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Driver Arrested In Ohio For Secret Car Compartment Full of Nothing 670

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the compartment-actually-intended-for-dead-bodies dept.
schwit1 writes about the hazards of driving through Ohio in a car with a secret compartment in the trunk. From the article: "Norman Gurley, 30, is facing drug-related charges in Lorain County, Ohio, despite the fact that state troopers did not actually find any drugs in his possession. Ohio passed a law in 2012 making it a felony to alter a vehicle to add a secret compartment with the 'intent' of using it to conceal drugs for trafficking." This is the first person arrested under the strange law.
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Driver Arrested In Ohio For Secret Car Compartment Full of Nothing

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  • by EvilSS (557649) on Monday November 25, 2013 @09:13PM (#45521429)
    I know Florida has had a law on the books like this for a while and I'm sure other states do as well. I get why they think they need it but it's a serious abuse of our individual rights as it essentially makes it so you are assumed guilty.
    • by cheekyjohnson (1873388) on Monday November 25, 2013 @09:18PM (#45521491)

      If it keeps us safe from terrorists, drugs, child molesters, or other Bad Things, anything is okay. Sacrifice all of your freedoms to stop the Bad Things and just be thankful you're living in the land of the free and the home of the brave.

      • by flyneye (84093) on Monday November 25, 2013 @09:31PM (#45521633) Homepage

        That's probably the mindset of the people in my hometown when they set up local statutes, (still on the books today, but unenforced). I am from the Middle of Nowhere. In the Middle of Nowhere it is illegal for; a black person to ride a horse through town, to be out after dark unescorted or to shout in public places.
        I'm sure it means the same thing.

      • by fahrbot-bot (874524) on Monday November 25, 2013 @09:33PM (#45521645)

        If it keeps us safe from terrorists, drugs, child molesters, or other Bad Things, anything is okay. Sacrifice all of your freedoms to stop the Bad Things and just be thankful you're living in the land of the free and the home of the brave.

        Unfortunately, I like to keep all my freedoms in a secret compartment in my car - damn.

        • Seriously, if I had a secret compartment in my car, I would keep a copy of the King James Bible, a copy of the Constitution and Bill of Rights, and a registered handgun in there.

          • by mattie_p (2512046) on Monday November 25, 2013 @10:02PM (#45521909)
            Make sure you have a "carry concealed" permit for the pistol, otherwise you might otherwise face charges anyway.
            • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 25, 2013 @10:51PM (#45522259)

              One of my friends is a defense attorney. He had a client who was arrested for carrying a concealed weapon while walking down the street (open carry is completely legal). The gun was concealed, by a belt holster. Apparently, under the law, having the gun in a holster counts as concealed in my state and the only way to comply is to either carry it in your hand, have it slung or have it classified as a hunting weapon. That's right, a completely visible handgun in a holster is concealed but a hunting rifle hidden in your coat isn't.

          • by BlueStrat (756137) on Monday November 25, 2013 @10:12PM (#45521993)

            Seriously, if I had a secret compartment in my car, I would keep a copy of the King James Bible, a copy of the Constitution and Bill of Rights, and a registered handgun in there.

            [sarc]
            Terrorist!

            Those are far, far worse than illegal drugs!

            Carrying a copy of the US Constitution, according to the US government, is an indicator of someone possibly being a domestic terrorist, as is anyone who is a military vet, or a Christian, or a member of the TEA Party, or who talks about making the world a better place.

            Enjoy your stay at GITMO.
            [/sarc]

            Strat

            • by dbIII (701233)
              There was that guy in Somalia a few years back who left in a hurry before US troops turned up leaving a book open that was reported in the press as solid proof that he was a communist. In a later report it turned out that the author of the book was Ben Franklin.
          • by arth1 (260657) on Tuesday November 26, 2013 @12:24AM (#45522845) Homepage Journal

            Seriously, if I had a secret compartment in my car, I would keep a copy of the King James Bible, a copy of the Constitution and Bill of Rights, and a registered handgun in there.

            The constitution and amendments, I can understand, but please lose the instrument of murder.
            And the gun too.

