GPS, The FBI, and the Fourth Amendment

 

 

In 2004, Antoine Jones, owner and operator of a nightclub in D.C. was suspected of trafficking in narcotics. Various investigative leads were used by the DC police and the FBI, including visual surveillance, use of a camera focused on the front door of his club, and a pen register.

Based on information gathered from the sources, the investigators sought a search warrant allowing them to install an electronic tracking devise on a vehicle Jones used, a Jeep Grand Cherokee. The United States District Court for the District of Columbia issued a warrant authorizing the investigators to install the GPS tracking device in the District of Columbia within ten days. Then agents installed the device on the undercarriage of the Jeep on the 11th day, and while the jeep was in a public parking lot in Maryland.

After 28-day’s surveillance, Jones’ associates and stash houses were identified. District Police seized a total of 97 kilos of cocaine and $850,000. Jones and several of his co-conspirators were indicted, tried, and convicted in 2007.  They were sentenced to life in prison.

On appeal, the government had to concede they did not comply with the terms of the warrant, so they argued that a warrant was not needed. All 9 justices disagreed, for three different reasons. The main argument was that Jones’ vehicle was on a public street and there was no reasonable expectation of privacy.

The Justices also took the position that police already had probable cause (which they needed for the warrant).  This probable cause was usually sufficient to search a car on the roadway, but that argument failed as it was not made to the lower court. Another position argued below was that it was not Jones’ car, as it was registered to his wife.  That argument was also waived as not being raised in the Supreme Court.  What was the ruling?

Five justices said the government trespassed upon private property (the undercarriage), similar to a constable hiding in the baggage compartment to see where it was going, or to overhear the conversations of the passengers, something which would have violated the constitution at the time it was first adopted.

Four others felt Jones did have a reasonable expectation of privacy in the use of the long term GPS tracking of his movements. One of the five, agreeing with the trespass holding, was more concerned with short term tracking, finding it invasive to see if a person visited a psychiatrist, an abortion clinic, a criminal defense attorney, a gay bar, an AIDS treatment center, which house of worship you go to or a pay by the hour motel.

What do we learn from this case? Comply with the conditions of the warrant. Serve it in the jurisdiction, and within the time frame. The court left open the question of the modern technology that would also allow tracking without actually placing a device on the car, with or without a warrant. U.S. v. Jones, January 23, 2012

David M. Waksman, J.D., is a nationally known former homicide prosecutor with vast experience in trying violent offenders and a former sergeant with the NYPD. He served for 35 years with of the Miami-Dade (Fla.) State Attorney’s Office, primarily in the Major Crimes Division. He teaches Case Preparation and Courtroom Presentation, Police Involved Shootings, Injury and Death Investigations, and Criminal Law, at the Miami Dade College School of Justice, In-Service Training Unit and at various police departments in South Florida.  He also taught for twenty years at the Homicide Seminar for the Southern Police Institute. His specialty is Fourth and Fifth Amendment issues. He has tried almost 200 jury trials, including 79 for first degree murder. He is the author of the Search and Seizure Handbook, 3/ed.  It was cited by the United States Supreme Court in Hudson v. Michigan, 547 U.S. 586 (2006), available from Prentice Hall.

Learn more about this article here:

http://www.amazon.com/David-M.-Waksman/e/B001JRV3Q8

– See more at: http://www.lawenforcementtoday.com/2012/09/24/gps-the-fbi-and-the-fourth-amendment/#sthash.w0UcIBKb.dpuf

CONTINUE READING THRU THIS LINK….

Probable Cause: Linchpin of the 4th Amendment

 

 

Except for the definition and mechanism of proving treason, no area of the Constitution addressing the rights of all persons when the government is pursuing them is more specific than the Fourth Amendment. The linchpin of that specificity is the requirement that the government demonstrate probable cause to a judge as a precondition to the judge issuing a search warrant. The other specific requirement is identity: The government must identify whose property it wishes to search or whose behavior it wishes to monitor, because the Fourth Amendment requires that all warrants specifically describe the place to be searched or the person or thing to be seized.

