Beta

Slashdot: News for Nerds

×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Gov't Database Errors Leading To Unconstitutional Searches?

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the you-can-trust-us dept.

The Courts 272

Wired is running a story about a case the Supreme Court will be hearing on Tuesday that relates to searches based on erroneous information in government databases. In the case of Herring vs. US 07-513, the defendant was followed and pulled over based on a records indicating he had a warrant out for his arrest. Upon further review, the local county clerk found the records were in error, and the warrant notification should have been removed months prior. Unfortunately for Herring, he had already been arrested and his car searched. Police found a small amount of drugs and a firearm, for which Herring was subsequently prosecuted. Several friend-of-the-court briefs have been filed to argue this case, some calling for "an accuracy obligation on law enforcement agents [PDF] who rely on criminal justice information systems," and others defending such searches as good-faith exceptions [PDF].

cancel ×

272 comments

Herring was arrested... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25264193)

I don't understand, shouldn't any evidence obtained under a false warrant be unusable?

Re:Herring was arrested... (4, Informative)

liquidpele (663430) | more than 5 years ago | (#25264275)

The problem is that at the time of search, the warrant was not false. It was a real warrant, it just had not been removed yet. Remember, Warrants don't mean he will be prosecuted, they only allow you to arrest or search, they could choose not to charge him later when the error was found.

Now, being liberal, I think that they should throw out the new charges as the warrant should not have been in effect due to no error on the victim's part. However, this will be an interesting one to watch the courts on to see what their logic is.

"This is your receipt for your husband...and this (2, Insightful)

Philip K Dickhead (906971) | more than 5 years ago | (#25264477)

is my receipt for your receipt."

"It's not my fault that Buttle's heart condition didn't appear on Tuttle's file!" [wordpress.com]

        "I understand this concern on behalf of the taxpayers.
        People want value for money. That's why we always
        insist on the principal of Information Retrieval
        charges. It's absolutely right and fair that those
        found guilty should pay for their periods of detention
        and the Information Retrieval procedures used in their
        interrogations."

"Don't fight it son, confess quickly. If you hold out too long, you could jeopardize your credit rating."

                    "I assure you, Mrs. Buttle, the Ministry is very scrupulous about
                    following up and eradicating any error. If you have any
                    complaints which you'd like to make, I'd be more than happy to
                    send you the appropriate forms."

AMERICAAAA! (1)

Veni Vidi Dormi (975178) | more than 5 years ago | (#25264663)

er, BRAZILLLL!!!!

Re:"This is your receipt for your husband...and th (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25265367)

What in the FUCK is this guy going on about? His post looks like damn script automated it and linked to a random picture, and yet some douche bags modded him informative and insightful?

Don't forget Intentional Mistakes. (1, Interesting)

twitter (104583) | more than 5 years ago | (#25265471)

Some "mistakes" are deliberate [slashdot.org] . We should not let them get away with that.

Re:Herring was arrested... (1)

mrsteveman1 (1010381) | more than 5 years ago | (#25265215)

If a judge cleared that warrant, isn't it invalid anyway? Essentially we are talking about a notification message in the computer in some cops cruiser, and nothing more.

Re:Herring was arrested... (1)

liquidpele (663430) | more than 5 years ago | (#25265423)

In many places, the prosecutor can remove a bench warrant in certain situations (usually for misdemeanors) - which is a case that would fit this situation pretty well if the prosecutor simply forgot or didn't clear it correctly from the system.

Re:Herring was arrested... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25265229)

The real problem is that the potential for abuse is high.

"Oops," isn't a defense if you or I break the law because if it was we would all claim everything we did was accidental. It seems to me the same should apply to rights violations committed by the government. Otherwise we'll see governments "accidentally" forget to remove warrants all the time.

Re:Herring was arrested... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25265343)

Now, being liberal, ...

Because "conservatives" hate the constitution and want him tried anyway? Nice try, idiot. If you're going to fault consiervatives on anything, opposition to the constitution isn't it.

Oh, and way to go on making it into a partisan debate, asshole. This article was obviously screaming for a "your side" against everybody else argument.

Re:Herring was arrested... (1)

liquidpele (663430) | more than 5 years ago | (#25265519)

Because "conservatives" hate the constitution and want him tried anyway?

This case has not been rules on by the courts yet, and the specific situation is not discussed in the constitution, so I fail to see how any opinion on the matter could be seen as "opposition to the Constitution." Either you're a troll, or really really stupid.

Re:Herring was arrested... (1)

thetartanavenger (1052920) | more than 5 years ago | (#25264435)

Indeed, they should really treat the evidence as if it were a red herring.

(Hides in shame)

Re:Herring was arrested... (4, Interesting)

LifesABeach (234436) | more than 5 years ago | (#25264749)

I RTFA. Given that this violation is at the constitutional level. The evidence obtained illegally will be thrown out; it may have to go a higher level to do it. In Alabama, guns in cars is "normal", along with fishing rods. As for the "Evidence" found in his car, I'm amazed that law enforcement found so little; for the amount of time, money, and resources spent. To all intents, and purposes, now would be a good time for those involved to say, "I'm sorry", and maybe go find someone like Bin Laden; a real bad guy's bad guy.

"Dead or Alive, You're Coming With Me" - Robo Cop

Re:Herring was arrested... (0, Troll)

WhatAmIDoingHere (742870) | more than 5 years ago | (#25264803)

Yeah, I can't believe that those state police weren't out hunting Bin Laden! How DARE they do their jobs in their town/county/state?!

Re:Herring was arrested... (1)

MrMr (219533) | more than 5 years ago | (#25264961)

Well, you know how when you look for something it's always in the last place you suspect?

Re:Herring was arrested... (3, Informative)

mysidia (191772) | more than 5 years ago | (#25265203)

In Alabama, guns in cars is "normal",

It may be normal, but it is also illegal in circumstances.

If the individual has been a convicted felon in the past, then possessing a gun in their car, even for "hunting" is a crime (illegal possession of a firearm).

Re:Herring was arrested... (1, Redundant)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 5 years ago | (#25265437)

"In Alabama, guns in cars is "normal", along with fishing rods. "
Not if your a convicted felon. Most convicted felons are banned from ever owning a gun.
Frankly a convicted felon with meth and a gun is probably a pretty bad guy.
Should he be let off? Well that is for the supreme court to decided.

