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Comment: Re:"Full responsibilty?" (Score 1) 332

by Zordak (#49542719) Attached to: Drone Killed Hostages From U.S. and Italy, Drawing Obama Apology

Careful what you wish for, the flip side of war being declared is that all the war-time powers of the president, FEMA etc. are invoked. If you don't want that to happen, you have to somehow define it as non-war military action and then it wouldn't be in violation of the Constitution, you can't have it both ways. And the amendment says only Congress can declare war, but the President is commander-in-chief of the military and there's really nowhere that explicitly states he can't commit acts of war without approval by Congress. It seems implied, but technicalities might matter.

By the way, if you're arguing the person at the top is violating the law then that naturally flows down the chain of command and as we learned in the post-WWII trials, following orders is no excuse. So if the President should go on trial for violating the constitution, the soldier shooting should go on trial for manslaughter. Possibly even murder, because you clearly meant to kill and that you happened to kill a few that weren't the target is like an assassin's collateral. I doubt that goes under manslaughter, really.

The whole military system is so turned on its head now that it has become a distinction without a difference. But it didn't start out that way. The the Framers were very leary of standing armies, and so restricted military appropriations to two years, assuming that major military appropriations would happen only in times of declared war. In the meantime, states could keep militias that could be called up in times of war. That's not how it has worked out, though. We now have a huge standing army, and while we technically follow the rule that military appropriations have a two-year life, we renew them like clockwork every two years. So in effect, we have become exactly what the Framers hated (and had just overthrown).

Comment: Re:"Full responsibilty?" (Score 1) 332

by Zordak (#49542693) Attached to: Drone Killed Hostages From U.S. and Italy, Drawing Obama Apology

Ron Paul for example suggested that we could not and recommended we use letters of marque instead. (which while still allowed are considered antique and haven't be actually used in a long time) In the US

I'm in favor of this, mainly because "privateer" is a cool word, and it would be all swagger and swashbuckling to have them. Also, it would probably be an excellent way to stop African piracy. And paying bounties for capturing/killing terrorists would probably be cheaper than our current war effort.

Comment: Re:A sane supreme court decision? (Score 1) 399

by Zordak (#49528767) Attached to: Supreme Court Rules Extending Traffic Stop For Dog Sniff Unconstitutional

And the only supreme court case to challenge the handler claiming the dog hit repeatedly on the same person when no drugs were found the court promptly through out the challenge with no question of the dog/handler combination.

The conservative side of the court likes to let law enforcement do whatever they want. Scalia in particular bends over backwards to rule in favor of jack booted thuggery at every opportunity.

Antonin Scalia basically single-handedly saved the Confrontation Clause of the Sixth Amendment. And as MorphOSX noted below, he (along with Roberts) voted with the majority on this one. Thomas, Kennedy, and Alito dissented.

It's not as easy as you think to divide the justices up into "liberal" and "conservative," and those two "groups" certainly do not always vote as a block. You may not agree with Scalia's judicial philosophy of constructionism, but he is usually very disciplined and consistent in applying it.

Comment: Re:A sane supreme court decision? (Score 1) 399

I know this is going to be unreasonable, but answer this one. Where in the constitution does it give the federal government the power to ban substances?

You did remember that the constitution doesn't specify rights, but instead grants powers to the government, right?

There's a difference between declaring something an inherent "right" and saying that the federal government does not have authority to regulate it. Yes, drug laws should be the states' business, because states have general police powers, and they don't need a grant of power to exercise it. That doesn't mean you have a right to drugs. It just means states should be free to decide which drugs, if any, are illegal within their borders.

Comment: Re:A sane supreme court decision? (Score 1) 399

"If you are carrying an illegal substance that a dog can detect without invading your privacy, that's your problem."

Is it really though?

Say dogs didn't exist. That we had to invent a tool that acts as a dog's nose. Say this tool had limited mobility, you couldn't bring it everywhere, only to where it was needed.

What then? Could you not argue that dogs and this invented tool are the same thing?

