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Privacy The Courts United States

GPS Tracking Without a Warrant Declared Legal 926

Posted by samzenpus
from the track-away dept.
jnaujok writes "The Ninth Circuit court has declared that attaching a GPS tracker to your car, as it sits in your driveway, or by extension on a public street, and then using it to monitor every one of your movements, is totally legal, and can be performed by the police without needing a warrant. So, if you live in the Western United States, big brother has arrived."
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GPS Tracking Without a Warrant Declared Legal

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  • by gurps_npc (621217) on Wednesday August 25, 2010 @04:55PM (#33373730) Homepage
    Other District Courts of appeals have ruled it illegal. Right now, it is illegal in Washington DC, but legal in California. Time for Kagan to show us what she's made of.
  • by wiredlogic (135348) on Wednesday August 25, 2010 @04:56PM (#33373738)

    Since police powers are an extension of the rights every citizen possesses it will naturally be legal for anyone to do this without permission.

  • Re:Heh (Score:3, Interesting)

    by NiceGeek (126629) on Wednesday August 25, 2010 @04:57PM (#33373750)

    What would Obama have to do with this anyway? This is the result of a case from 2007.

  • by gurps_npc (621217) on Wednesday August 25, 2010 @04:59PM (#33373776) Homepage
    I agree with you and the dissenting Judge Kozinski (Regan appointee). Judge Kozinski said that the court was prejudiced against poor people, taking away their rights simply beause they could not afford a garage He was right, your driveway is your property, people have an expectation of privacy on it.
  • by easterberry (1826250) on Wednesday August 25, 2010 @05:01PM (#33373804)
    Wait, you can detain and arrest people in the States as a citizen? And enter people's homes (with your bosses permission)? And tase people who get unruly?
  • by Whorhay (1319089) on Wednesday August 25, 2010 @05:02PM (#33373826)

    I can understand why this decision turned out the way it did. Placing a tracking device on your vehicle is about the same as following you around with an unmarked vehicle. It's much harder to detect of course and so you might think you are unobserved when that's not true.

    Anyways I can see this possibly creating a small market for GPS jamming devices. The legality of such devices of course would be questionable if not outright illegal.

  • by MobyDisk (75490) * on Wednesday August 25, 2010 @05:03PM (#33373834) Homepage

    The article actually covers the facts fairly well, but it would be much better if the writer didn't label every quote "conservative" or "liberal" with a seemingly naive understanding of the meaning of those terms. For example, when one judge points out that not enough poor people become judges, so they are underrepresented, he is labeled a "raging liberal." This comes from the oversimplified stereotype that liberals love the poor and conservatives hate them. I would expect this from radio or TV pundits, but not from Time magazine.

  • by ElectricTurtle (1171201) on Wednesday August 25, 2010 @05:05PM (#33373880)
    I think somebody should put GPS transmitters on the Ninth Circuit justices' cars immediately, and register wheremyjudgesat.com.
  • Countermeasures (Score:5, Interesting)

    by BJ_Covert_Action (1499847) on Wednesday August 25, 2010 @05:06PM (#33373892) Homepage Journal
    Okay, so, as a citizen of California, I have a question for the Slashdot techies out there. These GPS trackers that can be tacked onto my vehicle. How large are they? What do they resemble? Do they give off any transmission signal/EM radiation of some sort. I am personally appalled by this particular ruling, but if that's how things are going to be, then let the arms race begin. I want to know what, exactly, these GPS trackers do. Do they transmit your location data back to the GPS sat system? Or do they transmit to some kind of local receiver? Do we know that frequency they transmit on?

    If the police and government are going to take active duty to track all citizens, without the burden of providing a reasonable level of suspect, then I say we, as citizens fight back for our rights. If the local police want to track our vehicles, what kind of devices can we hack together to detect these nasty little tracker chips? There has to be some way to build a receiver similar to whatever the police use to detect the GPS data, attach it to a small wand or golf club or something, and wave it around our car every time we get in it to make sure the trackers are not installed. So, GPS nerds out there, how's about we start putting together a How-To to homebrew a GPS tracker detector? Then, if we find a tracker attached to our vehicle, we can simply pull it off and duct tape it to the local stray cat.
  • Re:Countermeasures (Score:4, Interesting)

    by v1 (525388) on Wednesday August 25, 2010 @05:13PM (#33374000) Homepage Journal

    Then, if we find a tracker attached to our vehicle,

    is it ours? What's the law regarding when someone abandons their possessions on your property?