        • by oodaloop (1229816) on Monday November 25, 2013 @10:01PM (#45521897)
          So did he. It was full of nothing.
          • by Sentrion (964745) on Tuesday November 26, 2013 @12:39AM (#45522927)

            In between drug runs I would chose to keep a ziploc bag of dog shit in the secret compartment. That way when I get pulled over and my secret compartment is discovered, if they ask "what do you keep in here?" I'd just say "I keep my shit in there." Then when they start poking and sniffing around they can't say I didn't warn them. I'd like to see them bring me to trial for having a compartment full of shit.

      • Child porn could be kept in a hidden box as well! Better add that to the rap sheet.

    • by roc97007 (608802) on Monday November 25, 2013 @10:04PM (#45521919) Journal

      I used to work a convenience store back in college days. Once a day the supervisor would come by and pick up the receipts. The money was enough to make robbery tempting, but not enough to justify a Brinks service. His car had a small key safe incorporated into the bodywork, welded to the frame, and hidden by a false panel. It was big enough to hold the receipts for all the stores under his control, and was hidden cleverly enough to make discovery unlikely if the car was broken into, and perhaps even if the car was stolen. It's interesting to me that such a law would make this legitimate use of hidden compartments illegal.

      • by Demonantis (1340557) on Monday November 25, 2013 @11:47PM (#45522645)
        It would not. The compartment is not being used for drugs. That seems to be what everyone is glazing over. Where I live it is perfectly legal to enter someones home unless you intend to commit a crime so you can save someone shouting for help. You can own lock picks unless you intend to use them to commit a crime. Same thing with masks. You are allowed to have a compartment unless you plan to use it for drugs.
        • by roc97007 (608802) on Tuesday November 26, 2013 @02:32AM (#45523545) Journal

          > It would not. The compartment is not being used for drugs. That seems to be what everyone is glazing over.

          As someone else pointed out, the law reads in part ""No person shall knowingly operate, possess, or use a vehicle with a hidden compartment with knowledge that the hidden compartment is used or intended to be used to facilitate the unlawful concealment or transportation of a controlled substance." (Emphasis mine.) How does one gauge the intention of such a compartment?

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 25, 2013 @10:13PM (#45522003)

      This law has nothing to do with our rights or protecting against crime. It serves three things:

      1: It provides the police legal ammo to threaten a person with disassembling their ride unless they immediately consent to search.

      2: It provides a seized vehicle. Vehicle seizures are big money. Just 1-2 a day of cars can provide a department an added income in the millions of dollars from the police auctions. This is a civil action, so even if found innocent, one's ride is gone.

      3: Ohio is notorious for their private prisons. Private prisons have a very strong lobby, and DAs and judges are forced to convict, or next election cycle, replaced by a candidate who will (with plenty of campaign dollars in their war chest coming in.) On March 27, 2012, Ohio signed a contract that they will keep all private prisons 90% full or else pay fines by the diem.

      Private prison stock is of course having an Apple-esque rise due to this.

      Because of the pressure to keep the private prisons full, it would not be surprising that even the cops on the beat may have an arrest quota, just like a ticket quota, but relying on how many people cuffs go on.

      So, this law is a no-brainer. It gets cash-strapped areas free cars to sell, it puts people in the system who end up paying hundreds of thousands regardless of innocence/guilt, and the guilty ones make two private, well-heeled, powerful companies even more richer, on taxpayer dollars (which makes the state even more cash-strapped.)

    • by beelsebob (529313) on Monday November 25, 2013 @10:30PM (#45522103)

      Not quite the same thing, but in the UK, we have a crime of "going equipped" – that is, carrying tools of the trade to rob houses etc. It's effectively the same law, just with a different target.

    • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Monday November 25, 2013 @10:32PM (#45522123) Journal

      I know Florida has had a law on the books like this for a while and I'm sure other states do as well. I get why they think they need it but it's a serious abuse of our individual rights as it essentially makes it so you are assumed guilty.

      Those who have nothing to hide have nothing to fear! Umm, as long as they don't try to hide the nothing, in which case Gitmo 'em!

    • by slick7 (1703596) on Monday November 25, 2013 @10:53PM (#45522279)

      I know Florida has had a law on the books like this for a while and I'm sure other states do as well. I get why they think they need it but it's a serious abuse of our individual rights as it essentially makes it so you are assumed guilty.

