Why “Criminals” Should Have Rights Pt 3

Considering the popularity this post has on the very blog you’re reading (also a topic for this post), and most of the searches for this topic seem to emphasize why criminals should NOT have rights, it seems like a good time to revisit this topic, with a few more stories. The latest stories I’ve come across:

*A no-knock SWAT raid on over an alleged marijuana package delivered to a home. The name on the package did not match any residents of the home. The package was signed for and left unopened beside the front door. None of this prevented law enforcement from going in and plundering the property, pointing their guns at innocent people. The township listed on search warrant did not match the township where the raid actually took place. No drugs were found, infuriating law enforcement. By my count, two violations of 4th Amendment rights. This story contains an unreasonable search, and a violation of a warranted search, due to the inconsistency with the township. All over marijuana.

*Police execute a drug raid on an apartment. The tenant is physically assaulted, ending up with a fractured arm and a bruised-up face (as depicted in the picture). The apartment is plundered. Drugs are not found. No arrests are made. Constitutional violation: an unreasonable search and seizure, with the destroyed property and the unnecessary assault (according to the cops in the story, though, a necessary assault).

*A suspicious roadside stop involves an unauthorized warrantless search for marijuana. The officer detected marijuana from a vehicle going 35 mph with the windows closed. After ninety minutes and four unauthorized warrantless searches (where the vehicle is plundered) came up fruitless, a single burnt cigarette was finally found after Search #5, which was aided by the fact that the officer’s wireless microphone was turned OFF for this search. The driver was initially charged with a DUI, even though his blood-alcohol level was below the legal limit; eventually all charges were dropped. Your 4th Amendment violations: a warrantless unauthorized search, and an unreasonable search.

*Michael Morton is exonerated after spending 25 years in prison for the murder of his wife Christine. DNA testing strongly leans to Mark Norwood, who lived in the area when the crime occurred, as the actual perpetrator. A pubic hair from a murder scene committed two years after Christine Morton’s murder (when Michael Morton was already locked up) matches Norwood. Police evidence on the Christine Morton investigation included a statement from the Mortons’ then-3-year-old son Eric (present during the murder) stating the killer was not Michael, reports from neighbors about a suspicious man parking a green van behind the Mortons’ home, and Christine Morton’s missing credit card recovered in a different town (with identification of the person who tried to use it). NONE of this evidence was turned over to Michael Morton’s attorneys as required by law. A blatant violation of Mr. Morton’s 5th Amendment right to due process.

Innocent people, already deemed guilty by law enforcement and prosecutors. Because they were deemed guilty, the government actors did not feel the need to respect the rights of these “criminals.”

THIS is why the government is obligated by the Constitution to honor our rights, regardless of innocence or guilt. THIS is what happens when we are all treated like “guilty criminals.”

And it happens every day, all over this country.

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One Response to “Why “Criminals” Should Have Rights Pt 3”

  1. Your Daily Dose of 4th Amendment Evisceration « The Blog For Truth, Justice, & The Josh Way Says:

    […] Amendment violations often result in false arrest, the unnecessary destruction of property, false evidence and police brutality. It’s sad to see a court open a window to more potential […]

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