    If I found one of these on my vehicle, then I can take possession of it? Didn't someone recently get into the press for finding such a device and ebaying it? iirc the police or whoever contacted ebay and got the auction taken down. I didn't see what happened after that.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 25, 2010 @05:14PM (#33374018)

    I guess this is different in different countries, but many times police authority is simply an extension to self-defense laws and such. Which is to say, you have just as much right to tazer someone as the police does and the same basic principle determines whether it's legal or not.
    This is basically the reason for warrants and such. They extend the legal authority of a court or attorney to the police, because the police as such should not have greater rights than the civilians.

    But I don't really have a clue as to how this works in the US.

  • by Vancorps (746090) on Wednesday August 25, 2010 @05:23PM (#33374146)
    You could very easily argue that installing gear without your knowledge to your car while in your driveway would be considered vandalism. I'm just uncertain why they can't get a warrant to do it. There seems to be a war on oversight for the last decade and realistically even longer. When it become bad to have to justify your actions? In the case of FISA you don't even have to justify it before you do it.
  • by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Wednesday August 25, 2010 @05:28PM (#33374238)

    I can understand why this decision turned out the way it did. Placing a tracking device on your vehicle is about the same as following you around with an unmarked vehicle.

    The primary difference being that it can be conducted en masse - i.e. its possible to track thousands of vehicles without committing any significant manpower. I have a similar problem with ANPR [wikimedia.org] - one unattended machine can do what would otherwise take thousands of officers to do.

    The cliched response to both of these examples is "you have no expectation of privacy in public" - but that is a legal principle formulated in a simpler time before automation (especially automation on the back-end) was even conceivable. I think a principle more suited to the current situation (which will only become more extreme as the automation on the back-end becomes more and more capable) is that if surveillance requires resources not normally available to the average citizen then it requires a warrant. I think a principle along those lines more closely matches how the average joe sees the world, which is pretty much the definition of "reasonable."

    As the purpose of a warrant is to maintain oversight to prevent abuse, it makes even more sense because more power always equals more temptation for abuse so being able to do something that a normal person can't reasonably do is practically by definition more opportunity for abuse.

  • by bkpark (1253468) on Wednesday August 25, 2010 @05:29PM (#33374244) Homepage

    So, in cities where public nudity is a crime (likely a misdemeanor), do you have a legal right to be stark naked in your driveway?

    There are ... degrees of privacy/private control. Driveway is your private property in the sense that you have right to decide who can be on it. But if you haven't erected a fence, you have no right to tell people whether they can *look at* your driveway (and things on it).

    GPS tracking, aside from all the other complicating factors, is not too different than people (or police) looking at your car (or driveway).

  • by brainboyz (114458) on Wednesday August 25, 2010 @05:29PM (#33374254) Homepage

    If you can articulate valid reason, you may detain and transport criminals to the police station and/or jail. The problem is you personally take 100% responsibility for doing so and if found in the wrong, you are 100% liable for wrongful arrest, kidnapping, unlawful detainment, etc.

    In an emergency or witnessing a felony in progress (again, can articulate valid reason/concern), you can enter the property of someone else w/o a warrant.

    If someone is in the middle of a felony, you may taze them in most states.

    The difference between you and a police officer? A sworn officer has protections bestowed by the jurisdiction. The jurisdiction has trained them and decided to take on the liability of the officer, in most cases, by authorizing them to act on behalf of the jurisdiction and people within. If you don't mind taking on personal responsibility and liability for everything, you are well within your rights to do most things the cops do EXCEPT break laws in non-emergency situations (since sworn officers are specifically exempt from some laws such as speeding).