The principal reason for these requirements is the colonial revulsion over general warrants. A general warrant does not specifically describe the place to be searched or the person or thing to be seized, and it is not based on the probable cause of criminal behavior of the person targeted by the government.

With a general warrant, the government simply gets authority from a judge to search a haystack looking for a needle, and in the process, it may disturb and move all the straw it wants. Stated differently, a general warrant permits the government to intrude upon the privacy of persons as to whom it has no probable cause of criminal behavior and without stating what it is looking for.

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court has been issuing general warrants to the National Security Agency (NSA) since 1978, but it was not until last June that we learned that these general warrants have been executed upon the telephone calls, text messages, emails, bank records, utility bills and credit card bills of all persons in America since 2009.

The constitutional requirement of probable cause is not political fancy; rather, it saves us from tyranny. Probable cause is a quantum of evidence that is sufficient to lead a neutral judge to conclude that the person about whom the evidence has been presented is more likely than not to possess further evidence of criminal behavior, or has more likely than not engaged in criminal behavior that is worthy of the government’s use of its investigatory tools such that the government may lawfully and morally invade that person’s natural right to privacy.

Last week, Robert S. Litt, general counsel for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, which runs the NSA, engaged in a curious colloquy with members of the president’s Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board. Litt complained that presenting probable cause about individuals to judges and then seeking search warrants from those judges to engage in surveillance of each of those individuals is too difficult.

This is a remarkable admission from the chief lawyer for the nation’s spies. He and the 60,000 NSA employees and vendors who have been spying on us have taken oaths to uphold the Constitution. There are no loopholes in their oaths. Each person’s oath is to the entire Constitution — whether compliance is easy or difficult.

Yet the “too difficult” admission has far-reaching implications.

This must mean that the NSA itself acknowledges that it is seeking and executing general warrants because the warrants the Constitution requires are too difficult to obtain. Stated differently, the NSA knows it is violating the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution, because that amendment expressly forbids general warrants.

In my career as a lawyer, judge, law professor, author and television commentator, I have heard many excuses for violating the Constitution. I reject all of them when they come from one who has sworn to uphold the Constitution, yet I understand the intellectually honest excuses — like exigent circumstances — when they are based on duty. The NSA’s excuses are not intellectually honest, and they are not based on duty. They are based on laziness.

But there was more than met the eye in Litt’s testimony last week. Two days after Litt admitted to the use of general warrants, and while the president was in Europe, the White House leaked to the press its plans to curtail the massive NSA spying. Those plans, which would change only the appearance of what the NSA does but not its substance, have three parts.

The first change relieves the NSA of the need for general warrants to require delivery of massive amounts of data about innocent Americans as to which the NSA has no probable cause, because the second change requires the computer servers and telecoms to preserve their records — instead of the NSA preserving them — and make them “immediately” available to the NSA when it comes calling. And the third is the requirement of a warrant from a FISA judge before the NSA may access that stored data. But because that warrant is not based on probable cause but rather on NSA whim, it is a foregone conclusion that the general warrants for examination, as opposed to delivery, will be granted. The FISA court has granted well in excess of 99 percent of the general warrants the NSA has sought.

Litt must have known what the White House planned to leak when he made his “too difficult” complaint, as it fits nicely with this new scheme. Yet the scheme itself, because it lacks the requirement of probable cause that the Constitution requires, is equally as unconstitutional and morally repugnant as what the NSA has been doing for five years. Moreover, the NSA will not exactly go hat in hand to the computer servers and telecoms once it wishes to hear telephone calls or read emails or credit card bills. Its agents will simply press a few buttons on their computers when they wish, and the data they seek will be made available to them.

These so-called changes should be rejected by Congress, which should overhaul the NSA instead. Hasn’t Congress seen enough? The NSA and the CIA spy on the courts, Congress, the military, the police and everyone in America. This keeps none of us safer. But it does lessen our freedom when those in whose hands we repose the Constitution for safekeeping look the other way. What other freedoms are slipping because Congress, too, thinks upholding the Constitution is too difficult?

