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For those of you packin' heat when you ride at night...(19 posts)

For those of you packin' heat when you ride at night...mdehner
Dec 23, 2003 4:30 PM
make sure you also have your bike lights.

"Police stopped a bicyclist for riding at night without the required lights. A consent search of his backpack found a gun, resulting in the charge of Felon in Possession of a Firearm. Defendant moved to suppress the physical evidence and statements, contending that the detention was illegally prolonged past the time necessary to carry out its purposes, the issuance of a traffic citation. The motion was denied, with the court holding that a quick radio check on defendant's identification was not an unreasonable seizure. The court also held that there were sufficient objective facts to arouse the officer's suspicion to seek consent to search without violating the Fourth Amendment. US v. Wilson, CR 03-376-KI, Opinion and Order of Dec. 5, 2003."
Get real53T
Dec 23, 2003 5:05 PM
The cops had this guy ID'd or profiled before they dreamed up the lack of lighting excuse. Why in God's name would you call in an ID check on a cyclist with improper lighting?
Get realj-son
Dec 23, 2003 9:00 PM
Get real, indeed. As a police officer, I would wonder about cops who don't perform an ID check when they stop someone, for whatever valid reason. It's standard procedure. And it's Constitutionally 10-4. Such a stop is generally called a "Terry Stop" (after the Supreme Court case Terry v Ohio).

An example: a week or so back, I stopped a car for an innocuous illegal turn. A simple traffic violation. I called in an ID check on the driver, who ended up having outstanding warrants. The two passengers were acting a little off. Nothing criminal, mind you. They were just sending off some strange vibes. So I called in an ID check on them as well. They both ended up having outstanding felony warrants. You might call this profiling. I call it good police work.

Does profiling happen? Sure. Is it wrong? Yes, if it's based solely on factors such as race, ethnicity or socio-economic status.

But is it profiling to stop and talk to a guy who's riding (or walking) while wearing a back-pack? At night, in a high crime area, known for burglaries and drug activity? Sure, it's profiling. Profiling the criminals.

The weekend after Thanksgiving. I "profiled" just such a criminal. He was walking early in the morning through a downtown parking lot. Wearing a backpack. After a vehicle burglary had been reported in the area.

I asked him what he was doing. "Just out for a walk," he said. Alone, early in the morning. With the temp hovering in the 20s with a positively arctic windchill. Curious, I thought. ID'ed him and patted him down. What do you know, a crack pipe in one pocket. And evidence of the vehicle burglary in his backpack.

Best,
Jason
Hold on there53T
Dec 24, 2003 6:39 AM
I didn't mean to say that profiling was a bad thing. I was just pointing out that the cyclist in the story was probably not what we might think of as a typical cyclist. Cops just don't make stops on normal cyclists for improper lighting. There was something else about this guy, something that was not reported in the news story, that made the cops interested in this person. Perhaps there was already a report of a suspicious person on a bike, but the news reporter didn't think that was important (read: enetertaining).

Additionally, I would only advise cyclists to cary guns after they receie the proper permit/license.
Another example of the Man bringing us down...shawndoggy
Dec 24, 2003 10:08 AM
C'mon man, the Terry stop pat down is granted to law enforcement to make sure that the guy isn't going to pull a gun on you. You can also pat down and pull easily identifiable contraband. But you mean to tell me that you can ID a crack pipe in someone's pocket from a pen or a chapstick? Did you feel a car stereo or something in his backpack?

I know what you mean (a dude who is in the wrong place and the wrong time and looks like a crackhead probably is a crackhead) and I appreciate your service, but the beauty of America is that the crackhead needs to do something wrong before you pop him.

My two live free or die cents.
Hey, Doug, how about some free legal advice on searches?Cory
Dec 23, 2003 5:23 PM
I don't intend to be in the situation, but I've heard of a couple of cases lately that piqued my curiosity. If I get pulled over, and there aren't any beer bottles on the dash or anything, and they ask if they can search, what are my rights?
Assume I'm sober, there's nothing in plain sight, I'm courteous and call the officer "Sir". . .
No, wait: I'm a middle-aged white guy in a respectable car, I'm not going to get stopped. Make it my 23-year-old son. Ratty old Toyota, ratty little beard, jeans and T-shirt, but otherwise the same conditions. Does he have the right to say No? I assume they'll keep him there and get a warrant if they really suspect something, but just in an ordinary stop?
Just bill me at your usual hourly rate....
LOL !CARBON110
Dec 23, 2003 6:06 PM
They will keep him there and wait for a warrant. That takes a long time by the way and they will probably ask him to go with them to the station to wait for the paper work to be issued if your on the high way or something. Then you can fight it in court.

