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4th Amendment Violations And Your Rights

The United States Supreme Court Has Now Allowed 4th Amendment Violations to occur because Law Enforcement Officers are Ignorant of the Law.

If you do not believe that the government, including the U.S. Supreme Court, is at odds with your freedoms protected by the U.S. Constitution, then just read Heien v. North Carolina, 135 S. Ct. 530, (December 15, 2014). For the first time in the history of American Jurisprudence, the United States Supreme Court has authorized law enforcement officers to stop you in your vehicle, interrogate you, search you and arrest you because the police officers are “dumb!” The 4th Amendment of the United States Constitution has been reduced to ignorance of the law, through the recent Heien holding.

The facts of Heien in a nutshell are: Sgt. Matt Darisse was employed with the Surry County Sheriff’s Department, North Carolina.  As all police officers do, the deputy sheriff began following the defendant’s vehicle and dubbed it a “suspicious” vehicle. After following the suspicious vehicle, Sergeant Darisse noticed that only one of the vehicle’s brake lights were working and pulled the driver over. While issuing a warning ticket for the broken brake light, Darisse became suspicious of the actions of the two occupants and their answers to his questions.  Nicholas Brady Heien, the car’s owner, gave Sgt. Darisse consent to search the vehicle. Sgt. Darisse found cocaine, and the defendant was subsequently arrested and charged with felony attempted trafficking in cocaine.

At the trial court level, the defendant filed a motion to suppress arguing that the Deputy Sheriff was ignorant or dumb to North Carolina Law, when he stopped him for only having “a brake light” as that is all North Carolina Statues require. As most trial courts do, the court rejected the defendant’s argument in his motion to suppress, finding the stop, search and arrest to be constitutionally sound. On appeal to the North Carolina Appeals Court, the court there reversed and held that the initial stop was not valid, because driving with only one working brake light was not actually a violation of North Carolina Law which states:

“equipped with a stop lamp on the rear of the vehicle. The stop lamp shall display a red or amber light visible from a distance of not less than 100 feet to the rear in normal sunlight, and shall be actuated upon application of the service (foot) brake. The stop lamp may be incorporated into a unit with one or more other rear lamps.” 

The North Carolina Appeals court got it right, when they upheld the 4th Amendment principles of the U.S. Constitution in reasoning that ignorance of the law on behalf of the government and its police agents are not tolerable in a free society when it forms the reason to stop, search and arrest someone. When government agents and police officers act under the color of the law, their actions must be coupled with knowledge of the law. After all, they are charged with knowing the law.

Up until this point in the history of American Jurisprudence, every police officer was charged with knowing the laws, for which they serve, protect and enforce. The Appeals court ruled that ignorance of the law renders Heien stop, search and founded contraband in his car to be inadmissible. The court said, law enforcement officer’s actions regarding ignorance of the law, while stopping the vehicle under mistake of a statue was unconstitutional under the 4th Amendment of the U. S. Constitution.

Needless to say, the North Carolina Supreme Court then heard the case on appeal and reasoned that the deputy sheriff’s ignorance of the law was “reasonable” and the stop valid. Therefore, the conviction of Heien could stand. The rational by the North Carolina Supreme Court is that reasonable mistakes committed by government agents and law enforcement officers in fact trump the people’s rights under the 4th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. The problem with this interpretation of “reasonableness” is that the court was defining something within a statute that did not exist!

The United States Supreme Court then took the Heien case on appeal and again continued to shred the U.S Constitution, which binds the people to the government, with their disgraceful opinion. In their ill perceived opinion, the U.S. Supreme held that: “reasonable suspicion, as required for a traffic stop or an investigatory stop, can rest on an officer’s reasonable mistake of a law, and the officer’s mistake of law, in stopping a vehicle for a non-existing law is reasonable.”  That is correct; non-existence of law has now become our cornerstone of search and seizure issues in America. This reasoning by the U.S. Supreme Court is as outrageous as the North Carolina’s Supreme Court’s ruling but with broader implications, as Florida in fact adheres to the U.S Supreme Court rulings in all 4th Amendment issues.

The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Heien opens the door for law enforcement officers to make mistakes of law, even when no law actually exist, in stopping, interrogating, searching and arresting citizens because the law enforcement officer believes the non-existence of the law is “reasonable.”  This is clearly the point where logic gives way to unreasonableness for the government to take away our freedoms and rights.

This new founded idea of a “law enforcement officer’s definition of reasonable” has no place in American Jurisprudence. American Jurisprudence, as any 1st year law school student will tell you, is built on the “objective reasonable person” standard. An objective reasonable person could never justly conclude that the U.S. Constitutional freedoms to the people, should be measured against a law that does not exist or on a “subjective” reasonable yardstick standard!

Although proving non-existence in special situation may be legal, like showing that a bag is empty any without content, the proof of “existence” that comes from the one claiming it to be true, when in fact it is false, like the officer’s predicate for why he stopped Heien, can never be justified.  Remember, the traffic law in Heiein, which was articulated by the stopping law enforcement officer, existed only in the officer’s mind, a subjective person’s belief, as all courts concluded that the law for which he predicated his stop of Heien was non-existence in North Carolina.

Hence, the U.S. Supreme Court’s Heien opinion with all the hoop jumping in their illogical conclusion that mistake of law is reasonable, when the law “only” exists in the subjective mind of the oppressor-the government agent or law enforcement officer; is a major blow for the Rights of the American People. This Heien opinion by the U.S. Supreme Court should begin to signal a really constitutional crisis between the people and government. The crisis is that government agents, law enforcement officers, sheriffs, cops, police and others that carry badges and have the power to arrest can find non-existent laws in “their mind” and apply them to the citizens of our country without any judicial recourse.

With the previous crisis in mind, never allow a government agent or police officer to search your vehicle. Never speak to law enforcement officers or sheriffs. Never allow a government agent to search your home or personal possessions. In this historical time of government v. citizens, as clearly pointed out by the judiciary and brought to you by the hand of government, you must take your rights seriously, as the courts have shown that they will not protect you.

If you or a loved one has been arrested for a criminal offense contact Palm Beach Criminal Lawyer Andrew D. Stine, I promise to protect and fight for you! Attorney Andrew D. Stine has been fighting for people, since he began his legal career. As a Palm Beach Criminal Lawyer, who has always defended those accused of crimes and never a prosecuting them as former assistant state attorneys have, West Palm Beach Criminal Defense Attorney Andrew D. Stine will stand with you shoulder to shoulder in your defense.  For over a decade thousands of people have said “Hire Stine or Do the Time!” Don’t wait call (561)832-1170 to speak with Andrew D. Stine today!

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