Re:Herring was arrested... (1)

Martin Blank (154261) | more than 5 years ago | (#25265409)

Not always. There are exceptions in some cases for inevitability of discovery. The courts don't treat this lightly, though, and in this case, there does not appear to be anything indicating an inevitable discovery of the evidence. They weren't actively looking for the defendant, and they weren't following his car specifically for counter-drug operations.

Why are such examples always so bad? (4, Insightful)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 5 years ago | (#25264195)

I am against erroneous data. I don't think anyone would be for it (except to manufacture evidence).

So what's the big deal with it? I'll tell you.

The big deal is that if Mr. Herring wasn't an unlicensed gun-toting drug user, the detrimental effects of the bad data would be obvious. But since Mr. Herring is actually a "bad guy" and Americans love to see bad guys put away, it makes it hard for anyone to sympathize with him.

The ACLU couldn't have picked a worse poster child in this case.

Re:Why are such examples always so bad? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25264259)

I'm not so sure thats true. If he had no unlicensed gun or drugs, would there be any story? The search would have turned up nothing, He'd be majorly inconvenienced but complaining would make him look whiney.

Re:Why are such examples always so bad? (4, Insightful)

Foobar of Borg (690622) | more than 5 years ago | (#25264271)

The ACLU couldn't have picked a worse poster child in this case.

He could have been found with terrorist propaganda and child porn in his car. A fair number of people actually do have sympathy for his kind of case. A lot of people think drug laws are absurd and some people either don't believe in gun control or at least think it has gotten out of hand.

Re:Why are such examples always so bad? (3, Funny)

Grimbleton (1034446) | more than 5 years ago | (#25265313)

We don't THINK it's gotten out of hand. We KNOW.

Re:Why are such examples always so bad? (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25265431)

some people either don't believe in gun control OR at least think it has gotten out of hand.

If you had trouble understanding that contraction, I doubt I'd trust you to read the second amendment accurately.

Re:Why are such examples always so bad? (5, Insightful)

hedwards (940851) | more than 5 years ago | (#25264481)

It's really not a bad choice. Most of the people opposed to the ACLU do so because they don't care to admit that they might be wrong in their interpretation of the constitution. Many of them refuse to admit that there's more than one interpretation of the 2nd amendment that comes from reading it. Others want protection from the state intruding on their religion, but want their religion to intrude on the state.

In this case it's important for the basic reason that it's a test case. Is an illegal warrant the basis for a legal search or is it to be considered illegal and the individual allowed a free pass. If you think about it, it is a terribly important issue because of the possibility for abuse.

Re:Why are such examples always so bad? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25264615)

It's really not a bad choice. Most of the people opposed to the ACLU do so because they don't care to admit that they might be wrong in their interpretation of the constitution. Many of them refuse to admit that there's more than one interpretation of the 2nd amendment that comes from reading it.

I'm opposed to the ACLU because they'll defend some of the nastiest, low-life scum-fucks on the face of the earth so long as the case is in line with their political agenda.

Conversely sometime the ACLU will decide to not defend ordinary people who have a legitimate complaint because the case does not fall in line with their political agenda.

P.S. There is only one possible interpretation of the 2nd Amendment. Period. You'd probably shit a brick if someone said there was more than one interpretation of the 1st Amendment and tried to argue that freedom of speech was only for members of the press.

Re:Why are such examples always so bad? (5, Insightful)

WhatAmIDoingHere (742870) | more than 5 years ago | (#25264817)

"I'm opposed to the ACLU because they'll defend some of the nastiest, low-life scum-fucks on the face of the earth so long as the case is in line with their political agenda."

Because if we allow someone's rights to be infringed because they're a "low-life scum-fuck" that's a step towards infringing on Joe SixPack's rights.

Re:Why are such examples always so bad? (0, Troll)

sigzero (914876) | more than 5 years ago | (#25265373)

I am opposed to the ACLU for a variety of reasons. I don't believe based on their record they are anything but a benevolent organization and I don't believe it is their agenda to uphold the constitution (except when it benefits them). http://www.stoptheaclu.com/archives/2005/11/10/top-ten-reasons-to-stop-the-aclu/ [stoptheaclu.com]

Re:Why are such examples always so bad? (1, Funny)

deathy_epl+ccs (896747) | more than 5 years ago | (#25265445)

Because if we allow someone's rights to be infringed because they're a "low-life scum-fuck" that's a step towards infringing on Joe SixPack's rights.

That's a rather redundant statement... aren't they the same person?

Re:Why are such examples always so bad? (1)

chasisaac (893152) | more than 5 years ago | (#25265153)

Hey AC. I am not a fan of the ACLU in any way shape or form. When I agree with them, I have to make sure of the facts, since I had to have made a mistake.

Even a broken clock has its use.

And I agree with the ACLU just often enough. Though I would agree with a stopped clock much more often. In this case they are correct.

Re:Why are such examples always so bad? (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 5 years ago | (#25265295)

I'm opposed to the ACLU because they'll defend some of the nastiest, low-life scum-fucks on the face of the earth

When it comes to rights and procedure you often find out about that after the fact. Like say you perform an illegal search and find out the guy is low-life scum, but you didn't know that. He was just a suspect and you violated his rights. Justifying the way you found out about his guilt with his guilt is clearly nonsense.

Conversely sometime the ACLU will decide to not defend ordinary people who have a legitimate complaint because the case does not fall in line with their political agenda.

As for their claimed political agenda, if they don't protect all rights then find a different organization that will protect the rest or all. It's not a mutually exclusive arrangement, the more that protect your rights the better. Not supporting any of them will certainly guarantee none of your rights are protected.

P.S. Whatever you say, I think they used the term "well-regulated militia" for a reason. The whole amendment would be a lot simpler if they only intended to say "Everyone can have guns".

Re:Why are such examples always so bad? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25264791)

You refuse to admit there is more than one interpretation of your 'human rights'.

Shut up and get back in line.

Because there aren't any examples that are "good" (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25264489)

If they HADN'T found anything on Mr. Herring, what do you think would have happened? Maybe a cursory apology. Probably not. His inconvenience for arrest and search? I suppose he could in theory have cause for a civil action, but against who? The cops who arrested him in good faith they had good information? The county clerk who made a minor paperwork error that went undetected for months? Please. Who's going to bring that case? And how does it not get tossed before a court even cares about the question of whether the information was bad?