I was pulled over in Hilton Head Island and issued 5 tickets. Thats right 5 tickets, speeding and a bunch of others due to the fact that the officer would not accept my VT licence since he thought it "didnt look like real" and forced me to abandon my vehicle on a busy free way even after he read my ID # to the station 4x. I was driving a Land Rover new and wearing a button down shirt freshly shaved at 24 years of age and white as snow. He too is white. I took him to court and won, got an apology from his lieutanant and a personal call from him giving me another apology plus all my tickets, ALL OF EM thrown out. Damn southern crackas still got it in fo us Yanks :D
LOL, Y'all...seyboro
Dec 24, 2003 4:35 AM
Mr.110, do you know the difference between a 'Yankee' and a 'Damnyankee' ( And yes, that IS one word!!)?
Well, here it goes:
A Yankee comes down here and visits. A Damnyankee comes down here, visits, and STAYS.
See, that cop was just trying to do his job...
Ya Hear !CARBON110
Dec 24, 2003 7:56 AM
Don't get me wrong my rebel friend, I have as much affection for the south, even more when Im on my bike thanks to those beautiful southern bells and perfect roads, as I do the north. However, I found it financially beneficial to keep my regestration of a VT resident since I would not have to pay rediculous annual taxes on my cars. There for I have green mtn state plates on my autos and they stick out like an albino at the Apollo when Im in SC
Good heavens, man!!!seyboro
Dec 24, 2003 8:23 PM
Not payin' no stinkin' taxes and wantin' to ride our roads?? That cop oughta git a medal!
P.S.: Ever thought of just switchin' them thar VT plates for large red and white bulls-eyes?
This happened to me...?Bill B
Dec 23, 2003 6:25 PM
I was riding home from work one night, brfore dusk, when a cruiser pulled along side of me and TOLD me to stop, the two cops inside parked the car across my bow as if to prevent me from escaping. I asked what I was being stopped for and the first cop said he'd get to that and asked if I had any I.D. I gave him my expired drivers liscence. He wanred to know why I had an expired liscence, I told that I did not drive so did not need one. He grunted and called in my specifics on his portable radio. During this time his partner walked behind me and lifted my backpack off my shoulders and asked what was in it. I told him my dirty cycling clothes from the mornings ride. He Grunted. While the first cop waited for the radio to get back to him He ask me what weapons I had on me, I told him none, He qustioned my response by saying you have no weapons on you? i was thankful then that I had taken the dull, little pen knife off of my keychain. The cop behind me asked me what they had arrested me before for. I told that I had never been arrested, he said you've never been arrested? I said no, I hadn't. The first cop asked me how much money I had on me. I said maybe 15-20 bucks, he said you don't know how much money you have on you? I said I had enough to get some lunch, other than that I did not, he grunted. The radio came back that I had no warrants so the first cop told me I could go. I asked them again why they had stopped me thinking that maybe I matched the description of a fleeing suspect and this was all a just a mistake. The first cop told me that I had run a stop sign earlier, I know that I did not run that sign as I know the intersection is busy. I did do a trackstand long enough to look both ways to be sure nothing was coming and I did not see them. I guess this is what an orange alert is. By the way I am 46 years old have short hair was wearing neat shorts and a polo shirt. Not your typical low life.
I'm not a lawyer, but I grew up in a cop family...russw19
Dec 23, 2003 6:43 PM
The "correct" answer to that situation *depending on the state you live in* is to tell the officer very politely that they may search your vehicle, but they may not enter it. That means you just gave them legal consent to do something they can already do. It means they can shine a flashlight into your car and anything they can see in plain view is fair game. If they see a bottle, they will detain you and call for a warrant, but you just gave them probable cause to open your vehicle if they see something out of the ordinary.

