Amendment was a throw back to the Quartering Act enacted against Boston in pre-Revolutionary times. Let's take a trip down memory lane here.


But it’s worth considering the absurdity of that position. In the 20 or so years leading up to the American Revolution, the British crown began stationing troops in the streets of Boston to enforce England’s tax and import laws. The British troops and enforcement officers were armed with writs of assistance, or general warrants that gave them broad powers to search colonists’ homes. They didn’t need to establish probable cause, or even specificity as to a person or residence. The abuse that came with those warrants made Boston a hub of revolutionary fervor, and memories of that abuse are why the Founders created a Fourth Amendment after the war.

But while today’s search warrants require both specificity and some evidence of wrongdoing, in many ways the colonists had more protections than we do today. For example, the British soldiers could serve warrants only during the day. And they were always required to knock, announce themselves, announce their purpose and give the resident time and opportunity to come to the door to let them in peacefully. This was all in observance of the Castle Doctrine, or the idea that the home should be a place of peace and sanctuary and that it should be violated only in the most extreme circumstances. Even then, the Castle Doctrine had a rich history in English common law, a tradition that carried over in the United States until the Supreme Court began chipping away at it in drug cases, beginning in about the 1960s.

edit on Fri Mar 27 2015 by DontTreadOnMe because: trimmed very long quotes IMPORTANT: Using Content From Other Websites on ATS




posted on Mar, 27 2015 @ 01:57 PM
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[cont]
These raids are becoming a threat to human freedom. The courts regularly side with the police on these matters, giving them the benefit of the doubt EVEN when it has been established that the police screwed up the raid, meanwhile the victims end up having to have super high vigilence. This poor kid was probably half awake when they kicked his door down. Saw some people and rushed them with a knife thinking he was being robbed.


Which brings us back to the Maryland raid that ended Andrew Cornish’s life. In that raid, the police actually violated the already watered-down knock-and-announce requirement. In fact, they were caught lying about whether they knocked and announced before entering. They initially claimed that they pounded on the door and loudly announced themselves two times before taking a battering ram to the door. But the residents of the downstairs apartment, which was raided at the same time, testified that they never heard a knock or an announcement. Moreover, the outer door to Cornish’s apartment showed no signs of having been smashed open with a ram. Both the trial court and the appeals court that ruled against Cornish’s father acknowledge that the police violated the knock-and-announce rule and that they lied about doing so.

That still wasn’t enough for Cornish’s father to win damages. That’s because the majority found that even though the police violated Cornish’s constitutional rights by failing to give him the opportunity to come to the door and let them in peacefully — as required by centuries of common law — Cornish’s death wasn’t the fault of the police officer who shot him. Instead, the majority ruled that Cornish is responsible for his own death, because according to police, he should have known that they were the police when he attacked them with a sheathed knife, and his act of knowingly attacking the police after they had entered his home supersedes their failure to knock and announce.


The article continues on about the hypocrisies in the court's argument, I suggest you read it. I want to hone in a bit further into the article though.


But what’s especially troubling about this ruling is that the majority not only gives enormous deference to police and shows little to no consideration for Cornish, but it also gives deference to the police even while acknowledging that the police have already lied about both knocking and announcing and the method by which they entered Cornish’s apartment. They simply assume that everything in the police narrative after those lies is accurate. For example, it defers to the police account that the room in which Cornish confronted the officers was “illuminated” (which leads it to conclude that he should have seen the relatively small police insignia on their uniforms). But Harris points out that there’s good reason to think the room wasn’t all that illuminated. Indeed, it’s likely that the jury didn’t think so.


This is unacceptable. Why do police get the benefit of the doubt here? Why can't they be held to task for screwing an innocent's life up? But worst of all, even if poor Cornish's father is able to reappeal this decision, all he will get is money. Well tax money, in other words the public pays for the officers' mistakes. The officers aren't going to be held accountable and won't see a reduction in pay.


Moreover, if Scalia was right in Hudson — if lawsuits can serve as a deterrent to knock-and-announce violations — it’s hard to think of a better case to support his point than this one. Even here, the amount of the award is relatively small, and it would have been paid by the taxpayers of Cambridge, not the individual officers. Which is to say that even with this pretty ideal case, the deterrent effect would have been slight. And yet even here, a federal appeals court has refused to impose any sort of sanction against the officers, even after acknowledging that the officers did indeed commit a Fourth Amendment violation, and even after acknowledging that they subsequently lied about it. And the court refused to impose a sanction because, according to the court, no reasonable person could possibly have been confused about the identity of the armed intruders, even though said intruders violated the requirement that exists for the very purpose of assuring there is no such confusion.