Like it or not, if there's going to be a test case on whether it's OK to conduct searches based on "oops!" information, it HAS to be someone who had something to lose--where the results of the bad search end up in court. So it has to be something where something illegal was found in the search.

Re:Because there aren't any examples that are "goo (0, Redundant)

MrNaz (730548) | more than 5 years ago | (#25264535)

So it has to be something where something illegal was found in the search.

What, you mean like drugs or an illegal firearm?

Re:Why are such examples always so bad? (2, Insightful)

darkmeridian (119044) | more than 5 years ago | (#25264645)

You've answered your own question. Unreasonable searches and seizures on innocent people don't result in charges brought against the victim. It's always the criminals who get prosecuted and who need the protection of the Constitution. Also note that the First Amendment is almost always invoked by those we want to censor.

Re:Why are such examples always so bad? (2, Insightful)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | more than 5 years ago | (#25264903)

Unfortunately it is not always just the criminals who get prosecuted. Plenty of innocent people get prosecuted. Something like 25% of court cases end in a not guilty result. It's estimated that something like 5% of guilty verdicts are in error. If you take away these protections you are denying innocent people a chance to clear themselves.

As far as wanting to censor people, the only cases that I am in favor of with that is explicit child pornography and military secrets in time of war. Otherwise I can see no justification for censorship.

Re:Why are such examples always so bad? (3, Insightful)

gravesb (967413) | more than 5 years ago | (#25264719)

That's the problem with the exclusionary rule. Except in rare cases where Section 1983 applies, the only people who have standing to challenge a bad warrant or an unconstitutional search are bad actors. If innocent people could take action and get damages for unconstitutional searches, then the police would be much more careful. If the police never take the evidence to court, there is no real action you can take; even if they pull you naked out of bed or ruin a party in front of guests, possibly ruining your reputation.

Re:Why are such examples always so bad? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25264967)

Mod parent up. The notion of "soverign immunity" of the government is what makes defending rights for criminals so important, because the government has generally held that those who are innocent cannot have "grievances" to petition for redress.

Re:Why are such examples always so bad? (1)

Original Replica (908688) | more than 5 years ago | (#25264981)

But since Mr. Herring is actually a "bad guy" and Americans love to see bad guys put away, it makes it hard for anyone to sympathize with him.

The very foundation of the "Rule of Law" is that public sympathy or lack there of is irrelevant to the law. When the courts become a popularity contest your have OJ Simpson walking away from a murder as a free man.

Re:Why are such examples always so bad? (1)

Dputiger (561114) | more than 5 years ago | (#25265089)

I've got to agree that this seems a good-faith exception. Obviously law enforcement officials should make every effort to keep databases and such clear from factual error, but we have to accept the fact that human errors will inevitably occur. If the police had found nothing in his car, yet were still holding the man, I'd agree completely that the situation was bogus. In this case, however, police had probable cause to stop his vehicle and therefore grounds to enter anything they found within it as evidence against him. There's no evidence that he'd still be in custody if he hadn't been observed to be in violation of the law, and as such, I support the police's right to stop and investigate him, even if the reasons for that investigation should have been cleared. There's no possible way for the police to know that when they stop a vehicle, and there's no time to confirm the accuracy of a warrant within that short span of time. Ultimately, the driver is completely responsible for the situation that led to his own arrest.

Re:Why are such examples always so bad? (1)

HangingChad (677530) | more than 5 years ago | (#25265419)

Obviously law enforcement officials should make every effort to keep databases and such clear from factual error, but we have to accept the fact that human errors will inevitably occur.

I'm glad you agree because I was about to take a certain political parties voter registration list and make minor changes to line it up with a list of known felons. And we'll include lists of people protesting at the convention because there might be reasonable suspicion they're doing something illegal. It's good to know that afterwards we'll be able to escape any real consequences as errors will inevitably occur. And we'll bag a few doing something, so we get a good faith exemption on those.

When there's no real consequence for not obeying them, rules are meaningless. And there's no bottom to that hole.

Or maybe I'll just slip a few records in so it's not so obvious...what was your name again?

Re:Why are such examples always so bad? (1)

mrsteveman1 (1010381) | more than 5 years ago | (#25265231)

I am for erroneous data. Facts are overrated.

Re:Why are such examples always so bad? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25265465)

...and thus, Wikipedia was born.

Re:Why are such examples always so bad? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25265395)

But since Mr. Herring is actually a "bad guy" and Americans love to see bad guys put away, it makes it hard for anyone to sympathize with him.

I don't sympathize with him either. Anyone that allows himself to become addicted to Meth deserves a Darwin Award. Nevertheless, that evidence needs to be thrown out.

The restrictions placed on our government were put there for a reason. Our society will benefit far more from our rights being upheld than they will by this one junkie being sent back to prison based on an illegal search.

I can't stand certain members of this government and say so if anyone asks my opinion. I don't want my disgust leading to "errors" in some database attached to my name.

Re:Why are such examples always so bad? (1)

dave562 (969951) | more than 5 years ago | (#25265403)

The other side of the argument is that once you have been convicted of a felony, you can never escape the system. Some people have the perception that the justice system serves the purpose of steering people who are on the wrong track back onto the right one. The reality is that once someone has been convicted of a felony, they are forever in the system. The system isn't there to reform them but to punish them for the rest of their lives. The idea of reform has been tossed out the window. The perception that someone can actually see the light and start living the right way has been abandoned.

Because bad people get in trouble easier (2, Interesting)

OrangeTide (124937) | more than 5 years ago | (#25265501)

If I get pulled over for an incorrect warrant and searched, they wouldn't find drugs and guns in may care except if they were legally obtained. And once they figured out the warrant was bad there would be nothing else for them to do. And I wouldn't be in the news, and I would make even a worse ACLU poster child because nothing happened to me.

Now what would help is if I was falsely arrested due to a computer glitch then beaten to a pulp in jail while waiting for it to get sorted out. And if they held on to me long enough I'd lose my job too. But that wouldn't even be an ACLU issue, because no rights were really violated (unless it was happening often to the same people or to lots of people). They would have just screwed up and backed off when they fixed the fuck up. But the ancillary bits to the story would be a serious case in civil court.

Basically it seems the deeper shit you get yourself into, the more likely you'll end up in a situation where your rights are violated. This is one reason the ACLU has a hard time finding a "poster child" that is favorable.