CONTINUE READING…

US considers buying industrial cannabis from Ukraine to improve its economy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The US Department of Agriculture is looking to boost imports of hemp seeds from Ukraine, hoping this will help the country’s battered economy. However, they still do not know what it will be used for.

“We are now involved in trying to figure out ways in which we might be able to use the industrial hemp seeds that are created in Ukraine in the US,” Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack told Bloomberg in an interview Tuesday.

Ukraine is the world’s fourth-biggest producer of industrial hemp seed, the term used to refer to cannabis strains cultivated for non-drug use. Unlike another, most known type of Cannabis grown for marijuana, industrial hemp lacks that same ingredient, THC, which causes physical or psychological effects and gives smoker a high.

Industrial hemp, being one of the earliest domesticated plants known, has many uses from healthy food to making paper, textiles, biodegradable plastics, construction and even fuel.

Easy to cultivate, uses for industrial hemp are growing rapidly.

Ukraine is currently angling for aid from the International Monetary Fund, as much as $20 billion, while it has also been struggling with months of political crisis.

The Obama administration is planning to provide a $1 billion loan for the coup-imposed government of Ukraine, and is working with European allies on a broader package.

CONTINUE READING…

PLEASE HELP RONNIE SMITH’S FAMILY!

 

 

Brian McCullough via Renee Gibson

Ronnie’s sister here. He sent me a message today and I spoke with him a bit ago. It seems that the Dr’s. are giving him 2 weeks to live. He said he will be going home with hospice in a couple days. He is still hoping that the oil will help but is sad also. I have created a gofundme page to help me and his son get from KY to CO to be with him. If anyone can help us out it would be much appreciated.

HERE IS THE LINK TO DONATE!
http://www.gofundme.com/7orqn4

HIS FACEBOOK PAGE IS HERE.  PLEASE SEND LOVE AND PRAYERS!

Brian McCullough For the love of God…, please share this far and wide.On group pages and such…

I have to get off line and wont be back till Monday. I want his friends and ours to send healing energy to my buddy.

I can only hope you all will get this message before it’s too late.

Peace out, Brian

There’s something about me…

sassy
 
Sheree Krider

I do not want to be a politician, nor a lawyer. However, at this point I do wish I had a Law degree!

But I do not want to be put into a position where I can no longer say what I feel is right, but must succumb to the "for the greater good of the people" clause which they use in order to be able to lie to us with a straight face.

I originally came to the USMJParty in 2005 as the Kentucky Chair and Website Administrator. In 2010 I accepted VP of USMJParty although an official Charter was never set up.

In 2011 I appointed William A. Chengelis to Head Chair and Colorado and I resigned the VP position but continued on as Kentucky Chair and help keep up the websites for Kentucky and USMJParty.

Richard Rawlings who was the former Head Chair/President had resigned due to illness, but was still the owner of all of the Websites for the "Party".

Upon his death in February of 2013 I was left with the websites and decided to act as the "Organizer" and Kentucky Chair until such time as the USMJParty sets up an Official Charter and can elect a permanent Head Chairperson.

As Organizer of the U.S. Marijuana Party I can focus on leading the masses thru education and information and get their attention on at least one of the worst Human Rights abuses I have seen in my lifetime with the scope and magnitude of the lies that were spread across virtually the entire GLOBE concerning Cannabis Medications and Hemp, as well as Cannabis for recreational use…

The U.S. Marijuana Party (USMJP) is a "Anti-Prohibition – Repeal and Nullify" Party with regard to Cannabis/Hemp Laws (vs. Legalization – which "leaves" the plant under the total control of the Government and us without any inherit rights to the plant at all). Effectively it is a Pharmaceutical takeover of the plant.