  • by TheGratefulNet (143330) on Wednesday August 25, 2010 @05:37PM (#33374362)

    to attach device? or to ensure the device is not removed?

    you have to believe they'll fully cover themselves, here. its probably not just the right to attach but also the right you have to inspect your car and remove unauthorized items from it!

    this is fraught with problems. how am I to know that this is a cop-box (as I call it) and not some terr-a-wrist(tm) box? any box that I did not put on my car is a 'trouble box' and should be removed. I have no idea what the heck its doing. could even be a bomb! why would I even be expected to tolerate such a thing?

    what if my car has some wireless gear on it (say something that goes from trunk to hood and I didn't want to run cables so I did a wireless link) and suppose their transmitter interferes with my units operation? that's willful interference! suppose it fucked with a safety or security system I installed?

    only an idiot would allow such a law!

    yes, yes, I know. I fully know who buys and pays for our laws these days.

  • by Zerth (26112) on Wednesday August 25, 2010 @05:40PM (#33374396)

    My question is, if I find a device on one of my motorcycles or car, is it legal for me to remove said strange device.

    And can I sell it? [stuff.co.nz]

  • by eth1 (94901) on Wednesday August 25, 2010 @05:40PM (#33374402)

    No, no, if you're going to put GPS trackers on officials' vehicles, you don't want to just publish the coordinates of everywhere they go. That would very quickly lead to the discovery and removal of said device.

    Wait till they go somewhere questionable, then "coincidentally" show up with a camera and publish pics instead. The tracker will survive longer, and the evidence will be much harder to refute. :)

  • by shoehornjob (1632387) on Wednesday August 25, 2010 @05:47PM (#33374544)
    If I didn't think I'd get Rodney King'd I'd like to try it. Fuck tha POlice. The line between legal and illegal where it pertains to information gathering and tracking is getting thinner in this country. We are giving up our rights without a fight and no one seems to care.
  • by DragonWriter (970822) on Wednesday August 25, 2010 @05:52PM (#33374612)

    The "police" have no special powers other than exactly what statutes give them under special circumstances (arrest, crime in progress, etc). Since I do not know of any statute granting GPS powers, the only way the police can do this legally is because everyone can.

    This is an important distinction between the American & British (&other systems): In the US, the government derives its' powers by delegation from The People.

    The fact that government powers, in theory, derive from popular consent does not mean that the powers of government do not include the power to exclude individuals from exercise of the powers granted to government.

    You seem to confusing a whole bunch of different concepts here:
    1. The idea of popular soveriegnty, which is indeed a norm that the governments, state and federal, are based on;
    2. The idea of government limited to expressly delegated powers, which the US federal Constitution embraces (via the 9th and 10th Amendments, for instance), but State Constitutions often do not,
    3. The idea that government agents, outside of expressly delegated powers, have only the privileges of private individuals, which is a corollary to #2 and generally is applicable only to the extent that #2 is.

  • by locallyunscene (1000523) on Wednesday August 25, 2010 @05:55PM (#33374646)
    Interestingly enough, Massachusetts was one of the places that ruled GPS tracking requires a warrant. It's like Mass and Cali are reversing in terms of sanity.
  • by Beardo the Bearded (321478) on Wednesday August 25, 2010 @05:55PM (#33374652)

    Cops are lazy.

    They put the speed traps in high-revenue spots over and over again. There's a pattern. There are GPS units that list all the known speed traps and warn you as you approach. There's no radar to jam, no lasers to thwart, just the position of known speed traps.

    Er, sorry, what I meant to say was that since the police would only enforce the speed limits in areas that are particularly dangerous to speed in, it warns you to slow down as you approach a hazardous area.

    Also, the GPS tracker would have to chirp to send out your data. It would probably be of VHF since that's unregulated (148 - 152 MHz is a good one) so all you'd have to do is check for broadcasts of that frequency. GPS refreshes at 1Hz, so that's probably what they would chirp at unless they're using burst downloads.

    FYI, the range on GPS / VHF transmissions in urban environmentsis very short. It gets unreliable after a few hundred meters and it completely thwarted by brick.

  • by bwayne314 (1854406) on Wednesday August 25, 2010 @05:55PM (#33374668)
    so if i have "no trespassing" "beware of pit-bull" and "trespassers will be shot" signs posted all over my 4-acre property, and a plain-clothes cop comes along to stick one of these things on my car at night, is it my fault if he gets unrecognizably mauled by three pit-bulls and/or shot from my porch?
  • by ScrewMaster (602015) on Wednesday August 25, 2010 @06:20PM (#33375024)

    My question is, if I find a device on one of my motorcycles or car, is it legal for me to remove said strange device.