      According to the government, you are guilty, you just do not know it yet. The NDAA, the PATRIOT ACT, the changes to the Miranda laws etc, proves you are guilty even before you are arrested, tried and found guilty. The paranoia of a corrupt government justifies any and all actions the Constitution prohibits. The law makers are above the law, the law enforcers are above the law and the law deciders are above the law, therefore you are guilty.

    • The planet Vulcan is the American future.
  • by shaitand (626655) on Monday November 25, 2013 @09:14PM (#45521445) Journal
    Or is this another one of those BS laws where they bypass due process by stating in the law that "such and such" conditions are sufficient to establish it?
    • by weilawei (897823) on Monday November 25, 2013 @09:27PM (#45521593) Homepage

      "We apparently caught them between runs, so to speak, so this takes away one tool they have in their illegal trade. The law does help us and is on our side," says Combs.

      Apparently? So, you own a house, and your wife was away for a week. I'm going to slander and libel you for being an adulterer, even if I verified that you didn't have anyone in the house for a week, because you were apparently between mistresses. What a cock-up and an abuse of the legal system.

      The law says it’s only a crime if the hidden compartment is added with the “intent” to conceal drugs, but it also outlaws anybody who has been convicted of felony aggravated drug trafficking laws from operating any vehicle with hidden compartments.

      Can anyone find the arrest record/docket and figure out exactly how they alleged intent, or that he was formerly convicted of felony aggravated drug trafficking laws? Otherwise, this looks like a money grab to me.

      As for the car itself, the Institute for Justice’s 2010 “Policing for Profit” report calculated that law enforcement officials in the state have collected more than $80 million in shared proceeds from asset forfeiture funds. Oh, and the hidden compartment law exempts vehicles being operated by law enforcement officers, so if state troopers can come up with an excuse to use the ride they just grabbed, they may be able to keep it for themselves.

      • by Baloroth (2370816) on Monday November 25, 2013 @11:53PM (#45522685)

        The law says it’s only a crime if the hidden compartment is added with the “intent” to conceal drugs, but it also outlaws anybody who has been convicted of felony aggravated drug trafficking laws from operating any vehicle with hidden compartments.

        Can anyone find the arrest record/docket and figure out exactly how they alleged intent, or that he was formerly convicted of felony aggravated drug trafficking laws? Otherwise, this looks like a money grab to me.

        As for the car itself, the Institute for Justice’s 2010 “Policing for Profit” report calculated that law enforcement officials in the state have collected more than $80 million in shared proceeds from asset forfeiture funds. Oh, and the hidden compartment law exempts vehicles being operated by law enforcement officers, so if state troopers can come up with an excuse to use the ride they just grabbed, they may be able to keep it for themselves.

        The bit TFA and TFS omit in the story is that (to quote from the local news source)

        Troopers noticed an overwhelming smell of raw marijuana which gave them probable cause to search the car.

        Assuming they are telling the truth, there is reason to believe the compartment was in fact used to transport drugs. There are more strict chemical tests they could run on the compartment to tell if it actually did contain drugs in the past which, to be honest, is most likely the case (I grant that not all electronically-sealed secret compartments are used for illegal purposes, but I'd be a little surprised if that wasn't the purpose of the majority).

        • What's that I smell? BS? I think we have some probably cause to doubt the police now. Let's search them for past cases and tampering with evidence -- just to make sure...

          So the Police might have a "reason" they investigated, but the lack of finding the Marijuana makes the "intent to smuggle" point a bit moot. This is like arresting people for stuff that COULD be used to do wrong, but is not doing wrong.

          And the drug laws are dumb anyway, if someone is obviously doing harm, then arrest them on the harm that t

      • by Pubstar (2525396)
        From TFA:

        The giveaway this time? Troopers noticed an overwhelming smell of raw marijuana which gave them probable cause to search the car.

        Car smells like pot, they get probably cause, they find a hide, bam, they have intent. The only thing is that I've had cops tell me my car smells like pot before when I don't even smoke pot, nor do any of my friends. They just wanted to search my vehicle. So there is that.

