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Nuclear Unicorn

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Member since: Wed Sep 16, 2009, 07:33 PM
Number of posts: 19,497

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

The 4th Circuit just overturned the award in a civil suit where a man was shot and killed by police conducting a no-knock warrant.

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


But it’s worth considering what it means for this to be settled law. 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 long and 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.

Today, of course, authorities can break into homes without knocking. They can conduct raids at night. In theory, we’re today protected by the requirement that authorities show probable cause before serving a warrant, but given the deference judges give to police and prosecutors in much of the country and the boilerplate language you’ll often find on warrant affidavits, you could make a good argument that in many jurisdictions the probable cause protection is little more than a formality. In any case, if the Fourth Amendment is due to the Founders’ offense at British soldiers forcibly entering homes in daylight hours after knocking and announcing to search for contraband, it seems safe to say that the Founders would be appalled by the fact that today, dozens of times each day, heavily armed government officials break into homes, often at night, without first knocking and announcing, in order to conduct searches for contraband.

Drug raids weren’t always conducted this way. In fact, as I point out in my book, the no-knock raid wasn’t even something that organically grew out of policing. Police did sometimes enter homes without knocking. But it happened only if, while serving a search warrant, they observed some exigent circumstance that compelled them to do so — for example, if they heard someone getting beaten or hurt inside or observed through a window a resident loading a gun. But the idea of a pre-planned no-knock raid is a relatively new phenomenon. It was brought to us by drug-warring politicians, first through Gov. Nelson Rockefeller in New York, then via a Senate aide named Don Santarelli, who was recruited to the Richard Nixon presidential campaign in 1968, specifically for the purpose of coming up with tough-on-crime-sounding positions Nixon could stake out to appeal to (white) middle-class voters.


Posted by Nuclear Unicorn | Sun Mar 29, 2015, 09:03 AM (6 replies)

Rape Survivor Testifies before MD House in "Shall Issue" Legislation Debate

Posted by Nuclear Unicorn | Tue Mar 24, 2015, 07:26 PM (5 replies)

U.S. top court rejects challenge to Wisconsin voter ID law

U.S. top court rejects challenge to Wisconsin voter ID law

(Reuters) - The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday rejected a challenge to Wisconsin's Republican-backed law requiring voters to present photo identification to cast a ballot, a measure Democrats contend is aimed at keeping their supporters from voting.

The justices declined to hear an appeal filed by the American Civil Liberties Union, which challenged the law. The ACLU said it then filed an emergency motion with a federal appeals court to try to keep the law from taking effect immediately.

Republican Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel said the law cannot be implemented for the state's April 7 election because absentee ballots are already in the hands of voters but would be in place for future elections. "This decision is final," Schimel said.

Voter identification laws have been passed in a number of Republican-governed states over Democratic objections. Republicans say voter ID laws are needed to prevent voter fraud. Wisconsin's measure, blocked by the Supreme Court last year, was backed by Governor Scott Walker, a potential 2012 Republican presidential contender.


It's my understanding, admittedly limited, that the USSC declined to grant cert, meaning that even among the court's liberal wing the appellants could not muster 4 justices willing to hear the case.

That being said, I'm not sure how much fruit the ACLU's request for a stay can produce.
Posted by Nuclear Unicorn | Tue Mar 24, 2015, 05:40 PM (3 replies)

No, states are NOT obligated to enforce federal law.

Any state that has decriminalized/legalized MJ is already engaged in the practice.

The case law is already established. In Printz vs US (thank-you to former9thward for naming the case) the USSC ruled that having states enforce federal law left the law to be administered by LEOs whom the president had no authority over. Put another way, if the president cannot hire/fire the officers enforcing a law -- which a president cannot do in state and local agencies -- then the president cannot properly take care to enforce laws passed by Congress per the Constitution.

Furthermore, the federal government via the Obama administration has already told states they are not allowed to enforce federal immigration law.

And, no, states cannot have federal funding withheld. Once Congress passed a budget saying what money goes where that is the law.

Withholding federal funds is also unconstitutional. Just as the feds cannot withhold Medicaid funding for states refusing to establish insurance veal pens -- er, sorry -- exchanges so too would it be unconstitutional to funds for Program X because Law Y was not being enforced.
Posted by Nuclear Unicorn | Sun Mar 22, 2015, 08:03 PM (21 replies)

Austin lawyer Adam Reposa says he put up ‘white people’ stickers

Austin lawyer Adam Reposa says he put up ‘white people’ stickers

AUSTIN (KXAN) — An Austin lawyer is claiming responsibility for several stickers placed on East Austin businesses that claimed they were “exclusively for white people.”