IANAL (3, Insightful)

Zironic (1112127) | more than 5 years ago | (#25264201)

IANAL but I'd that this was unwarranted because otherwise it could easily be exploited.

Re:IANAL (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25264493)

IANAL but I'd that this was unwarranted because otherwise it could easily be exploited.

iAnal?

Is Apple now making sex toys for MacFags?

Re:IANAL (5, Funny)

MrNaz (730548) | more than 5 years ago | (#25264553)

I would agree with but I don't your point.

Re:IANAL (1)

Eil (82413) | more than 5 years ago | (#25265219)

IANAL but I'd that this was unwarranted because otherwise it could easily be exploited.

Courts have almost always ruled that evidence obtained illegally (i.e., without a search warrant or probable cause) cannot be used in a trial. Although I'm sure there have been plenty of exceptions, this guy has a slim chance of getting convicted unless he was also high at the time or something.

However, the problem here is that there's no incentive for police to obey the law and constitution when going about their daily business. In business terms, there's no quality control. The police get a free pass when it comes to illegal conduct, bullying, and physical battery.

If you read Fark, you'll see at least one story on the front page about a police officer grossly abusing their power, having their name withheld from the press, and then going on paid leave for a few weeks while the department sweeps it under the rug. Police abuse of power is expected by the public and actually glamorized in the media these days: When you see a police officer in a TV show beat the crap out of a bad guy during interrogation, it's always justified because the officer "had a hunch" and was "doing what was necessary."

The scariest part is that our children, who watch this crap night after night, are going to grow up believing that this is the way it should be. You never see an episode of CSI or 24 (or whatever hip crime drama is popular) where they follow all the clues, end up killing an innocent man, and apologize to his widow for their mistake at the end of the episode.

poo (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25264261)

eat it suckaz. The inalienable proton is light of murkism merry tank

Being in the database at all (1, Troll)

mysidia (191772) | more than 5 years ago | (#25264267)

Having a recent warrant out for arrest, being already charged with a crime, out on bail, or already been convicted of a crime. Seems like reasonable suspicion of criminal activity to me.

It is not as if the police accidentally targeted an innocent person who hadn't had a warrant out for their arrest in a year.

The arrest wasn't wrongful due to the additional charges.

If the criminal had no drugs or weapons in his car, then it would be abuse by the authorities to arrest, but not abuse to search based on their reasonable suspicions.

Even though those suspicions had been based on some information that had turned out to be inaccurate.

The charges should stand.

Re:Being in the database at all (4, Insightful)

perlchild (582235) | more than 5 years ago | (#25264317)

Playing devil's advocate here....

What's to keep the police from having faulty information in the database, either on everyone, or a modifiable "Error" they can just put on people they don't like?

What kind of audits are in place for this information?

I'm sure the jury's still out on whether any country is a member of the "Free world" until the answers are out on this.

Re:Being in the database at all (1)

mysidia (191772) | more than 5 years ago | (#25264901)

What's to keep the police from having faulty information in the database, either on everyone, or a modifiable "Error" they can just put on people they don't like?

Intentionally falsifying information in their own database?

That is very different and sounds like an attempt to defraud the court.

If the person had been completely innocent, the department should be fined and penalized for the false arrest.

Moreover, the search should be held as an illegal search, if there was no reason for the suspicion.

What's unique about this situation is the person wasn't a random citizen, but someone who had recently committed a crime or actually DID have a warrant out for their arrest very recently.

I.E. The information wasn't entirely erroneous or maliciously entered, it was slightly outdated information.

Definitely not the same as maliciously entering an innocent citizen into a warrant notices database.

Re:Being in the database at all (2, Insightful)

perlchild (582235) | more than 5 years ago | (#25265041)

What I read from the summary was that there was a warrant erroneously entered, and that the correction hadn't made it back in time...

On the other hand, I see you haven't seen "playing devil's advocate" in my post either...

Going back to my argument...

"How do you know it's an illegal search?"

The prosecution might be punished if they used erroneous information to get a conviction... But they aren't held onto admitting they had information in the first place...

How do you know what's erroenous and what's not?

What kind of reviews are in place? I'm sure most concerned citizens want to know this... Those that aren't... might well become interested through misfortune.

Re:Being in the database at all (3, Insightful)

Kjella (173770) | more than 5 years ago | (#25265047)

Exactly. If the government can make an error, then do a legal search based on their own error the government can in practise search anyone at any time. Even if you've never been near the legal system they can just say "whoopsie, someone must have mistyped the SSN" and they're off the hook. The officers who did the search acted correctly but the evidence should be thrown out because it's fruits of the poisoned tree.

I don't understand how this can even be called into question. The article says that "noone disputes the search was unconstiutional" and the good faith exception only applies to "minor or technical errors". In this case it's no detail, it's the single material fact that lead to the search. Without the error there would be no search, no evidence and no case. I can understand allowing evidence for a search that should have taken place but was in some minor way flawed, but not this. No way should it ever be allowed.

Re:Being in the database at all (1)

chasisaac (893152) | more than 5 years ago | (#25265187)

The police should not be held liable. The clerk and the court who made the boo-boo should be held liable. After all they deprived the man of his liberty.

And my answer would not change if there was a dead body in the trunk.

The government should never be rewarded for bad behaviors or a mistake. And yes, people can live without boo-boos. Look at the banks.

Re:Being in the database at all (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25264437)

"already been convicted of a crime."

I have a disorderly conduct charge that I was convicted of. In PA, this is a misdemeanor.

I was pulled over for "running" a stop sign--I had come to a full stop at a 4 way stop, allowed 2 cars to go through the intersection that been at the intersection before me, and I took my turn. An officer ran the stop to my left (where one of the two cars that went through the intersection had taken their turn), I avoided getting slammed in the rear.

The officer subsequently put his lights on, U turned in the middle o the intersection, and pulled me over. He stated I had run the stop in disgust when I asked him what I had done. I stated I had stopped. This went back and forth where I stated I had stopped and he stated I hadn't, and I received a citation for the stop sign "violation" and a disorderly conduct charge; while I was frustrated, I never raised my voice and was respectful the whole time but clearly irritated.