    • by Dahamma (304068) on Monday November 25, 2013 @09:59PM (#45521885)

      From the original article (but not any of the ones discussing it, of course):

      "Troopers noticed an overwhelming smell of raw marijuana which gave them probable cause to search the car."

      I love how people pick and choose their "facts" on these "issues".

      The police pulled a guy over, smelled pot, searched his car, and found a hidden compartment. Not necessarily an open and shut case, but not "absurd" like some describe it.

      Will be interesting if they do find traces of drugs in the compartment

      • by weilawei (897823) on Monday November 25, 2013 @10:07PM (#45521949) Homepage
        And in states like MA, this sort of "overwhelming smell of marijuana" (which cannot later be verified if it was a lie), is NOT probable cause, for the exact reason that police often lie. I have personally had my ripped apart for a police officer claiming I had marijauana (which I did not). I was let go after an illegal search and detention of myself and my passenger, and given a ticket for failing to use my turn signal (while I was going straight, not changing lanes). The cost of a lawyer was simply too high (and I did consult multiple lawyers) to purpose prosection.
      • by Dereck1701 (1922824) on Monday November 25, 2013 @11:25PM (#45522497)

        And how do we know the officers smelled anything? A five minute internet search can come up with case after case where officers claimed one thing (including writing it up in police reports, testifying in court, etc) and later video evidence proved they were telling bold faced lies (Hollywood Florida Framing, BART shooting, OWS protests, Michael Dehererra Beating, Rodney King, Danziger Bridge shootings, etc), oh I'm sorry they "misremembered" the incident. When an independent lab confirms traces of drugs I'll believe it, Until then I personally don't consider an officers statements to carry any more weight than the suspects.

    • by asmkm22 (1902712) on Monday November 25, 2013 @10:01PM (#45521903)

      No, this is an example of a bad Slashdot summary filled with hyperbole. Intent is only mentioned in the law where it relates to building or installing the compartment. These aren't simple boxes hidden under a panel. They're complicated electronic and/or hydrolic devices that require multiple steps to open (turn the wheel all the way to the left, unlock the right side door, recline the seat back and then turn the wipers on once, all in proper sequence). That part of the law was meant to go after the people behind the devices.

      This guy would have been picked up based on the sections that forbid him as a prior felon (not clear if he is or not) or if they detected drug residue in the compartment (which the law specifically mentions as a condition for violation). So if he has a clean drug record, no link to building or installing the compartment, and there was no drug residue in the hidden compartment, then his lawyer should have a pretty easy case for defense.

      • by ebno-10db (1459097) on Monday November 25, 2013 @10:10PM (#45521975)

        then his lawyer should have a pretty easy case for defense

        A few years wondering whether you're going up the river (when did the right to a speedy trial become a joke?), the choice between rolling the dice on a trial and accepting a plea bargain even if you did nothing, a few tens of thousands in legal fees, and you're off Scot free. What a reasonable application of an utterly absurd law.

  • Strange indeed (Score:5, Interesting)

    by reboot246 (623534) on Monday November 25, 2013 @09:14PM (#45521449) Homepage
    Does this law apply if you buy a used car and you don't even know about the hidden compartment? Surely this can't be Constitutional.
    • by EvilSS (557649)
      No, as long as you can prove it was there when you bought the car and you knew nothing of it. Good luck with that.
    • Only if you can prove you had no intent to use the compartment you didn't know about

    • by gandhi_2 (1108023)

      I think Thomas Jefferson would shoot a legislator in the chest with a musket if he were here to see how modern police, lawyers, legislators, judges, and presidents are "interpreting" The US Constitution.

      But above it all, the American public, who for some goddamn reason, simply vote away liberty after liberty. Either in exchange for an Obamaphone,religeous theology in public schools, increased profits, or to protect their safe and liesurly lives... it seems that almost NO ONE is interesting saying no more.

      Oh

    • Re:Strange indeed (Score:4, Informative)

      by ebno-10db (1459097) on Monday November 25, 2013 @10:17PM (#45522023)

      Does this law apply if you buy a used car and you don't even know about the hidden compartment? Surely this can't be Constitutional.