Yes, precisely. The Fourth Amendment doesn't give you a substantive right to conceal crimes. It secures you against unreasonable searches and seizures. If the police get a technology that can detect crime without unreasonable searches or seizures, well, then don't commit crimes. (Whether too many things are crimes in the first place is a completely different matter.)

Comment: Re:Hooray for druggies! (Score 1) 399

I have to agree with the supreme court on principal and we really do have to stand up for our rights lest we loose them. But I would have though the cops had a responsibility to do the search if they suspected an additional crime was being committed. Possibly they were suspicious only due to Mr. Rodriguez's skin color or last name, which clearly shouldn't be permitted. But it they have any other reasonable suspicion that he had drugs why shouldn't they be allowed to investigate. Especially if it's a 7-8 minute process. An hour is unreasonable, but come on, a quick, non-disruptive check seems reasonable.

If the police have reasonable suspicion (i.e., based on some legitimate evidence), then this ruling doesn't apply. They can detain the guy for a few minutes to get the dog. This ruling only applies to where the police have no reasonable suspicion and want to detain him anyway. The Fourth Amendment says they don't get to do that.

Comment: Re:A sane supreme court decision? (Score 1) 399

Well at least the summery seems to leave open the ability to use drug sniffing dogs/tools enmass without suspicion, you just have to complete that task quickly.

That has been the case for a long time. A drug dog can walk down the security line at an airport and sniff bags for illicit drugs without violating anyone's privacy. This really is one of those cases where if you don't want the dog to trigger, don't have drugs in your bag.

Comment: Re:A sane supreme court decision? (Score 1) 399

That was a second detention, done without probable cause (since he had already dealt with the reason for the stop), and was therefore unlawful.

The lack of probable cause is not related to the fact that the officer already dealt with the reason for the stop. Hypothetically speaking, on the officer's return to the vehicle he could have noticed something that would lead to the moving violation turning into a longer detention. That was apparently not the case here.

No, but it is has everything to do with whether the officer can lawfully continue to detain the man. Once the legitimate purpose of the stop is complete, the police have no authority to continue to detain a person. The exception is if, as you say, the officer sees some evidence that provides probable cause of an ongoing or past crime. Then he can extend the detention and take appropriate action.

Comment: Re:A sane supreme court decision? (Score 2) 399

A sane Supreme Court would extend the right to privacy to drug use and possession.

Because the Constitution totally says that people have substantive right to possess and use drugs. It's right there in the Eleventy-First Amendment!

(Pro tip: If there are laws you don't agree with, the place to address them is the Legislature, not the Court.)

Comment: Re:Drug dogs (Score 1) 399

Properly used, drug dogs are good at detecting drugs. The problem isn't the dogs, it is the handlers. A trained drug dog can "alert" when given a cue by the handler, falsely indicating drugs, when the dog didn't sniff any. There is no way to interrogate a drug dog in court about what it was smelling or if it was just following daddy's orders to alert on cue.

I would, if I were a lawyer, put a drug dog as a witness, and if I could get it to cue up an alert, then I would call for dismissal of all things after the dog alerted.

A bullet can also enter a person who has not committed a crime when given a cue by its "handler." Any useful tool can be manipulated by an unethical cop. We either have to live with the fact that useful tools will sometimes be manipulated by corrupt cops, or we have to live without any cops at all. People may disagree on which is better, but those are basically our options.

Regarding your motion, I don't think it would go very far. The fact that the dog can be manipulated doesn't mean that it was in this particular case. It's going to be doubly hard to get the evidence suppressed if the dog alerted on drugs, and it turns out that your client did, in fact, have drugs on his person. "Yes, your honor, this dog is trained to detect drugs, and he did signal that he smelled drugs on my client, but I submit that in fact this dog that is specifically trained to smell drugs didn't actually smell the drugs my client actually had on his person, but was instead responding to a covert signal provided by the arresting officer." You might do better if the dog triggered for drugs, and what the officer actually found was an illegal weapon or something.

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