Even with all this, I still had to cut a bunch of the article out. Again I highly suggest you read the whole thing, because it outlines more points and really highlights the problem with this whole situation. What say you ATS? Where is our Fourth Amendment?
edit on Fri Mar 27 2015 by DontTreadOnMe because: trimmed very long quotes IMPORTANT: Using Content From Other Websites on ATS



posted on Mar, 27 2015 @ 02:08 PM
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a reply to: Krazysh0t

From what I understand, your 4th amendment was destroyed by the patriot act



posted on Mar, 27 2015 @ 02:13 PM
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a reply to: Autorico

Yes, the Patriot Act did contribute to it, but most of it was gutted before Bush even took office. We can thank Reagan for that and ramping the War on Drugs into overdrive.



posted on Mar, 27 2015 @ 02:15 PM
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a reply to: Krazysh0t

It would be nice if they used their manpower and resources to get rid of gangs-an actual deadly menace and threat to civilians.

But that would make too much sense-and get Jesse and Al screaming racism.



posted on Mar, 27 2015 @ 02:16 PM
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a reply to: Krazysh0t

I guess you can also thank him for a whole lot of non violent criminals being in jail as well. The whole war on drugs thing is such a farce.



posted on Mar, 27 2015 @ 02:16 PM
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a reply to: FalcoFan

So your solution is to turn our ghettos into warzones? Why can't we just end the war on drugs?
edit on 27-3-2015 by Krazysh0t because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 27 2015 @ 02:17 PM
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a reply to: Autorico

I saw a recent thread on ATS about a bill being proposed to repeal the Patriot Act.

I'll try to find it.



posted on Mar, 27 2015 @ 02:17 PM
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a reply to: FalcoFan

Why would Jesse or Al care about white gangbangers?



posted on Mar, 27 2015 @ 02:21 PM
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a reply to: Krazysh0t

They already ARE warzones-and the violence spreads into other communities.

(but don't believe me-I have just lived in one of the normally top 3 deadliest cities-Memphis,Tn- annually in the U.S. for the past 10 yrs and see it everyday)

Yes-I would welcome a militaristic presence in my city to kill the gangs.



posted on Mar, 27 2015 @ 02:22 PM
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a reply to: Autorico

They don't-they would just scream about the black ones being taken out.



posted on Mar, 27 2015 @ 02:26 PM
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a reply to: FalcoFan

I live in Baltimore and an am hour drive away from DC. So I know first hand about the dangers of high crime rate cities. That being said, putting a military presence in our cities to combat the gangs would make the situation FAR worse than it already is. For one, it is a violation of posse comitatus. For two, it is just a step further down the erosion of rights issue that I brought up in the OP. For three, there is already a proven way we can get the gang violence under control. End the war on drugs. It is a failure and one of the most freedom infringing things our government has ever undertaken.



posted on Mar, 27 2015 @ 02:28 PM
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a reply to: Krazysh0t

Considering a lot of organized crime use drugs as currency, ending the war would deal a significant blow.



posted on Mar, 27 2015 @ 02:37 PM
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Cornish’s death wasn’t the fault of the police officer who shot him. Instead, the majority ruled that Cornish is responsible for his own death, because according to police, he should have known that they were the police when he attacked them with a sheathed knife, and his act of knowingly attacking the police after they had entered his home supersedes their failure to knock and announce.

It is an utterly absurd ruling. Police don’t raid homes at 4:30 a.m, with battering rams in order to let suspects know that they’re the police. They raid homes at 4:30 a.m. with battering rams for the very purpose of disorienting and confusing suspects so that they can take them by surprise. You can’t simultaneously argue that confusing and disorienting a suspect is necessary to protect the safety of police officers, and that the same suspect you’re trying to confuse and disorient should be able to wake from a sleep, process what’s going on around him, immediately discern that the armed men who have just broken into his home are police serving a warrant and not criminals there to do him harm, and that should he make an error in judgment, he alone is responsible for the consequences — whether it’s the end of his own life, or his killing, or the injuring of one of the police officers.