      I don't know if this law is written this way, but it is possible to write a law, even a criminal law, with strict liability. That means you're guilty regardless of your intent or even what actions you took to ensure you weren't breaking the law. Nice, huh? Definitely not how things where done in the past. The common law required mens rea (guilty mind). Even absent that, generally due diligence was an acceptable defense. Strict liability in criminal law should be reserved for police states.

  • by Press2ToContinue (2424598) * on Monday November 25, 2013 @09:14PM (#45521455)

    that this car is is prison.

  • > a secret compartment with the 'intent' of using it to conceal drugs for trafficking

    Your honor, I swear this was designed for my human trafficking only...

    (From here, I can hear lots of of Ohioans happy that their porn was dematerialized...)

  • by hurwak-feg (2955853) on Monday November 25, 2013 @09:16PM (#45521463)
    How do the LEOs know what someone's intention is? I could argue it is to store sensitive work material or items sought after by thieves. What is wrong with putting drugs in there? I have a prescription for Oxycodone before. There are plenty of junkies that would love to get their hands on that. So does this mean police can arrest someone because they think they might have intentions of doing something illegal? Are they going to compensate people for their time and legal fees for arrest based on nothing more than speculation? This is insane. I will admit I didn't RTFA.
    • by Spy Handler (822350) on Monday November 25, 2013 @09:24PM (#45521561) Homepage Journal

      "intent to distribute" has been in the drug laws for a long time.

      "Hate crimes" are pretty close to thought crimes as well. I mean, an assault is an assault and should be punished as one, right? No, they carry extra penalties if the perpetrator was thinking the wrong thoughts while perpetrating the assault.

      Child porn is also practically a thought crime now that they've expanded the law to cover fictional cartoons and drawings.

      • by pspahn (1175617) on Monday November 25, 2013 @10:12PM (#45521997)

        Speaking of thought crimes, after watching the recent Jon Stewart bit about "Good Thing? Bad Thing?" I had the following train of thought...

        Picture some time in the not-too-distant future. A time where cyber-neural interfaces exist. A time where Facebook has given way to some other type of massive network of "thoughts".

        You could be sitting there on your patio and some type of event happens before you. Your brain starts to mull over the options. Should I do this? Should I refrain?

        At the same time, that same set of options is turned into a poll. That poll is sent to the cyber-neural interface of billions of others around the world, much in the same way someone would post something to Facebook looking for feedback. Instantly, the billions of others will respond to those options sub-consciously and the results fed back to you.

        No longer will it be necessary to learn the difference between right and wrong or to otherwise obligate yourself into making moral choices. Those choices will be provided to you in real time by the collective morality every time someone clicks the neural "Like" button for your thought.

        (I admit I was drinking when this idea came to me, but that shouldn't detract from its disturbing nature)

    • by blueg3 (192743)

      Law enforcement doesn't know, they only suspect. Hopefully they have a reasonable suspicion (and hopefully a judge holds them to it).

      When you go to trial, the judge doesn't know your intent, either. He's there to decide on matters of law. Your intent is a matter of fact. The job of deciding it is up to the people in the jury box.

    • by Fwipp (1473271) on Monday November 25, 2013 @09:45PM (#45521747)

      Well, you see, he's black: http://www.nuttynewstoday.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Norman-Gurley.png [nuttynewstoday.com]

      Therefore, he's obviously all caught up in drugs, and the police have done a fine service by removing this violent criminal from society.

    • by physicsphairy (720718) on Monday November 25, 2013 @09:45PM (#45521759) Homepage

      The summary is somewhat misleading. Per the linked law:

      To enact section 2923.241 of the Revised Code to prohibit designing, building, constructing, fabricating, modifying, or altering a vehicle to create or add a hidden compartment with the intent to facilitate the unlawful concealment or transportation of a controlled substance, prohibit operating, possessing, or using a vehicle with a hidden compartment with knowledge that the hidden compartment is used or intended to be used to facilitate the unlawful concealment or transportation of a controlled substance, and prohibit a person who has committed a first or second degree felony violation of aggravated trafficking in drugs from operating, possessing, or using a vehicle with a hidden compartment.

      His intent is irrelevant due to his prior felony conviction. That is what has him in trouble. I imagine the 'intent' clause is mostly for people found with actual drugs or weapons stored in the compartment, in which case their intent is obvious.