    And can I sell it? [stuff.co.nz]

    Probably not, and since it's not your property they'd probably get pissed if you sold it. Me, I think I'd just wrap the thing in a coil of heavy copper wire and discharge a hefty capacitor bank through it. Then I'd record the cop retrieving it and post the video on Youtube. Maybe some of officer so-and-so's neighbors might have something to say about it.

    Does anyone else find the thought of ordinary cops skulking around after dark, attaching things to private vehicles just because they feel like it, more than a little disturbing? What the hell were these judges thinking? Or, more likely, smoking? Personally, I find it irritating when cops are sneaky: frankly, it's not what I pay them for. Worse yet, given the complete lack of oversight involved now, you can't tell me that these guys aren't going to be tracking their girlfriends, ex-wives, annoying neighbors and anyone else they want to get dirt on.

    Truly stupid decision.

  • by turkeyfish (950384) on Wednesday August 25, 2010 @06:21PM (#33375040)

    Do devices exist that would permit someone to detect if a GPS has been added to a vehicle, items of clothing, luggage, packpack, etc.? Seems as if the police have created a new market here.

      I've heard of wives and husbands placing such devices with loggers on each other's cars to try to catch instances of infidelity and in cases where corporations are spying on one another, but clearly serious freedoms, lives and property are at stake if the government or anyone else readily begin to monitor people's location in real time with GPS, as such an ability would make it easy for criminals to break in to a home, if they new the owners were not there.

  • by Jackie_Chan_Fan (730745) on Wednesday August 25, 2010 @06:28PM (#33375144)

    "Boy everyone in this country is running around yammering about their fucking rights. "I have a right, you have no right, we have a right."

    Folks I hate to spoil your fun, but... there's no such thing as rights. They're imaginary. We made 'em up. Like the boogie man. Like Three Little Pigs, Pinocio, Mother Goose, shit like that. Rights are an idea. They're just imaginary. They're a cute idea. Cute. But that's all. Cute...and fictional. But if you think you do have rights, let me ask you this, "where do they come from?" People say, "They come from God. They're God given rights." Awww fuck, here we go again...here we go again.

    The God excuse, the last refuge of a man with no answers and no argument, "It came from God." Anything we can't describe must have come from God. Personally folks, I believe that if your rights came from God, he would've given you the right for some food every day, and he would've given you the right to a roof over your head. GOD would've been looking out for ya. You know that.

    He wouldn't have been worried making sure you have a gun so you can get drunk on Sunday night and kill your girlfriend's parents.

    But let's say it's true. Let's say that God gave us these rights. Why would he give us a certain number of rights?

    The Bill of Rights of this country has 10 stipulations. OK...10 rights. And apparently God was doing sloppy work that week, because we've had to ammend the bill of rights an additional 17 times. So God forgot a couple of things, like...SLAVERY. Just fuckin' slipped his mind.

    But let's say...let's say God gave us the original 10. He gave the british 13. The british Bill of Rights has 13 stipulations. The Germans have 29, the Belgians have 25, the Sweedish have only 6, and some people in the world have no rights at all. What kind of a fuckin' god damn god given deal is that!?...NO RIGHTS AT ALL!? Why would God give different people in different countries a different numbers of different rights? Boredom? Amusement? Bad arithmetic? Do we find out at long last after all this time that God is weak in math skills? Doesn't sound like divine planning to me. Sounds more like human planning . Sounds more like one group trying to control another group. In other words...business as usual in America.

    Now, if you think you do have rights, I have one last assignment for ya. Next time you're at the computer get on the Internet, go to Wikipedia. When you get to Wikipedia, in the search field for Wikipedia, i want to type in, "Japanese-Americans 1942 and you'll find out all about your precious fucking rights. Alright. You know about it.

    In 1942 there were 110,000 Japanese-American citizens, in good standing, law abiding people, who were thrown into internment camps simply because their parents were born in the wrong country. That's all they did wrong. They had no right to a lawyer, no right to a fair trial, no right to a jury of their peers, no right to due process of any kind. The only right they had was...right this way! Into the internment camps.