WE ARE MOST IMPORTANTLY A HUMAN RIGHTS PARTY. We need educated – (self-taught is always acceptable), informed, and politically motivated people to run for office under the USMJP. We also need dedicated Chair People and others to set up State Chapters. It is only YOU that can help save our Earth and bring it to peace by petition, voting rights, running for office and activism in whatever form. We are Constitutionalists who believe in adhering to the "Civil Rights" which we were given by the Forefathers of our Country. All of these are important: Human Rights, Civil Rights, Constitutional Rights, Religious Rights, PATIENTS Rights, and many more issues as well, including but not limited to: Global Warming, All other Ecological concerns, Coal Fly Ash and ponds, Fracking, GMO’s and their usage. Human Trafficking, Prison abuse, Children’s Rights, 1st and 2nd Amendment Rights, etc., (It goes on and on…)

After all, as Gatewood Galbraith once said: "There are only two ways to win a war. One is politically and the other to take it to the streets". I damn sure hope the streets isn’t where we end up….

Peace and Prayers to You All!

Sheree Krider

Tennessee House version of bill up for health subcommittee vote next week

Just days after being featured in a Leaf-Chronicle article, Dravet Syndrome sufferer Lexy Harris was in the ICU at Vanderbilt Children's Hospital following a series of severe seizures.

CLARKSVILLE, TENN. — Her mother, Felicia Harris, calls her, “a new face of the medical marijuana debate,” referring to Lexy Harris, 6, who suffers from intractable epileptic seizures as a result of Dravet Syndrome, currently being treated with other drugs.

The other anti-convulsant drugs the Harris family has tried – including experimental and non-FDA approved Stiripentol, which costs $2,000 a month – have a host of possible side effects, including damage to major organs and developmental delays, that parents of children with severe forms of pediatric epilepsy, along with many doctors, say are nearly as bad long-term as the disorders their children suffer from daily.

Recently, a derivative of marijuana called cannibidiol, or CBD, has shown promise as an alternative for treating seizures with fewer side effects, advocated for by renowned physicians, including Dr. Sanjay Gupta, formerly a steadfast opponent of medical marijuana use. However, though CBD does not cause a euphoric high like THC (tetrahydrocannibinol), the best-known and psycho-active component of marijuana, it is illegal in Tennessee.

Until very recently, Felicia had called Stiripentol her “miracle drug,” since it controlled Lexy’s seizures better than other prescriptions. Following a hellish week, she is no longer so sure. Now she intends to testify on behalf of medical marijuana before legislators next week on Tuesday, before the House health subcommittee votes on whether to allow H.B. 1385 before the full committee for another vote.

Hell week

Just days after a Leaf-Chronicle article about the medical marijuana debate in which Lexy’s situation was profiled, she was diagnosed as needing a wheelchair because her legs have become progressively weaker. Lab results showed that medications that Lexy was taking were harming her liver, requiring another medication to control the side effects. Her lowered metabolism, another side effect, required yet another prescription.

On the heels of that, Lexy experienced what Felicia called her most violent seizures ever. Lexy was rushed to Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital, where a day after being admitted, she was placed in the intensive care unit (ICU).

“She started having more violent seizures,” said Felicia. “She had a six-hour seizure in her sleep, very high fever and a tube in her nose to suction this crud from her lungs.”

Lexy was put on a feeding tube through her nose, and her medications were increased. Then she caught a common cold.

“The seizures multiplied,” Felicia said. “She aspirated on her own saliva, which brought on pneumonia and her lungs shut down. They had her on 20 liters of oxygen, the most ever, and her stats were still dropping.”

Lexy had previously been in intensive care due to her seizures and hospitalized repeatedly, but never longer than four days, said Felicia. As of Tuesday, Lexy had been in the ICU for seven days, eight days total at Vanderbilt.

On Tuesday, she woke up and began to seem better. Felicia is hopeful of being able to take her home by Thursday or Friday, but she is more afraid to take her home than at any previous time. And though CBD, which comes in an oil form and is not smoked, remains unproven through clinical testing, Felicia intends to fight for it in Tennessee, while contemplating a move to Colorado, as other Tennessee families of children with pediatric epilepsy have already done. She says she has had enough.

‘Enough is enough’

Penn Mattison, Tennessee father of a 2-year-old girl with an intractable pediatric epileptic condition, hit the wall along with his wife, Nicole, several months ago. The Mattisons are among several families that have already made the move to Colorado, where a high CBD-low THC strain of marijuana known as “Charlotte’s Web” is available.

