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A Victory for 4th Amendment Today

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  • A Victory for 4th Amendment Today

    In a surprise unanimous decision, the Supreme Court ruled that Byrd still had an expectation of privacy even though his name was not listed on the rental agreement when he was stopped by the police for a traffic infraction. The police searched his rented (girlfriend's) car and found body armor and 49 bricks of heroin. Byrd eventually plead guilty and sentenced to 10 years in prison.

    Byrd is not completely in the clear, as Supreme Court remanded his case to the lower court. However, for now, the Court vacated Byrd's conviction. So this would mean the government must retry his case again on different grounds.

    Nevertheless, I view it as a victory of sorts for 4th Amendment.

    http://www.scotusblog.com/case-files...united-states/
    In a unanimous decision by Justice Anthony Kennedy, the justices rejected the federal government’s argument that a driver who is not listed on the rental agreement can never have a reasonable expectation of privacy in the car, because the rental company has not given him permission to use it. That rule, the justices concluded, “rests on too restrictive a view of the Fourth Amendment’s protections.” Under the Supreme Court’s cases, the justices explained, whether someone has an expectation of privacy in a car shouldn’t hinge on whether the person who gave them permission to drive it owns the car or rented it.
    Major James Holden, Georgia Badgers Militia of Rainbow Regiment, American Civil War

    "Aim small, miss small."

  • #2
    yeah this was a serious attempt to stretch the law

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    • #3
      Really hurts interdiction efforts though. Traffickers had gone to rental cars because they don't have to worry about seizures.
      Tacitos, Satrap of Kyrene

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      • #4
        Originally posted by TacCovert4 View Post
        Really hurts interdiction efforts though. Traffickers had gone to rental cars because they don't have to worry about seizures.
        Thanks for giving us law enforcement's perspective.

        Just to be clear, even though Byrd's conviction has been vacated, his case is remanded to the lower court, so he could be tried again.

        He might be convicted again, it all depends on whether the police had probable cause in the first place.
        Major James Holden, Georgia Badgers Militia of Rainbow Regiment, American Civil War

        "Aim small, miss small."

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        • #5
          49 bricks of heroin?

          That's a lot of OD deaths prevented.

          Too bad we won't be saving lives that way in the future.
          Any man can hold his place when the bands play and women throw flowers; it is when the enemy presses close and metal shears through the ranks that one can acertain which are soldiers, and which are not.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Cheetah772 View Post
            Thanks for giving us law enforcement's perspective.

            Just to be clear, even though Byrd's conviction has been vacated, his case is remanded to the lower court, so he could be tried again.

            He might be convicted again, it all depends on whether the police had probable cause in the first place.
            True.

            Of course the Supremes might have also inadvertently created a civil law issue vis a vis rental cars and their agreements.

            So....I rent a car, my name is on the rental agreement.

            I let you drive the car. Your name is not on the rental agreement. Per the Owner's will, the rental company, you are not an authorized driver of the vehicle.

            You are pulled over, you hand over the rental agreement (which functions as vehicle registration). The cop notes that you're not the person in question. Cop calls the rental car company to check the registration and they advise that they are the victim of "Unauthorized Use of Vehicle" (the name in my state for what is essentially misdemeanor theft of use of vehicle (when they aren't trying to permanently deprive but are taking without permission) due to you being the driver while I'm the registered renter.

            Does the Supreme Court's ruling mean that the unauthorized operator of a rental car has an affirmative right over that of the property owner (rental car company)?

            If yes then we have a serious civil law crisis.

            If no, then all a cop need do is call the rental car company in these cases, the rental car company advises that they are the victim of unauthorized use, the driver is arrested for this mid-grade misdemeanor, and then the rental car company as the sole possessor is asked for and grants consent to search......boom.
            Tacitos, Satrap of Kyrene

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            • #7
              So once again the courts side with the criminals.

              Funny thing, whenever you rent a car, the company asks you who will be driving.