    Just when these American citizens needed their rights the most...their government took them away. and rights aren't rights if someone can take em away. They're priveledges. That's all we've ever had in this country is a bill of TEMPORARY priviledges; and if you read the news, even badly, you know the list get's shorter, and shorter, and shorter.

    Yeup, sooner or later the people in this country are going to realize the government doesn't give a fuck about them. the government doesn't care about you, or your children, or your rights, or your welfare or your safety. it simply doesn't give a fuck about you. It's interested in it's own power. That's the only thing...keeping it, and expanding wherever possible.

    Personally when it comes to rights, I think one of two things is true: either we have unlimited rights, or we have no rights at all."

    - George Carlin

    OR... Just watch it.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hWiBt-pqp0E [youtube.com] :)

  • by Jackie_Chan_Fan (730745) on Wednesday August 25, 2010 @06:37PM (#33375290)

    Let me get this straight....

    They can put a GPS device on your car, but what about your body? Both are private are they not? Why is a car which is private property, any different than your personal body.

    Shouldnt the cops have the right to now put a GPS on your body when you have done nothing illegal?

    If they're going to violate private property, it might as well include ALL of your private property.... your body, your car, your house, your phone, your children, your dog.

    Buy your guns folks, while you still can. This country is going to shit.

  • Re:So what? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by st0rmshad0w (412661) on Wednesday August 25, 2010 @06:40PM (#33375322)

    And SOOOOO much easier to beat. Stop at an intersection and have drivers switch cars.

    You'd think the stupid police would realize they are supposed to be tracking THE SUSPECT, not the vehicle.

  • Re:Why I despair (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Jackie_Chan_Fan (730745) on Wednesday August 25, 2010 @06:42PM (#33375350)

    Hell, you dont even need suspicion...

    Everyone is automatically assumed guilty. This is a direct violation of the principles of America.

    The law is engineered to get you... no matter WHAT the truth is. Prosecution want you in jail, no matter what. They do not care if you're innocent. They just want to win, and be right in their own mind.... despite truth.

    Just look at how we argue politics today. We just scream points at each other. No one listens. Each side is out to win, and they dont want to hear truth. They want to WIN. THAT is how the law works...

    They want a win.... not justice, truth, or to uphold the constitution.

  • Re:Why I despair (Score:2, Interesting)

    by rothic (596907) on Wednesday August 25, 2010 @06:46PM (#33375400)

    In today's culture, suspicion == guilt.

    And in yesterday's culture, and in every culture that ever came before or that will ever come after.

  • by youngone (975102) on Wednesday August 25, 2010 @06:48PM (#33375420)
    That happened in NZ last year. The guy involved wound up in court arguing that the device belonged to him, as the Police had left it on his car. He won too.
  • Why Privacy? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Aragorn DeLunar (311860) on Wednesday August 25, 2010 @07:04PM (#33375576)

    Because a government that can search any person at any time can incriminate anyone it wants.

    "During a routine anti-terrorism sweep, civil liberties activist John Doe was found to be in possession of methamphetamine, child pornography, concealed weapons, and pirated ABBA songs. He was immediately taken into custody and is being held at an undisclosed location for the public's safety..."

    Right now we have an important check in the form of a search warrant. Before searching me, a law enforcement agent must demonstrate to a judge probable cause that I have committed, or will commit, a crime. It's not perfect, and there are notable loopholes, but at least there is some documentation and accountability.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 25, 2010 @07:06PM (#33375612)

    "Anyways I can see this possibly creating a small market for GPS jamming devices. The legality of such devices of course would be questionable if not outright illegal."

    Yeah, it would probably run afoul of FCC broadcast rules or something. Still, if these things are ordinarily attached under a car, could you also invent a jammer that would be weak enough to affect only that area?

    Alternatively, GPS signals aren't all that strong, so, of course, you could coat your entire car in aluminum foil and hang a skirt of it around the bottom and over the wheel wells. :-)

  • Re:Countermeasures (Score:3, Interesting)

    by BJ_Covert_Action (1499847) on Wednesday August 25, 2010 @07:07PM (#33375616) Homepage Journal

    They're organized and have guns. Citizens are generally not organized, even when they have guns. I'm afraid the math doesn't work in your favor.