Adam Reposa posted the video on YouTube and made a statement on Facebook saying he was trying promote the issue of gentrification in East Austin. (Warning: The video contains explicit language)

“They’re getting pushed out, and pretty quick. This area of town is turning into white’s only,” Reposa said in the clip. “Not by law like it used to be, and everyone’s going to jump on, ‘that’s racist!’ ‘that’s racist!’ Man, this town, the way **** works is racist! And I knew I could just bait all of y’all into being as stupid as you are.”

Reposa went on to blast people for not getting the message.


It's our fault we didn't dig the vibe on his stupidity.

By the way, it'd be really nice if he'd put his shirt back on.
Posted by Nuclear Unicorn | Sun Mar 22, 2015, 08:30 AM (4 replies)

Role of Hillary Clinton’s brother in Haiti gold mine raises eyebrows

Role of Hillary Clinton’s brother in Haiti gold mine raises eyebrows

MORNE BOSSA, Haiti — Drive down the rutted dirt road a couple of miles to the guardhouse, then hike 15 minutes up to the overgrown hilltop, and there it is: a piece of 3 1/2 -inch-wide PVC pipe sticking out of the ground.

This is what, at least for the time being, a gold mine looks like.

It also has become a potentially problematic issue for Hillary Rodham Clinton as she considers a second presidential run, after it was revealed this month that in 2013, one of her brothers was added to the advisory board of the company that owns the mine.

Tony Rodham’s involvement with the mine, which has become a source of controversy in Haiti because of concern about potential environmental damage and the belief that the project will primarily benefit foreign investors, was first revealed in publicity about an upcoming book on the Clintons by author Peter Schweizer.

Posted by Nuclear Unicorn | Sat Mar 21, 2015, 04:36 PM (36 replies)

Which of these proposals could have prevented Sandy Hook?

Requires background checks for all gun sales and strengthens the background check system. This would include removing barriers under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act so that states may more freely share information about mental health issues involving potential gun purchasers.

Lanza did not purchase his guns. he killed the owner, his mother, and stole the weapons.

Other notable, recent shootings such as Loughner, Holmes, Cho, Hasan, Rogers, Alexis did not purchase their weapons absent a BC.

Provides states with monetary incentives—$20 million in fiscal year FY 2013 and a proposed $50 million in FY 2014—to share information so that records on criminal history and people prohibited from gun ownership due to mental health reasons are more available.

A laudable action but -- again -- Lanza did not purchase his weapons and in cases where the police should have intervened they chose to not do so.

Bans military-style assault weapons and limits magazines to a capacity of 10 rounds.

In the 4.5 minutes it took the police to arrive a 10-round capacity would not have made a difference. In fact, Lanza was changing magazines before exhausting them.

The AWB is likely what sank the proposal in the first place. It's been tried.

Provides additional tools to law enforcement. The plan proposes a crackdown on gun trafficking by asking Congress to pass legislation that closes “loopholes” in gun trafficking laws and establishes strict penalties for “straw purchasers” who pass a background check and then pass guns on to prohibited people.

The term "loophole" is ambiguous, at best. This needs to be defined.

Urges Congress to pass the administration’s $4 billion proposal to keep 15,000 state and local police officers on the street to help deter gun crime.

Police do not prevent, they react (except in the case of Columbine) and even then they are not obligated to act.

Maximizes efforts to prevent gun violence and prosecute gun crime. The president calls upon the attorney general to work with U.S. attorneys across the country to determine gaps occurring in this area and where supplemental resources are appropriate.

A tad undefined.

Provides training for “active shooter” situations to 14,000 law enforcement, first responders and school officials.

4.5 minutes is still 4.5 minutes.

Directs the secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services to issue a statement to health care providers that they are not prohibited by federal law from reporting threats of violence to the proper authorities.

Okay but, Holmes WAS reported by his mental health care provider under provisions of Colorado law but the authorities did nothing. The day Eliot Rogers went on his killing spree his own parents reported him to the police saying they thought he was going to hurt people. Loughner, Lanza, Hasan, Alexis and Cho also had histories with authorities and providers and yet nothing was acted upon.

