Stories Of The 4th Amendment
Joe | Jul 21, 2011 | Comments 3
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, 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. – The 4th Amendment to The United States Constitution
An email from a reader got me focused on this issue. The reader wanted me to check out a channel on Youtube called MegaViolated. It’s basically a series of written stories in video form about people who have had their 4th Amendment rights violated and were vindicated in court.
I’m sure many of our readers have 4th Amendment stories. For example, a couple years ago I was living in a house with my then-girlfriend, her daughter, and her daughter’s girlfriend. One day there was a knock at the door. My girlfriend opened it – not advised, but still not an invitation to a search – to discover several U.S. Marshals and Sheriff’s Deputies standing there.
As they began to stream in our front door uninvited, one Marshal explained that they were looking for some woman named Tiffany. They began searching the first floor of our house – without our permission – and someone opened the back door through which more law enforcement came in.
On the second floor of our house they found a bong. When they came back downstairs they asked me if there was any more paraphernalia. I handed them a tupperware bowl filled with a pipe, some empty baggies, and a hanging scale. A Marshal asked me if I was a drug dealer and I replied that I was not, I just weighed the weed I bought.
At this point I was pretty angry and almost wished they would arrest me so I could treat them to more of my amazing wit and sarcasm.
The upshot is that this Tiffany person had listed our address as her many months before. We had lived there about three months and had never met Tiffany. Yet this pretext was used by law enforcement to find and confiscate our paraphernalia and even get me a little lecture by a U.S. Marshal who scolded me for continuing to play Madden football on my PS2 while he tried to lecture me on the seriousness of my situation.
While it’s true they had a warrant to find Tiffany, all they needed to get that warrant was an old address of hers. Does that give them the right to search my house without my permission, take my property, and threaten me with jail? Maybe not, but their guns gave them all the right they needed.
What about you? Do you have a 4th Amendment/Law Enforcement story you would like to share with the rest of our readership? If so, just leave it in the comments below, and thanks from The 420 Times.