    Ah, except we aren't in the stage that requires guns yet are we? Right now we're in the same cat and mouse stage that we play on the freeways every day. Police started fining for speed limits. Citizens started hiring lawyers. Police started using radar guns. Citizens started making radar detectors. Police set up speed traps. Citizens marked said speed traps on Google maps and GPS units to inform people. Police organize using CV radios. Citizens install CV radios in their cars. Since we aren't at the Mad Max stage of society yet, all those big guns that police are driving around with in their cars are useless in the ongoing battle between liberty and the law on the freeways.

    Similarly, we are not at the stage yet where citizen armies need to organize and wage all out war on the police with regards to invasion of privacy. Right now, we get to play cat and mouse with technology. So the police want to use their better funding and organized networks to track us and invade our privacy? Fine, we take it to the courts. That doesn't work? Fine, we take it to the streets. They have funding and radios. We have access to every bit of tribal knowledge that every citizen has (regarding technology) and access to the internet. You say the math doesn't work in my favor. I disagree. I think armies of engineers, hackers, scientists, idealists, artists, and makers organizing cleverly across the internet can trump a few understaffed and underfunded state police departments any day. So they have paid R&D to make their jobs easier? We have hobbyists and folks with a chip on their shoulder that will R&D citizen technology for no reason other than ego. I say we are more than a match.

    You can call me idealistic, or unrealistic, but I think you would be selling me short. I have watched open source operating systems go toe-to-toe with established organized corporations. I have watched open source microcontrollers go toe-to-toe with embedded systems technology in everything from robots to Segways. I have watched open-source data crunching projects fold proteins and discover pulsars. I have watched bloggers turn out stories that big media outlets have missed. I have watched citizens battle HOA's and states in court based on knowledge of the law they could gain from the internet. I have watched peer-to-peer networks topple an entire wing of the media industry.

    You think the math is not on our side? We are citizens of one of the brightest, strongest, most diverse countries in the world. Freedom is our heritage. Strength is our creed. Justice is our birthright. It is here, on the internet, through collaboration and instant communication that we citizens have been fighting a turf war for liberty for over three decades now, and I've seen us win battles even when the losers want to cry foul and say we didn't play fair. I have seen an entire generation of kids brought up on the notion that knowledge wants to be free and any entity infringing on that notion is evil whether it be government, corporate, or private citizen. You don't think we are organized? Go look at make.com sometime. Go look at ifixit.com. Go look at any website that organizes the entire sum of human knowledge on a particular subject and pits it against those who would deprive us of resources.

    The cops have guns and radios. We have the minds, hearts, hands, backs, and ideals of every loony, hero, genius, crackpot, and madman out there. We are the citizens of the United States of America. If the government really wants to start an arms race with its citizens, you can be damned sure it's going to regret it.

  • by scottrocket (1065416) <loudfellow@gmail.com> on Wednesday August 25, 2010 @07:16PM (#33375728) Journal
    "You bought a car, so we're tracking you"

    My vehicle's OnStar already tracks me, I suspect they still listen in as I talk, possibly read metadata from any burned mp3 cd I might pop in, and then report back to the RIAA or the Club of Rome. Then again, I think everyone's out to get me.

  • by kungfugleek (1314949) on Wednesday August 25, 2010 @07:30PM (#33375874)
    You are not allowed to track government vehicles. A relative of mine is looking at a prison sentence because he hid a GPS device in his wife's car (he suspected her of cheating). His wife is a civilian who works at an air force base. When she went through the gates they detected it somehow and, well, he got in trouble. Granted, the law might be different for police vehicles, but I really doubt it.
  • by interkin3tic (1469267) on Wednesday August 25, 2010 @07:43PM (#33375966)

    It's hard to guess that it's sarchasm when there are so many morons out there who actually believe that.

    Relatively few morons who actually believe that are on slashdot. If someone is saying that here, it's safe to assume they're either joking or are trolling.

    Just witness the vast numbers of "take away all my rights, just protect me from the terrorists" right wing idiots out there.