Mattison was in Nashville on Wednesday, testifying before legislators once again, though he no longer lives in the state and is currently unemployed, as is his wife. He flew back using donations. He says he returns because of families like the Harrises who, being a military family, don’t have the ability to leave the state.

“Our hearts go out to the Harrises,” Mattison said in a phone interview on Wednesday after testifying before the full House committee on health. “It’s a tough situation, as my wife and I know only too well.”

The Mattison’s daughter, Millie, was diagnosed with infantile spasms at 3-months-old.

“She was having 300 seizures a day,” said Penn. “As she got older, she began having myoclonic (cluster) seizures along with the infantile spasms. We sought treatment at Vanderbilt, then Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, with some of the top specialists in pediatrics, genetics and neurology in the country.

“Name the treatment, we tried it. Nothing seemed to help. Last summer, Millie nearly died. Her kidneys shut down from the diet they had her on. After her last EEG (electroencephalogram, used to measure brain activity), the doctors wanted to up her pharmaceuticals, and we said, ‘Enough is enough.’

“We heard about the medical marijuana in Colorado, talked to the families using it there and we thought it was just time. Millie was not getting any better, and we had nothing to lose. In a matter of three weeks, we sold our business and we were gone.”

‘Whole-plant’ vs. CBD-only controversy

While Felicia Harris is considering asking Tennessee legislators to support CBD-only legislation to fast-track help for her daughter, like others have done in various states with pending medical marijuana legislation, Mattison rejects the idea.

“What we’re finding in pediatric epilepsy is that THC is needed in some cases more than previously thought,” Mattison said.

“That’s why I’m looking at states like Florida, Georgia, Alabama and Kentucky that are introducing CBD-only legislation where the CBD oil can only have three-tenths of one percent THC in it, and the fact is, that’s only going to help two percent of the patients they’re trying to help, and probably only a quarter of one percent of the total population that can be helped with medical cannabis.

“I think ‘whole-plant’ legislation is what is needed. I do realize that certain patients can be helped right away with a CBD-only bill, but it’s not fair to leave all the other patients out. I firmly believe that.”

Prognosis: Not good

Neither Mattison nor his friend, Doak Patton of the Tennessee chapter of NORML (National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws) has much hope that H.B. 1385, the Koozman-Kuhn Medical Cannabis Act, is going anywhere in 2014.

H.B. 1385 original sponsor Rep. Sherry Jones (D-Nashville) agrees the measure is a long way from passage, though she has some hope that it will emerge from the health subcommittee next week for a later vote of the full committee. But she said that a wholly negative image of marijuana is stuck in the heads of many of her fellow legislators in the House and Senate.

“They still think a 2 year-old is going to be smoking a joint,” she said in a phone interview late Wednesday evening.

She said that she is going to try to talk to three of the Republicans on the health subcommittee (the committee members are five Republican, three Democrat with a Republican chair) to see where they stand on the bill before they leave Nashville on Thursday evening.

“Right now,” said Jones, “I have three Democrats who are all for it and one Republican – but I can’t say his name – who could be number four. But he doesn’t want to be four, he would rather be number five. So I have to convince one of these other Republicans to help us get this out of the subcommittee.

“Then it goes to the full committe, and then it gets worse. They don’t understand. They don’t have a good reason. They want to talk about ‘dosing’ and kids smoking, but it’s not about any of that…”

‘Maybe next year’

Ten patients with various conditions ranging from epilepsy to cancer and traumatic brain injury/post-traumatic stress suffered in combat testified on Wednesday before the full committee. Next week’s presentation will be smaller prior to the subcommittee vote.

Jones said there were few questions asked, and that health subcommittee chair Barrett Rich (R-Somerville), who she said was definitely opposed, did not ask a single question.

“It was so sad to sit there and listen to all those people testify,” Jones said, “and know that there were legislators sitting there thinking they’re a bunch of terrible people because they want to use medical marijuana.”

Repeated attempts by The Leaf-Chronicle to contact Rich regarding H.B. 1385 went unanswered.

Said Jones, “I’m hopeful for the subcommittee anyway, but after that, we’ll see.