Launches a national gun safety campaign to encourage responsible gun ownership and authorizes the Consumer Product Safety Commission to examine issues relating to gun safety locks.

Helps schools invest in safety. The president’s plan calls for more school resource officers and counselors in all schools through the Community Oriented Policing Services hiring program. The plan also calls for the federal government to assist schools in developing emergency management plans.

Last I heard "school resource officer" means "cop with a gun." I've been told guns in school is not the answer.

Improves mental health awareness through enhanced teacher training and referrals for treatment. The plan calls for the training of 5,000 additional mental health professionals nationwide. The plan also calls for coverage of mental health treatment under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008.

He should really talk to his former chief-of-staff.


CORRECTION -- I originally wrote the post stating the police response time was 12 minutes. I was informed the response time from the placement of the call to 911 to police arriving on-scene -- at which time Lanza shot himself -- was approximately 4.5 minutes. The OP has been corrected, I apologize for the error and I appreciate Lurks Often for bringing it to my attention.
Posted by Nuclear Unicorn | Thu Mar 19, 2015, 10:28 PM (120 replies)

According to salon.com Mayor Rahm Emmanuel closed half of Chicago's mental health clinics


This is interesting because the city has also been spending a lot of money fighting in court to keep its gun ban or defending itself from its disingenuous efforts to skirt USSC rulings.

Yet, when statistics for gun deaths are analyzed over half of gun deaths are from suicides -- people in need of mental health care.

Is it really about saving lives or is it about control?
Posted by Nuclear Unicorn | Thu Mar 19, 2015, 09:07 AM (4 replies)

Haynes v. United States

Haynes v. United States

Haynes v. United States, 390 U.S. 85 (1968), was a United States Supreme Court decision interpreting the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution's self-incrimination clause. Haynes extended the Fifth Amendment protections elucidated in Marchetti v. United States, 390 U.S. 39, 57 (1968).[1]

Background of the case[edit]

The National Firearms Act of 1934 required the registration of certain types of firearms. Miles Edward Haynes was a convicted felon who was charged with failing to register a firearm under the Act. Haynes argued that, because he was a convicted felon and thus prohibited from owning a firearm, requiring him to register was essentially requiring him to make an open admission to the government that he was in violation of the law, which was thus a violation of his right not to incriminate himself.

Majority opinion[edit]

In a 7-1 decision, the Court ruled in 1968 in favor of Haynes. Earl Warren dissented in a one sentence opinion and Thurgood Marshall did not participate in the ruling.

As with many other 5th amendment cases, felons and others prohibited from possessing firearms could not be compelled to incriminate themselves through registration.[1][2] The National Firearm Act was amended after Haynes to make it apply only to those who could lawfully possess a firearm. This eliminated prosecution of prohibited persons, such as criminals, and cured the self-incrimination problem. In this new form, the new registration provision was upheld. The court held: " To eliminate the defects revealed by Haynes, Congress amended the Act so that only a possessor who lawfully makes, manufactures, or imports firearms can and must register them", United States v. Freed, 401 U.S. 601 (1971).[3] The original Haynes decision continues to block state prosecutions of criminals who fail to register guns as required by various state law gun registration schemes.


Thank-you to Virginia_mountainman for the US v Haynes reference in another thread. I had heard this case referenced in the past but didn't know the exact title of the case until he made mention of it in.
Posted by Nuclear Unicorn | Mon Mar 16, 2015, 09:31 PM (12 replies)

White House office to delete its FOIA regulations

White House office to delete its FOIA regulations

WASHINGTON — The White House is removing a federal regulation that subjects its Office of Administration to the Freedom of Information Act, making official a policy under Presidents Bush and Obama to reject requests for records to that office.

The White House said the cleanup of FOIA regulations is consistent with court rulings that hold that the office is not subject to the transparency law. The office handles, among other things, White House record-keeping duties like the archiving of e-mails.

But the timing of the move raised eyebrows among transparency advocates, coming on National Freedom of Information Day and during a national debate over the preservation of Obama administration records. It's also Sunshine Week, an effort by news organizations and watchdog groups to highlight issues of government transparency.

"The irony of this being Sunshine Week is not lost on me," said Anne Weismann of the liberal Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, or CREW.


I think I'm just beyond caring anymore. I'm just numb from it all.
Posted by Nuclear Unicorn | Mon Mar 16, 2015, 06:24 PM (1 replies)
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