      • by tibit (1762298)

        This is the insightful post in this whole mess. All that we really needed. No other posts needed. Seriously.

      • by whoever57 (658626) on Monday November 25, 2013 @10:00PM (#45521889) Journal

        and prohibit a person who has committed a first or second degree felony violation of aggravated trafficking in drugs from operating, possessing, or using a vehicle with a hidden compartment.

        So the jury get to hear about prior convictions before deciding on the accused person's guilt. Neat!

        • by westlake (615356)

          So the jury get to hear about prior convictions before deciding on the accused person's guilt. Neat!

          The prior felony conviction for trafficking is what makes possession of the secret compartment a crime.

          Is it necessary in a felon in possession of a firearm case that the jury know that the defendant is a felon?

          Other jurisdictions seem to think so. Six federal circuits and several states have concluded that the jury must be apprised of all elements of the offense, even status elements. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit noted that if jurors are left in the dark about a key element of the crime, then jurors might question whether the elements submitted to them should constitute a crime at all. Jurors might question why a defendant is being charged with merely possessing a firearm when, under ordinary circumstances, possessing a firearm is legal.

          Prior Conviction as an Element of a Crime: The Effect of Stipulations After State v. Warbelton [marquette.edu]

      • by DrJimbo (594231) on Tuesday November 26, 2013 @01:11AM (#45523117)

        The US has more prisoners per capita and also more total prisoners than any other country on earth. This is a huge drag on the economy. Not only is there a massive cost for keeping all of these mostly non-violent people imprisoned, we are also deprived of their contribution to the economy. Locking someone up often destroys not just their life but the lives of their children and other family members.

        Passing more laws against non-violent crimes to lock up more non-violent people is going full tilt in the WRONG DIRECTION!

        FTFA:

        "We apparently caught them between runs, so to speak, so this takes away one tool they have in their illegal trade. The law does help us and is on our side," says [Lt. Michael Combs with State Highway Patrol].

        Lt. Combs is delusional if he thinks his "side" can possibly win their war on drugs. It is possible that outlawing secret compartments is a natural extension of the war on drugs but that just shows how idiotic and insane the war on drugs is. Even if they took away all of our remaining civil liberties, the war on drugs would still be unwinnable. How much more must the American people sacrifice for the sake of this unwinnable war?

        OTOH, Mr. Gurley is lucky he was not pulled over in the state of New Mexico where at least two different people have been forced to undergo enemas, colonoscopies, and anal probing [cnn.com] based on acting nervous after a routine traffic stop:

        After Eckert was pulled over, a Deming police officer said that he saw Eckert "was avoiding eye contact with me," his "left hand began to shake," and he stood "erect (with) his legs together,"

        We are wasting billions of dollars; we are destroying millions of lives; we are militarizing our civil police departments; we are trashing our civil liberties; and we are destroying at least one neighboring country all in the name of a war on drugs that is impossible to win. It is stupid, it is sick, it is insane. It must stop.

    • How do the LEOs know what someone's intention is?

      They only need probable cause, a threshold which can be less than 50-50 according to a 1983 Supreme Court decision.

  • What a joke.... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Immostlyharmless (1311531) on Monday November 25, 2013 @09:17PM (#45521475)
    Any lawyer worth half a shit will get this tossed out. It's a useless law for it's intended purpose, it's designed as a plea bargain tool. If they decide to use this particular case to test the legality of this law, they are going to be sorely disappointed.
  • Tire compartment (Score:5, Interesting)

    by QuantumLeaper (607189) on Monday November 25, 2013 @09:17PM (#45521479) Journal
    I have a hidden compartment in my car it, came that way from the Factory, it were I store my spare tire and jack. So under this crazy law, would that be illegal too?
    • No because it specified "making it a felony to alter a vehicle to add a secret compartment".
      • by tftp (111690)

        As I said elsewhere, my car already has those, made at the factory and described in the user's manual. But what if your car doesn't, and you would like to store money or jewelry while on a road trip? That can't be illegal. Your car will be parked at motels, and that exposes you to the risk of losing your valuables.