              Technically, the person who rented this particular car is now an accessory to a major narcotics charge.

              Too bad our courts stop enforcing the laws, but good for the rest of us.
              Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes? Who is watching the watchers?

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              • #8
                This didn't just come from nowhere.

                Does "Desert Snow" ring a bell?

                "Why is the Rum gone?"

                -Captain Jack

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                • #9
                  Asset seizure is a big deal for most local LEO's - allows them to keep up with the Big City types on a country budget. It's enormously popular down South.
                  Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes? Who is watching the watchers?

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Mountain Man View Post
                    Asset seizure is a big deal for most local LEO's - allows them to keep up with the Big City types on a country budget. It's enormously popular down South.
                    It's enormously popular everywhere. Local LE agencies don't have a county budget, but rather municipal budgets.Only SOs have county budgets.

                    It is also enormously popular with taxpayers.

                    It is the most feared aspect of the judicial system; the high-ranking members of the OC can insulate themselves from prison, but the seizure of funds and assets not only hits them where it hurts, but it also opens up avenues for prosecution all the way to the top, because while the bosses can isolate themselves from the criminal activity, they cannot isolate themselves from the proceeds.

                    What is realized by most people is that LE agencies do not get all the assets seized; a lion's share goes to the prosecuting agency.
                    Any man can hold his place when the bands play and women throw flowers; it is when the enemy presses close and metal shears through the ranks that one can acertain which are soldiers, and which are not.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Mountain Man View Post
                      Asset seizure is a big deal for most local LEO's - allows them to keep up with the Big City types on a country budget. It's enormously popular down South.
                      The property seizure is a system that has high potential for abuse.

                      As I understand it the person who's property was seized has the burden of proof on them.

                      I have no problem with seizing the property that is the fruits of criminal activity. But we have to have due process.
                      "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it" Beatrice Evelyn Hall
                      Updated for the 21st century... except if you are criticizing islam, that scares the $hii+e out of me!

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by 17thfabn View Post
                        The property seizure is a system that has high potential for abuse.
                        No. It does not.

                        Originally posted by 17thfabn View Post
                        As I understand it the person who's property was seized has the burden of proof on them.

                        I have no problem with seizing the property that is the fruits of criminal activity. But we have to have due process.
                        They do have due process. It can only be done with due process.

                        But the problem with due process is that it is under oath, so it gets very complicated to explain why a guy whose SSN has not been active in 16 years had $10,000 cash in untaped bills in a one-year-old car.

                        These are, as the courts have ruled, situations which cause a reasonable person to believe an investigation is warranted.

                        Here's one from my personal experience (just one, mind you): Stop a guy in a beater pickup. He has $12,000 is small untaped bills in a bag on his front seat (PVD), and a pistol under his seat (legal under the circumstances). He says he's going to buy shrimp to sell. Not impossible, except:

                        1) it's 97 degrees, and he has no coolers or ice.

                        2) He has no names or phone numbers for his shrimp contacts, just a meet location.

                        3) He can't explain the basis of shrimp grading (# per pound).

                        4) His truck, allegedly used for regular shrimp runs, does not smell.

                        5) When stopped he was driving west. The Gulf is east.

                        6) He has no tax certificate, which means if he is selling shrimp, he's in trouble with the State.

                        So I give him a receipt for his money, and advise him that the DA will notify him within 72 hours of a hearing date, and will advise him as to the particulars of the hearing (simply put, if he can bring in any documentation, it's his). He doesn't need a lawyer, he will pay no fees.

                        He never responds to the certified letter he signed for. He moves before a second one arrives. He never shows up, ever. Fifteen months later, a court rules the money to be forfeited due to lack of contesting claim.

                        Meanwhile, a year after my stop the guy was pointed out by the DEA coming across the border at Eagle Pass with three kilos of uncut cocaine.
                        Any man can hold his place when the bands play and women throw flowers; it is when the enemy presses close and metal shears through the ranks that one can acertain which are soldiers, and which are not.

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