“If the Republicans would just poll their constituents, they would find at least 60 percent support this (the medical marijuana bill). But I expect them to maybe come back next year when one of them will sponsor it and maybe pass it then.”

A bill to legalize CBD oil passed out of a Kentucky State Senate subcommittee last week.

Philip Grey, 245-0719
Military affairs reporter
philipgrey@theleafchronicle.com
Twitter: @PhilipGrey_Leaf

CONTINUE READING HERE….

 

***

HERE ARE A FEW LINKS ON KENTUCKY’S CURRENT MEDICAL MARIJUANA BILLS!

 

February 27, 2014
3:10 p.m.

Medical marijuana bill passes House committee

A bill that would allow the use of medical marijuana by Kentuckians with certain medical conditions has cleared the House Health and Welfare Committee on a 9-5 vote.

If House Bill 350 becomes law, the use, distribution, and cultivation of medical marijuana would be permitted under Kentucky law to alleviate the symptoms of patients diagnosed by a medical provider with a debilitating medical condition. A licensing and registration system to allow the use, growth, and distribution of the drug would be established through protocols set out in HB 350, which is sponsored by Rep. Mary Lou Marzian, D-Louisville.

To read more, click here.

 

Cannabis oil bill passes Senate committee

A measure that would legalize limited medical use of cannabis oil was approved by the Senate Health and Welfare Committee today.

Senate Bill 124, sponsored by Committee Chair Julie Denton, R-Louisville, and Sen. Whitney Westerfield, R-Hopkinsville, would allow doctors at the state’s two university research hospitals to prescribe cannabis oil to patients.

Advocates of cannabis oil use say it is effective at treating certain health conditions, including epilepsy.

“This is going to open the door for some first steps on this issue,” Denton said.

SB 124 now goes to the full Senate for further action.

READ MORE HERE…

MORE IN DETAIL INFORMATION HERE…  (use search term:  medical marijuana)

KENTUCKY HOUSE BILL 350 *

KENTUCKY SENATE BILL 124 *

Please input the BILL number in the search on the website link and it will bring it up.

Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970

Shortly after the 1937 Marijuana Tax Act went into effect on October 1, 1937, the Federal Bureau of Narcotics and Denver City police arrested Moses Baca for possession and Samuel Caldwell for dealing.

 

Scaldwell.jpg

^ "The First Pot POW". Retrieved 2011-03-18. "On the day the Marijuana Tax Stamp Act was enacted — Oct. 2, 1937 — the FBI and Denver, Colo., police raided the Lexington Hotel and arrested Samuel R. Caldwell, 58, an unemployed labourer and Moses Baca, 26. On Oct. 5, Caldwell went into the history trivia books as the first marijuana seller convicted under U.S. federal law. His customer, Baca, was found guilty of possession."

 

 

Baca and Caldwell’s arrest made them the first marijuana convictions under U.S. federal law for not paying the marijuana tax.[19] Judge Foster Symes sentenced Baca to 18 months and Caldwell to four years in Leavenworth Penitentiary for violating the 1937 Marihuana Tax Act.

After the Philippines fell to Japanese forces in 1942, the Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Army urged farmers to grow fiber hemp. Tax stamps for cultivation of fiber hemp began to be issued to farmers. Without any change in the marijuana Tax Act, 400,000 acres (1,600 km2) were cultivated with hemp between 1942 and 1945. The last commercial hemp fields were planted in Wisconsin in 1957.

In 1967, President Johnson’s Commission on Law Enforcement and Administration of justice opined, "The Act raises an insignificant amount of revenue and exposes an insignificant number of marijuana transactions to public view, since only a handful of people are registered under the Act. It has become, in effect, solely- a criminal law, imposing sanctions upon persons who sell, acquire, or possess marijuana."

In 1969 in Leary v. United States, part of the Act was ruled to be unconstitutional as a violation of the Fifth Amendment, since a person seeking the tax stamp would have to incriminate him/herself. In response the Congress passed the Controlled Substances Act as Title II of the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970.[23] The 1937 Act was repealed by the 1970 Act.

Storm is Coming