I was found guilty in at the magistrate level and at the county level. I had a passenger in the vehicle who witnessed the whole thing at both hearings. At the magistrate level, the officer claimed I had run the stop sign. At the county level, he stated I had stopped then didn't wait my turn (same traffic code violation under PA law); he had noted on the citation itself that I had "failed to stop." In PA, the county level is de novo, and besides, the magistrate level has no transcript (makes me wonder if it is this way really so prosecution can modify witness claims at the next level on appeal).

So before stupid ass like you states that anyone who has been convicted of a crime is liable for a "good faith" warrant based on past "crimes," you are including in fact people like me who have done nothing wrong.

And in case you meant (but didn't) to only mean "violent" or felony offenders, you might want to look into the 1984 Bail Reform Act and the definition of violent offenses; this is one of the reasons California's 3 strikes law puts minor drug offenders in jail for years, because a "violent" offense is defined legally to include what most people would include non-violent offenses.

Re:Being in the database at all (1)

a whoabot (706122) | more than 5 years ago | (#25264681)

"...you states that anyone who has been convicted of a crime is liable for a "good faith" warrant based on past "crimes," you are including in fact people like me who have done nothing wrong."

He never said that anyone who has been convicted of a crime is liable for as much, read what he said more closely, and then you may not have to consider him a "stupid *ss."

Re:Being in the database at all (2, Insightful)

Qzukk (229616) | more than 5 years ago | (#25265021)

He never said that anyone who has been convicted of a crime is liable for as much

No, the original poster said

Having a recent warrant out for arrest, being already charged with a crime, out on bail, or already been convicted of a crime. Seems like reasonable suspicion of criminal activity to me.

and based on that,

not abuse to search based on their reasonable suspicions.

To put these ideas together: cops should be able to search anyone who had ever been charged with a crime at any time regardless of what the person is doing, because the fact that they were charged with a crime at some time in the past is "reasonable suspicion" that they're engaging in criminal activity now.

Re:Being in the database at all (1)

Original Replica (908688) | more than 5 years ago | (#25265391)

The only things the GGP said beyond "convicted of a crime " are still satisfied by the GPs experiences or anyone else who has been falsely accused. Everyone accused of a crime, whether innocent or guilty, has been out on bail and has an arrest record. Yes, the guy in the featured article had meth in his pocket, so that makes him a much less sympathtic target than the GP who simply ran afoul of a pissy self important cop. But once you start labeling people as "bad guys" and denying them constitutional protections based on that label, you create a form of second class citizen. Consider that one in six Americans has some sort of criminal record, thats 47 million Americans, who would under your standards be stripped of their protections from search and seizure, because "anyone who has been convicted of a crime is liable for a "good faith" warrant based on past "crimes,".

Re:Being in the database at all (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25264579)

If the criminal had no drugs or weapons in his car, then it would be abuse by the authorities to arrest, but not abuse to search based on their reasonable suspicions.

Was this search conducted by Officer Schroedinger? It was both abuse and not abuse until he observed what was inside the car?

If you think past criminal activity should give police carte blanch to do as they wish with you, you're entitled to that opinion(as am I to disagree with it), but as the laws are written I really dont see where you can say the search results are legally valid.

Re:Being in the database at all (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 5 years ago | (#25264867)

Having a recent warrant out for arrest, being already charged with a crime, out on bail, or already been convicted of a crime.

No longer having a warrant for arrest, having already been arrested and charged for all crimes that there was probably cause to suspect, or having been tried for all crimes with probably cause should suggest that - given a presumption of innocence - no other crimes have been committed.

I don't think the suspicions were reasonable. They seemed reasonable to the officers at the time, and I would certainly hate to see them punished for this, but allowing the evidence to stand when it's a mistake but not when it's malice doesn't seem to make any sense at all.

Re:Being in the database at all (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25264911)

Having a recent warrant out for arrest, being already charged with a crime, out on bail, or already been convicted of a crime. Seems like reasonable suspicion of criminal activity to me.

The status of the warrant in the database was not accurate. Had the true status been present at the time of query, the person would likely not have been stopped as there was no reasonable suspicion.

It is not as if the police accidentally targeted an innocent person who hadn't had a warrant out for their arrest in a year.

Irrelevant. You sound like the "if you have nothng to hide" crowd.

The arrest wasn't wrongful due to the additional charges.

Those additional charges arose solely as a consequence of an illegal search. If the true status of the warrant had been in the database at time of query, there would have been no reason to stop the person in question.

Even though those suspicions had been based on some information that had turned out to be inaccurate.
The charges should stand.

Fruit from the poison tree. The police screwed up and should not be rewarded for their error(s).

Now get off my lawn before I call the police!

If I make a mistake (4, Insightful)

nightfire-unique (253895) | more than 5 years ago | (#25264313)

If I make a mistake on my taxes, there are penalties. Some of these may be severe, including jail time.

IANAL, so could someone provide to me the list of penalties or sanctions which could be assigned to the decision makers in this case?

It would make me feel better knowing we're all equal under the eyes of the law.

Re:If I make a mistake (1)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 5 years ago | (#25264453)

IANAL, so could someone provide to me the list of penalties or sanctions which could be assigned to the decision makers in this case?

I'll speculate ... a medal and a promotion?

It would make me feel better knowing we're all equal under the eyes of the law.

Yeah, I'd feel better if there was a Santa Claus and an Easter Bunny, as well.

Re:If I make a mistake (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#25265177)

I'd be pretty fucking freaked out if there was an Easter Bunny.

I bet it would piss off the Christians though (MAYBE THEY KILLED HIM!).

Re:If I make a mistake (2, Insightful)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | more than 5 years ago | (#25264775)

Cite please? I've make honest mistakes on my taxes several times, some quite major running into the thousands of dollars on the net result in my favor. The IRS caught these, and issued a notice that I owed them the difference. The worst penalty I've run into is a fine that totaled something like $50.

 

Welcome to Brazil (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25264323)

Harry Buttle is unavailable for comment.

The Present (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25264343)

"Database Errors"... is that what we call them now?

Yeah, go on... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25264353)

How about requiring that government web sites publish truth?

Happened to my Brother-in-law (4, Interesting)

elecmahm (1194167) | more than 5 years ago | (#25264389)

My brother-in-law works at Lowe's, and happened to take a weekday off one week, only to find out through a friend that some US Marshall's were there looking for him (w/ shotguns in tow). -- He sought legal counsel immediately (smart!). -- Turns out, there had been a clerical error when he paid a court fee on a rather mundane charge, they mispelled his name in the court system, and confused him with someone who was on the loose for murder charges! (his lawyer filed the necessary paperwork to get them to realize their mistake though). -- If he had been someone who didn't have the money to get a lawyer though, this could have ended much more badly!