    I'm far left wing, but I have to say, it's unfair to pin that on right wingers. That's the "idiot of any political leaning" response, not right wing.

    The right wing response is more along the lines of "Kill them all, let God sort them out." Which, I'll admit, after terrorist attacks I very briefly see where they're coming from before my brain starts working again. But anyway, their response is not what you described.

  • by dmgxmichael (1219692) on Wednesday August 25, 2010 @08:38PM (#33376380) Homepage

    Heh heh, yup. Congress and Obama needs to dissolve that particular court - bunch of clowns.

    Justices sit for life yes - the life of their job. Congress can dissolve the 9th circuit and replace it with a new court - this is a rarely used but effective check on judicial over reaching by the other two branches (the president must sign the act dissolving the court into law)

  • by Quothz (683368) on Wednesday August 25, 2010 @09:19PM (#33376628) Journal

    My memory from law class is rusty and it was Canadian law class but Citizen's Arrest is just the right to detain someone you witness in the act of committing a felony for the shortest amount of time possible until you can get an officer of the law there. It's not the actual right to arrest someone.

    Au contraire, like: In the US, private citizens who are not law enforcement officers generally have no right to detain another citizen, only to arrest. TSA officers and other rent-a-cop types have a little more leeway on detention. Remember, to "detain" someone is to briefly stop that person for the purpose of asking questions under the implication that they are required to remain, although they may simply walk away. To "arrest" a person is to stop that person from leaving, and walking away becomes resistance.

    When a cop asks you where you're going at 3 a.m., you're being detained, and you need only stop long enough to ask if you're free to go to ensure that you aren't under arrest. When a cop pulls you over for speeding, you're being briefly arrested.

    There are special laws that may require you to remain in certain general vicinities at times (the scene of an accident or crime, for example), and courts may compel a person to be somewhere without arrest, but whenever one citizen prevents another from going somewhere else, it's an arrest.

  • Re:Countermeasures (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 25, 2010 @10:32PM (#33377028)

    If you find one: Take it apart, put it in a small box (with something that rattles around, like a spare brick phone of some sort that you get outa the bin in a staples or something) mail it to an FBI field office in another state with the return address of the local police dept. Congratulations, you have just created a jurisdictional nightmare. For added fun, make sure to call the FBI field office from that police station warning them they'll be receiving a "package" from "this address."

  • by WNight (23683) on Thursday August 26, 2010 @01:15PM (#33382964) Homepage

    What's wrong with this country is that there are far too many people who think that the world's out to get them, so they'll burn bridges as fast as they can.

    No, the world is setup so that they can get anyone at any time. Almost everything is illegal, or "appears" enough so to arrest someone if interpreted that way by someone looking for an excuse to harass or arrest you. The system doesn't give a shit about you, live or die - the rules are just grease to allow you to be dealt with expediently. It'd be easy to think it's out to get you specifically until you noticed the same things happening to your neighbors.

    The usual police tactic is to escalate a situation as much as possible and try to arrest the suspect for anything. I've had police bully and outright threaten me - with financial ruin, inability to use public services, prison, and violence during the arrest that they told me they'd blame me for. Before you say I instigated it, I've seen the same behavior (usually without the violent threats - most people are smaller than me) directed at a wide range of non-threatening people, friends and strangers. Some instances from police in the same city have ended in their murder of a civilian for which they weren't even reprimanded.

    Had it only happened to me I'd assume it was me but I see the same happening every time I see the police stopping someone. And not just street-kids or anything, even respectable university professors are afraid of the police. Instead of the agency protecting people it instead seeks out charges it can inflict on people who weren't causing any harm. Like any surly, entitled, union employees they work to rule, arresting their quota, be it in speeders, skate-boarders, innocent bystanders, or maybe a real dangerous criminal every now and then.

    How about instead of wasting the police's already-tiny budget on drudgery, we do something to let them be more effective so less mistakes are made in the first place?

    How about authoritarian apologists like you shut your ignorant mouths?

    No asshole, it's not their budget. It's my fucking money and I don't want your or their fucking excuses on how any kind of oversight is going to cost too much. If they can't provide good service we should fire them and hire someone who will.

"Consistency requires you to be as ignorant today as you were a year ago." -- Bernard Berenson

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