        Another question is in the word "secret." What does it mean? How secret is secret? What is the threshold of work to classify the compartment as secret? Does a backseat organizer qualify? Does a

  • ... can the Ohio legislators fit into that empty compartment between their ears?

    Seriously: "With the 'intent'?" Does Ohio have a concealed carry law? Just stuff a gun or a spare clip in there. Your 'intent' was to keep your weapon safe. Think of the children.

  • Encryption is next (Score:4, Insightful)

    by nytes (231372) on Monday November 25, 2013 @09:25PM (#45521569) Homepage

    So, next up: A law that makes it a felony for using encryption to conceal evidence of terrorism.

    Now they can nail you just for using encryption with your email.

  • by Eggplant62 (120514) on Monday November 25, 2013 @09:31PM (#45521629)

    I don't see how they prove intent here. Empty container -- I could store guns, money, drugs, or *any other valuable item* I don't want exposed and out there for someone to heist by smashing the glass in the vehicle. I don't suppose I have a right to secure my property in any way I see fit? Intent is missing here and the prosecutor is going to have to stretch the truth quite a bit to prove his case.

  • by Japher (887294) on Monday November 25, 2013 @09:41PM (#45521713)
    http://www.legislature.state.oh.us/bills.cfm?ID=129_SB_305 [state.oh.us]
    (I) This section does not apply to a box, safe, container, or other item added to a vehicle for the purpose of securing valuables, electronics, or firearms provided that at the time of discovery the box, safe, container, or other item added to the vehicle does not contain a controlled substance or visible residue of a controlled substance.

    So it's OK to have a hidden compartment in your car as long as it does not contain a controlled substance or visible residue of a controlled substance. For the record, I still think the law is crap but it's not as bad as the article makes it out to be.
  • Interesting... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by asmkm22 (1902712) on Monday November 25, 2013 @09:46PM (#45521767)

    As bad as the law is, according to the law's language itself, he shouldn't have been arrested. Here's the last section of the law:

    (I) This section does not apply to a box, safe, container, or other item added to a vehicle for the purpose of securing valuables, electronics, or firearms provided that at the time of discovery the box, safe, container, or other item added to the vehicle does not contain a controlled substance or visible residue of a controlled substance.

    Only one section of the law mentions the word "intent" and that's in reference to actually building or installing the hidden compartment. So unless this guy also had a prior drug felony, or unless they could show he installed the compartment himself, there's no real case against him. I'm guessing he has a record though, which is why the went forward with the arrest.

  • by Tokolosh (1256448) on Monday November 25, 2013 @11:06PM (#45522365)

    Three Felonies A Day: How the Feds Target the Innocent - Harvey Silverglate

    From the Amazon synopsis

    The average professional in this country wakes up in the morning, goes to work, comes home, eats dinner, and then goes to sleep, unaware that he or she has likely committed several federal crimes that day. Why? The answer lies in the very nature of modern federal criminal laws, which have exploded in number but also become impossibly broad and vague. In Three Felonies a Day, Harvey A. Silverglate reveals how federal criminal laws have become dangerously disconnected from the English common law tradition and how prosecutors can pin arguable federal crimes on any one of us, for even the most seemingly innocuous behavior. The volume of federal crimes in recent decades has increased well beyond the statute books and into the morass of the Code of Federal Regulations, handing federal prosecutors an additional trove of vague and exceedingly complex and technical prohibitions to stick on their hapless targets. The dangers spelled out in Three Felonies a Day do not apply solely to “white collar criminals,” state and local politicians, and professionals. No social class or profession is safe from this troubling form of social control by the executive branch, and nothing less than the integrity of our constitutional democracy hangs in the balance.

  • by Sponge Bath (413667) on Monday November 25, 2013 @11:10PM (#45522389)

    Han: It's not mine, I'm holding for the wookie!
    Chewie: Rraaaaawwwrrrr!

  • by BenJeremy (181303) on Tuesday November 26, 2013 @12:34AM (#45522889)

    So... if I have a hide-a-key compartment under my fender, and I drive through Ohio, I would be guilty of breaking this law. Those boxes are big enough to "smuggle" drugs, certainly, though only in "criminally" personal amounts.

    Wow.

"Only the hypocrite is really rotten to the core." -- Hannah Arendt.

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