Re:Happened to my Brother-in-law (5, Insightful)

moteyalpha (1228680) | more than 5 years ago | (#25264641)

If I had a killer robot and I just entered coordinates at random, I am sure I would eventually get all the bad guys, however there might not be any good guys left either.

It would seem that like everybody, you should be cautious of how you use the power you have and if you cannot exercise good judgment, you should not have that power.

Clearly these people are not careful with their power and should therefore have less of it. If a person carries a gun, ( and police do ) then they have additional responsibilities of action that include NOT doing more damage than good, whether it is to the rights of individuals or innocent bystanders. Just because they have uniforms and are certified by the ( State, Local, Schoolboard, FBI, ATF ) they can still do damage and what deterrent is loss of income compared to years in jail. It seems that if a policeman kills somebody by accident, they are assumed to have more rights to act blindly than anybody else when it comes to their responsibility for damage.

I was riding with my daughter the other day and a policeman in a small town stopped me for something and I can't even remember his excuse, but he came to the door of my car with his gun drawn and pointed at my head. I got no ticket, but he did so much damage to my opinion of this country that I find it hard to support any police if they are allowed to wander around threatening people with weapons that they should not be allowed to carry. As a citizen, if I walked up to a stranger and pointed a gun at their head, I would likely go to jail for a long time. They are allowed to do that and just say, "oops, my bad".

Re:Happened to my Brother-in-law (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 5 years ago | (#25264813)

In my State, the police are completely immune from any legal consequences arising from a false arrest. I had a relative get arrested a couple of years ago because when she moved here from another State, that State's DMV erroneously transferred records claiming that her license was expired. Nobody bothered to send her a letter or otherwise inform her of this problem. Instead, an arrest warrant was issued, and she was hauled off by several cops. She was very badly treated by these assholes, and overheard some interesting conversations while in their custody, something about "keeping the darkies in their place" and how they were going to teach one of the officer's ex-wife a lesson in respect. Really unbelievable. We spoke to my attorney about suing these assholes, and I discovered that police here, statewide, are immune from any consequences, civil or criminal. My lawyer said, "The law sucks, I know, but that's the way it is."

So, given that lawmakers have removed the last vestiges of legal accountability from the police force, it's not surprising that they have no problems going too far.

Re:Happened to my Brother-in-law (1)

TheLink (130905) | more than 5 years ago | (#25264857)

There are lots of people with the same name. And people are allowed to change their names.

That's why I don't really object to assigning everyone their own unique ID# from birth. What I do object to is creating a system that assumes it's foolproof. Documents can be faked, people can be bribed, stuff goes wrong etc.

illegally obtained evidence (5, Interesting)

lysergic.acid (845423) | more than 5 years ago | (#25264417)

isn't it customary for the courts to throw out illegally obtained evidence? it's my understanding that this is done so as to discourage prosecutors & law enforcement from doing illegal/warrantless searches.

if the courts routinely allowed illegally obtained evidence/testimony/etc. to be used, then it would encourage law enforcement professionals to encroach on the rights of individuals if they think it will get a conviction. if you don't throw out confessions obtained through torture, then law enforcement will start using torture to gain confessions--it's the same principle.

i know that many people hold personal prejudices against drug users, but a corruption of justice is a corruption of justice, regardless of who it happens to. it just happens to drug users and low income individuals more often because they can't defend themselves, and they have more run ins with the law.

one of my good friends in Chicago was a former heroin addict. he was a really friendly guy and a kind and honest person. however, he started using heroin at a very young age. this inevitably landed him in jail. he's in his late 20's now and has been through the system many times on drug possession charges (never for drug dealing or theft, or anything other than drug possession). and he's recounted to me several occasions where he's been wrongly imprisoned due to clerical error.

one time in particular he'd just finished serving time for a drug offense (i think it was something like a 6 month sentence), and the very weekend he got out he was picked up again and taken back to jail. he hadn't broken any laws, but the patrol vehicle computer showed that he had an outstanding warrant. apparently the warrant was issued while he was doing time for his last sentence. the warrant was for an offense registered in a different county, and so they didn't realize that he was already in prison. he knew that there'd been a mistake, but he couldn't make bail and ended up having to spend another few weeks in jail until it was shown that he'd been falsely imprisoned and the warrant shouldn't have been issued in the first place.

Re:illegally obtained evidence (2, Interesting)

Toll_Free (1295136) | more than 5 years ago | (#25264653)

The problem is, this wasn't an illegal search and seizure. It isn't entrapment, it isn't any of that.

Based upon good faith and probable cause, the vehicle was searched.

I know of a person who had a warrant issued for his arrest for parole violation. Problem was, he HADN'T BEEN RELEASED FROM PRISON YET!!!

Doesn't matter, as the warrant was issued in good faith. Hard to be released when your showing a warrant out for your arrest. He did another couple months, expired his sentence, and then went to the county and showed his release papers.

Simple, don't want legal problems, don't fuck up. Bottom line. Not that their isn't a bunch of people wrongfully incarcerated, but the majority DESERVE it.

--Toll_Free

Re:illegally obtained evidence (1)

johnny cashed (590023) | more than 5 years ago | (#25264849)

Based upon good faith and probable cause, the vehicle was searched.

From the article:

At issue is the case of Bennie Herring, an Alabama man who drove to the police station in July 2004 to try to retrieve items from an impounded pickup truck. A Coffee County cop recognized him, asked the clerk to check the database for outstanding warrant.

None was found, so the investigator asked the clerk to call the neighboring Dale county clerk to see if it had a warrant for Herring.

The Dale county clerk found a warrant for Herring in their database, so the Coffee County cops set out after Herring after asking the other county to fax the warrant over.


I take issue with your "good faith" search. I don't know what prompted the cop to tell the clerk to check on this guy, but it doesn't sound like good faith to me. Good faith would assume innocence, not look to see if one can find a reason to search or imprison someone. Maybe the cop had good reason to check, or maybe he likes the power he has been given and wants to keep someone down. I don't know from the article, but it doesn't sound like good faith to me.