Nice bit of having ones cake and eating it too in this bit. How many times have we seen it argued, even on this site, that these no knock raids are a necessary tool to surprise targets and prevent them from disposing of evidence? Now it appears, at least in this particular ruling, that the court has decided that despite using a tactic specifically to take targets by surprise, those same targets should have been 100% conscious of what was happening. That is some serious spin by the court.



posted on Mar, 27 2015 @ 02:41 PM
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a reply to: FraggleRock

I know. It's sick. Require the person half-awake, with zero training, and not really expecting a raid on his house to be alert and able to discern the difference between men in dark outfits robbing him from men in dark outfits raiding his place for contraband.



posted on Mar, 27 2015 @ 02:45 PM
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The upshot is we have a significant portion of the population made into enemy/criminals, even though they are not guilty of any violence, malice, threats or even of financial malfeasance (except maybe paying taxes on the substances)... in fact, most recreational users aren't the degenerates most 'solid citizens' picture when thinking of "drug users." They could be a professional or in your own family, for pity's sake.

And as for those gangs... I'd argue the whole problem stems from the easy money available through the black market (no, not racial black...sigh) in the first darn place... no war on drugs, no gangs... gee, remember prohibition? Capone?

Utterly idiotic... and it could be argued it is a lazy, supremely stupid, thuggish method to attempt to solve a societal/economic problem (where it is a problem at all, that is) that would be much better handled with education ... simple information and engagement that brings the drug addicts back into a friendly society.

An armed, hostile, undifferentiated "zero tolerance" military response is ... very, very, very bad.

And as far as recreational users of non-addicting substances... even regulating that is folly and a quick way to the same untenable situation we find ourselves in today. Try some freedom and engagement... simple old fashioned wisdom and communication... our world would be so much better.

eta: the caveat, as mentioned below, is CORRECT information being disseminated. Not blind scare tactics that teach kids the propaganda is just that... propaganda. And addicting drugs are a sign of a societal problem, not a cause... at first, anyway. This is something better handled by families and medical professional... not SWAT teams.
edit on 3/27/2015 by Baddogma because: add



posted on Mar, 27 2015 @ 02:48 PM
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a reply to: Krazysh0t

Drugs aren't the main reason these animals are in gangs-they know that it is easier to rape,rob,and murder in large groups.

2 good sweeps in my city would work wonders.

The trick is to make them fear joining gangs-by having the military/cops kill them in large numbers.

Are they not terrorists?



posted on Mar, 27 2015 @ 02:49 PM
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a reply to: Baddogma

When it comes to education, you have to be careful. If you sling a bunch of propaganda, lies, and hyperbole people will quickly realize and call you on your bs. Then they will use to spite you and things will be worse off then they started.

Why "Just Say No" Doesn't Work

Education is certainly the key, but it must be PROPER education. Tell kids the truth. Show them that no drugs won't out and out kill you for just using once, but that first time CAN lead to abuse down the line. Teach moderation.



posted on Mar, 27 2015 @ 02:51 PM
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a reply to: Krazysh0t

I am not trying to be argumentative, I have an honest question. How is ending the war on drugs going to solve the plight on society that is caused by drugs? Making drugs legal is not going to lower crime stats (other than drug arrests). B&E, robbery, assault, murder, will remain the same if not increase once drugs are able to be sold in the open.

As far as police not going after gangs, of course they aren't going to do that. Gang members are dangerous. It's far easier to feed your false bravado when you take down little jimmy the pot smoking teen with a "two piece", rather than Two Kilo James the leader of Cash Flow Posse next door could actually shoot back at you.

I've seen two other posters say they are from bad areas, I am too. I have to say the normal people here (Detroit) are being destroyed from both ends of the spectrum. The lower end rots out the foundation with drugs and crime and the upper echelon robs us blind every chance they get. People in the middle have no chance, regardless of what the cops are allowed to get away with.



posted on Mar, 27 2015 @ 02:52 PM
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originally posted by: FalcoFan
a reply to: Krazysh0t

Drugs aren't the main reason these animals are in gangs-they know that it is easier to rape,rob,and murder in large groups.


Most people join gangs because of the ease of making money through the drug trade.


2 good sweeps in my city would work wonders.


You sound like Bush talking about clearing out Iraq here.


The trick is to make them fear joining gangs-by having the military/cops kill them in large numbers.


Just like we made all the Muslims in the Middle East fear becoming terrorists?


Are they not terrorists?


No they are effing citizens of the United States of America and deserve every goddamn right that everyone else has.




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