There’s a Fourth Amendment?

It was refreshing earlier this week to see a few of the Justices crack open their dusty Constitutions and discover some text sitting there between the 3rd and 5th Amendments. Almost surprising, unfortunately.

Jacob Sullum talks about one of the other huge 4th Amendment issues currently making its way into the courts: When Proactive Policing Becomes Harrassment

The Terry Supreme Court Decision that is the current law regarding encounters on the street allows stop and frisk if officers believed that a crime was about to take place and that the suspect was armed.

As the number of stop-and-frisk encounters initiated by the NYPD grew from about 100,000 in Michael Bloomberg’s first year as mayor to almost 700,000 in 2011, the share of stops yielding guns fell from 0.38 percent to 0.033 percent.

Pretty thin.

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8 Responses to There’s a Fourth Amendment?

  1. divadab says:

    There’s maybe three-fifths of a fourth amendment if you’re young and black!

  2. 88% of the searches do not even fit the criteria to be legal, as the article points out that they are only right in their judgement 12% of the time.

    So, if you are traveling in New York you can be sure at least 12% of your Fourth Amendment rights are going to be upheld. How comforting.

  3. kaptinemo says:

    This was never about public safety but is about public acclimation to a police state.

    The increasing militarization of American society since 1947 with the National Security Act was to counter the spread of Communism…or so we were told.

    Curiously, it is no accident that at the same time, known, bloody-handed, murderous, torturing Nazi war criminals were brought to the US to ‘assist’ the government by providing information regarding the Soviet foe…courtesy of the supposed extensive spy network the Nazis had set up there before hostilities between the two totalitarian nations broke out.

    One could say the germ of Nazism infected the American body politic around that time…and the infection spread. Hence the increasing authoritarianism exhibited by the organs of American ‘justice’.

    Why else the trend towards dark, military-type police uniforms? The way things are going, all that’s missing are the lightning-bolts on the collars…and the stiff-arm salutes…

    • War Vet says:

      But we can stop all of this I believe. There are no melting pots in this world like America, so surely diversity could lead the way to ending the police state. I want to know what the mindset of cops are. Do cops know it or see it or is it so subtle that a snail moves faster? I think if we educate all the War on Terror Vets about human rights and the War on Drugs (since the War on Drugs can be better witnessed in Baghdad than Brooklyn or Afghanistan than Atlanta), we’ll see more of them throw away the militarization of the police. I’ve known former cops who went to Baghdad to return with the mindset of no longer being a cop. Civilians I believe are more likely to take up the occupation of police officer than former soldiers are and who knows peace better than those who know what lack of peace looks like. I believe the police state we fear won’t come about if we push all the right buttons. But then again, America has a bad record when dealing with human rights. I see the War on Terror as WWI for America: Total loss of Hegemony, thus leading to a new nation or a nation of new warriors trained to kill the scapegoat.

      But then again, is it possible for a capitalist-consumerist society to not move in this direction we call Police State? We urge the police state in other nations when we as Americans buy foreign made products and demand those products at ‘roll back prices’. When you look at it, it’s hypocritical and thus wrong for us to want a job that pays good or pays better while wanting to spend less on our consumer goods . . . it’s wrong to look for cheaper deals while wanting more money or being satisfied with our current salary since to do so incorporates a class system and lower classes must be controlled by the police so they don’t rise up and demand the same wages as we get –the same wages so they can have the luxury of buying cheaper products made by people who get paid less. I think most of our problems stem from our Consumer buying habits . . . if others make as much money as we do, we’ll have to spend more money on our products . . . equality in a consumerist world is the death of the Middle Class. What is the definition of the American Middle Class? Definition: I want you China/Indian Boy or Girl to get paid low wages and live at worker dorms so the products that build my Middle Class life will be cheap and stay cheap for me. One must have militarized cops if one wants the populace to stay controlled so consumerism can create the definition of the Middle (and possibly the Upper) Class. When our economic policies and buying habits change for the better and become more equal (on a global level), we can avoid a police state . . . don’t cops want to buy consumer products too? What gives us the right to earn $20 or more an hour doing our job and not demand that we allow cops to do their job so they can earn the kind of money that creates the American Dream? A Police State will pay police officers better I think and don’t police, like girls and the rest of the Middle Class just want to have fun with their money? When we don’t realize that buying a pair of ‘Made in China’ Nikes is as wrong as arresting someone for pot or meth, we’ll never know what human rights really is and what equality is supposed to look like. It all boils down to economics and buying habits in the long run, not whether or not liberties are being violated. In a consumerist/capitalist world: every cop has the right to arrest people for drugs if it means he can provide for his family the kind of life a school teacher or office worker can provide . . . to not obey your boss is death of the paycheck and the loss of your Florida Vacation plans.

      • Windy says:

        The reason consumers look for cheaper products, even at the expense of our own manufaturing industry, is the heavy tax load. If all the money we earned were ours to spend as we see fit or at least 90% of it (government including ALL levels should not cost us more than 10% of our income), we could afford to pay the prices our wages require for the companies to make a profit. Excessive taxation is at the root of that problem (and many others as well).

  4. Money for nothing says:


    The good news is that the plan to can the criminalization of cannabis continues to expand as planned and is still moving under its own momentum. Overheard at the State Capitol, “How the heck did we miss this cookie jar for all these decade? Mmm, cookies.” Well now that they’ve found it they certainly aren’t being shy about helping themselves.

    Legislators criticize spending at agency overseeing medical marijuana

    State legislators Wednesday sharply criticized the state agency overseeing Colorado’s medical-marijuana industry for spending on patio furniture, $1,000 office chairs and a vehicle fleet it didn’t need, all at a time it was struggling to fulfill its enforcement duties.

    At a hearing Wednesday, the state Legislative Audit Committee completed its review of a state audit of the division by zeroing in on expenses auditors found to be unreasonable and inappropriate.

    “I am speechless,” said Rep. Angela Williams, D-Denver, the committee chairwoman. “It appears there was a shopping spree.”

    Auditors questioned the division for spending about $250,000 on furniture in fiscal year 2011, including $28,000 for seven desk extenders, $16,000 for three cubicles and $4,200 for four office chairs.

    The division bought the furniture without a competitive bidding process from Colorado Correctional Industries, a division of the Department of Corrections that puts criminal offenders to work through 60 programs — including manufacturing furniture.

    Sen. Louis Tochtrop, D-Thornton, said she was surprised Colorado Correctional Industries charged $1,000 for office chairs.

    “I just find that pretty unreasonable,” she said. “I am appalled.”

    The director of Colorado Correctional Industries did not respond to a request for comment.

    Shocking! Simply scandalous!! High fives all around for the cannabis law reform advocates!!!

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