"Good faith" must not be enough (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | more than 5 years ago | (#25264887)

Your post is an excellent argument for why those who claim more authority than the average citizen should never be allowed to use "good faith" alone to excuse a mistake. With the extra power must come extra responsibility to get things right, and the rule for such people must be "if in doubt, don't". The consequences of any system not biased strongly in that direction are far worse than any individual mistake. It's just like the fundamental principle that it is better to risk letting a guilty man go free, at least for now, than to risk sentencing an innocent man erroneously.

Thus in cases like this, I think it would be far better if there was an immediate presumption that no evidence or charges at all connected with the inappropriate search ever have legal standing. Moreover, the person or persons responsible for the mistake should by default be personally liable for their illegal actions just as anyone else would be. There may be some good faith defence in the latter case, but good faith should never take precedence over the safeguard that the former offers. Even in the latter case, one must be careful that the benefits of good faith remain proportionate to the mistake, to avoid the risk of authorities erring on the side of "shooting the innocent man" and escaping the penalty for it later.

Re:illegally obtained evidence (1)

Free the Cowards (1280296) | more than 5 years ago | (#25265369)

Simple, don't want legal problems, don't fuck up. Bottom line. Not that their isn't a bunch of people wrongfully incarcerated, but the majority DESERVE it.

That's a nice contradiction there. It boggles my mind how you could even write a thing. If there are a bunch of wrongfully incarcerated prisoners, then it's not as "simple" as you state. If you don't want legal problems, don't fuck up, hope you don't fuck up by accident (ever broken a law you didn't know was there? Remember that ignorance of the law is never an excuse), and hope that somebody with power doesn't decide you fucked up even though you didn't. Not as friendly as your "bottom line", but a whole lot more accurate.

Re:illegally obtained evidence (1)

Qzukk (229616) | more than 5 years ago | (#25265463)

Not that their isn't a bunch of people wrongfully incarcerated, but the majority DESERVE it.

And the minority get to take it up the ass in the showers while you defend the actions of the incompetent as "good faith".

Re:illegally obtained evidence (1)

houghi (78078) | more than 5 years ago | (#25264695)

it just happens to drug users and low income individuals more often because they can't defend themselves, and they have more run ins with the law.

One must ask why they have more run ins with the law. Perhaps because they can't defend themselves.

Re:illegally obtained evidence (2, Interesting)

porpnorber (851345) | more than 5 years ago | (#25265109)

I think there's a huge confusion in the way people think about this. The prevailing attitude seems to be that the purpose of law is to make money, and that various traps need to be in place to prevent the police making too much money and unbalancing the game.

That's not what law is about.

This person broke the law and was caught. There is no doubt (or no more doubt than usual) that he should be convicted. It is absurd to dismiss any evidence on the basis of how it was obtained—unless the method calls the evidence itself into doubt (entrapment, planted evidence and evidence obtained under torture—which may be very much the same thing—are the obvious examples).

But at the same time professional malfeasance is a very serious thing. A policeman who breaks the law or a records officer who doesn't bother filing an update or a database programmer who takes a job of this seriousness and screws it up—whatever the cause of the confusion—should be in very serious, spend-time-in-prison, trouble. The situation where both the crook and the crooked cop wind up incarcerated is very far from unacceptable.

In California, at least, they've already got the message as regards roadworks: penalties for traffic infractions are doubled as you pass the workers. Let's start doubling the penalties for crimes committed in the course of work, and quadrupling them for those acting as officers of the state.

(Probably help a lot with the economy, too.)

Re:illegally obtained evidence (1)

Free the Cowards (1280296) | more than 5 years ago | (#25265429)

If wrongfully obtained evidence is still admissible then the term loses all meaning.

Right now there are two things that stop police from wrongfully gathering evidence. One is that such evidence is not admissible, and thus not very useful to them. And one is that it's illegal, and they can go to jail for it.

The second thing is worthless. Ever hear of a police officer who went to jail because of how he gathered evidence? Didn't think so. Police and prosecutors are on the same side. Do you think a prosecutor, whose political success depends on his ability to put criminals in jail, is going to bite the hand that feeds hims all this wonderful juicy evidence? No way.

So from a practical matter, the inadmissibility of wrongfully gathered evidence is the only thing that keeps officers from busting into your home based on rumor, hearsay, or a hunch, and then searching the place until they find something illegal.

Re:illegally obtained evidence (1)

chasisaac (893152) | more than 5 years ago | (#25265123)

Your friend should be compensated for harm caused upon him from the court office. If it was a weekend in jail, I would suggest at least 50K compensation.

The court that issued should be held liable for the mistake of taking away a person's liberty.

Gettier scenario. (2, Insightful)

a whoabot (706122) | more than 5 years ago | (#25264573)

Hypothetical Gettier scenario:

The officer phones the clerk to ask if there is a warrant for this person's arrest. The clerk wants to trick the officer, so she says there is a warrant when she doesn't think there is. But she is mistaken and there really is a warrant she doesn't know about! The officer makes the arrest in the belief there was a warrant, which there was. Was the officer justified in making the arrest?

Re:Gettier scenario. (1)

Toll_Free (1295136) | more than 5 years ago | (#25264665)

Yes, the officer is justified.

The dispatcher could be held for criminal negligence among other things, at that point.

--Toll_Free

Re:Gettier scenario. (1)

chasisaac (893152) | more than 5 years ago | (#25265095)

If course he is justified. I think that the dispatcher should receive the jail time equal to the person arrested. Or at least fired.

Re:Gettier scenario. (1)

Qzukk (229616) | more than 5 years ago | (#25265311)

Was the officer justified in making the arrest?

For a less obscure philosophical argument, consider if we required the government to show its work as if it were a math test: no points for deriving the correct answer, incorrectly.

Mistrial (1)

[cx] (181186) | more than 5 years ago | (#25264691)

If you have enough money it is possible, if you are poor you are going to jail. Maybe it wasn't a database error and he was just targeted for personal reasons, either way he is probably going to jail.

Its not an "error" (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 5 years ago | (#25264737)

When its intentional.

Root Problem (4, Insightful)

maz2331 (1104901) | more than 5 years ago | (#25264767)

The root problem in this case really boils down to whether the officers should be allowed to treat someone's word that a warrant exists as if that were the actual warrant. The correct course of action would be to have kept him in sight until a copy of the actual warrant was in the officer's possession. This is especially so now that police vehicles are routinely equipped with computer and communications gear that can immediately transfer the warrant to the officer on the scene.

Basically, they jumped the gun (no pun intended) here and ended up executing a non-existent warrant.

Re:Root Problem (1)

chasisaac (893152) | more than 5 years ago | (#25265015)

Actually, I think that is far to much to ask for. What if you are in California or Texas. And you are in San Diego and the warrant is issued 10 hours away? I think there should be a verification that the warrant is valid PRIOR to arresting the person.

Or worse yet, what if the court is closed for a three day weekend? OR as we have in SD, the court is opened once a week.

Re:Root Problem (1)

Cheerio Boy (82178) | more than 5 years ago | (#25265451)

Actually, I think that is far to much to ask for. What if you are in California or Texas. And you are in San Diego and the warrant is issued 10 hours away? I think there should be a verification that the warrant is valid PRIOR to arresting the person.

Sorry - in this day and age it could easily be scanned and e-mailed to the police car. I haven't seen one for a while that doesn't have networking now.

Or worse yet, what if the court is closed for a three day weekend? OR as we have in SD, the court is opened once a week.

Easily fixable - create a weekend clerk position. Or if the court is not open more often put in a T1 to the home of the court clerk and give him remote access to the database and forward his desk phone to his home phone.

Re:Root Problem (1)

maz2331 (1104901) | more than 5 years ago | (#25265489)

Who says the warrant has to be stored at the court? It could be stored at a 24-hour facility, or electronically for immediate retrieval. My concern is treating the metadata about the warrant the same as the warrant itself.

If the warrant turns out to be faulty, rescinded, or otherwise invalid later, then toss the case. Real bad guys WILL be caught again later, it's in their nature to do something that makes it inevitable.

how it works (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25264777)

1. The officer runs the persons name against NCIC or calls the dispatcher.

2. The a message is generated through NCIC that goes back the NCIC terminal for the orignating agency for the warrant.

3. The originating agency has 10 minutes to put there hands on the warrant. If the do not, then they have to let the person go.

4. If the make an arrest on the bad warrant. The offender gets to sue. If the search of the vehicle was based upon a bad warrant, then the evidence will be thrown out.

This doesn't seem like it is a big deal, unless you are the one that got arrested, but you do have a pay day coming.

Throw out the search, cops can abuse this power. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25264937)

Cops came to my house last weekend to break up a house party. Refused to let them enter the home, so in a desperate attempt to find something, they started running every person's ID to check for warrants. My friend had just ended his probation about a month earlier, and the officers, recognizing him, asked him if he had curfew or existing probation. He informed them he didn't.

They ran his information over the radio, and proceeded to handcuff him and detain him in the squad car, informing him that he was still on probation, despite the fact that he had papers confirming the end of his probation IN HIS CAR, which they refused to allow him to get, or to go get themselves. Luckily, he did not resist arrest and calmly accepted their actions. An hour and a half later, they finally uncuffed him and released him.

I can't speak for the thinking of the officers that night, but I know they were visibly angered at me for my exercise of my 4th amendment rights, and were desperately looking for something to charge me or any of my friends with. This was not a check on the computer, it was over the radio. Did it really appear as if he was still under probation, or did the cops want to hassle him and try and get him to resist arrest? These officers knew my friend, and last time he resisted arrest (it was for underage drinking), and he was tasered multiple times. Perhaps they were just looking for a rise out of him so they didn't leave my home empty-handed?

This seems almost like the fruit of the poisonous tree logic in case law that throws out any evidence gained illegally. In a perfect world, there was not reasonable suspicion to pull over the car and search it without the existing warrant. The warrant was no longer valid, and hence the probable cause for the stop was false. The boundaries for probable cause are low enough as it is, this invites huge potential for abuse like the situation I encountered last week, and had my friend resisted AT ALL when he was in the right, he'd be in jail right now and being charged with resisting arrest, assault (probably, as long as he touched the officer at all), and whatever other charges they could find to tack on.

The Government Should NEVER EVER Be Rewarded (1)

chasisaac (893152) | more than 5 years ago | (#25264985)

Just as in the OJ murder trial, the government should never be rewarded for bad behavior. For the record OJ was clearly guilty but there was planted evideance. Hence the correct (if wrong reason, per interviews afterward) verdict. Please no OJ flame war.

In this case, while the person is clearly guilty of said crimes. The government was rewarded from a mistake (bad behavior). The government should never be rewarded for a mistake, or bad faith, or an 'accident', or any kind of bad behavior.

I truly belive in letting 100 guilty free to save one innocent person from spending a day in jail.

Disclosure: I work in the correctional system and am a solid political conservative.

Re:The Government Should NEVER EVER Be Rewarded (1)

johndmartiniii (1213700) | more than 5 years ago | (#25265473)

Mod Parent Up

When we are living in a time and a place in which those who execute the laws of our nation, states, cities and so forth have relatively limitless discretion with regard to the enforcement of laws; when the only way to overturn an unconstitutional law is to appeal it (rather than trusting that the legislators whom we elected have enough understand of/deference toward constitutional law to formulate reasonable, constitutional laws at the federal and state level); when we have to be worried when coming into and out of the country because there is a spot in every airport now where we have no rights whatsoever: the no, the "Oops, we fucked up, but look, we caught the bad guy" defense is bullshit.

This guy should be off the hook. There is no room for error anymore, of any kind.

Someone above posted that these things should be a matter of legality and interpreting laws, not a matter of popular appeal, but that is all we have anymore. The system of laws and lawmaking that we have is broken. If we don't say 'no' when there is something wrong, then we will all eventually get what we deserve. Unfortunately, those of us who say 'no' will get it a hell of a lot faster, it seems.

This seems straightforward. (2, Insightful)

HairyCanary (688865) | more than 5 years ago | (#25265351)

If not for the error, there would not be probable cause to stop and search the guy. Therefore, it never happened, and by extension, nothing found was really found. Maintaining our moral standards are far more important than convicting one man. The ends most certainly do not justify the means.

Only as good as the data... (1)

sigzero (914876) | more than 5 years ago | (#25265447)

I have no problem (despite all the "stories" here) of this happening. If you weren't doing something illegal...you wouldn't have the issue. If Joe Blow hadn't had drugs in his car the police wouldn't have found it.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...