If you tell them they can search but not enter, you don't give probable cause to get a warrant because you are accomadating the officer to the extent that the law demands you do so. What they can do is look thru windows, but even if a window is open, they can not lean into your vehicle to get a better look or the search is illegal. If you tell them they can not search your vehicle at all you gave probable cause to get a warrant and search it anyways.

There is a "technical term" for not allowing the search...it's called "POPO" or pissing off a police officer. Don't do it. Say "yes sir, no sir, yes ma'am, no ma'am" and be polite, but be firm. "You can search my vehicle all you like sir, but do not enter it."

Again, this may vary per state, so I am interested to hear what someone like Doug would say about it, but it's true in Florida (so far as I know... no guarantees!)

Russ
Hey, Doug, how about some free legal advice on searches?FTMD
Dec 24, 2003 6:17 AM
Don't do all that much criminal work, but as I recall from school, it is okay to decline the request for consent to search, and the PO cannot use your refusual to then develop probable cause. Your refusual cannot be used agaisnt you.
I'm no criminal lawyer, but check this out:shawndoggy
Dec 24, 2003 10:33 AM
KNOWLES v. IOWA

certiorari to the supreme court of iowa

No. 97-7597. Argued November 3, 1998--Decided December 8, 1998

An Iowa policeman stopped petitioner Knowles for speeding and issued him a citation rather than arresting him. The officer then conducted a full search of the car, without either Knowles' consent or probable cause, found marijuana and a "pot pipe," and arrested Knowles. Before his trial on state drug charges, Knowles moved to suppress the evidence, arguing that because he had not been arrested, the search could not be sustained under the "search incident to arrest" exception recognized in United States v. Robinson, 414 U. S. 218 . The trial court denied the motion and found Knowles guilty, based on state law giving officers authority to conduct a full-blown search of an automobile and driver where they issue a citation instead of making a custodial arrest. In affirming, the State Supreme Court applied its bright-line "search incident to citation" exception to the Fourth Amendment's warrant requirement, reasoning that so long as the officer had probable cause to make a custodial arrest, there need not in fact have been an arrest.

Held: The search at issue, authorized as it was by state law, nonetheless violates the Fourth Amendment. Neither of the two historical exceptions for the "search incident to arrest" exception, see Robinson, supra, at 234, is sufficient to justify the search in the present case. First, the threat to officer safety from issuing a traffic citation is a good deal less than in the case of a custodial arrest. While concern for safety during a routine traffic stop may justify the "minimal" additional intrusion of ordering a driver and passengers out of the car, it does not by itself justify the often considerably greater intrusion attending a full field-type search. Even without the search authority Iowa urges, officers have other, independent bases to search for weapons and protect themselves from danger. Second, the need to discover and preserve evidence does not exist in a traffic stop, for once Knowles was stopped for speeding and issued a citation, all evidence necessary to prosecute that offense had been obtained. Iowa's argument that a "search incident to citation" is justified because a suspect may try to hide evidence of his identity or of other crimes is unpersuasive. An officer may arrest a driver if he is not satisfied with the identification furnished, and the possibility that an officer would stumble onto evidence of an unrelated offense seems remote. Pp. 3-6.
re: For those of you packin' heat when you ride at night...10kman
Dec 23, 2003 5:59 PM
I think that, like someone else already said, this person was probably being hawked by the long arm of the law anyway. I highly doubt an officer would waste his/her time because a cyclist doesn't have a light on or something, I've seen about a million more things that are way more important go without even a second glance (hail living in a city).

On another note, if he/she had a license to carry a concealed weapon, and wasn't on some form of federal ground at the time, I don't think it would be a problem anyway (more details involved, but generally).

That's why I think the person already had something against him that the law didn't like........
Standard varies somewhat from state to statetmguy
Dec 23, 2003 6:20 PM
The following does not constitute legal advice (my days of criminal proceudre are 10 plus years ago.) Generally, it takes probable cause and reasonable articulable facts to sustain a search as part of a traffic stop. I think the key word is "consent" in the second sentence. Once you consent, you are toast. Unless you are absolutely sure, never consent.
No such thing as a warrant to search a carlc21998
Dec 24, 2003 8:43 AM
I do practice crim defense and there's no need to get a warrant to search a car. All the cops need is probable cause. This is the same standard for getting a warrant but they don't have to waste time to go to a magistrate.

They can look through the windows and acquire probable cause based on what they see. They can also do a Terry stop, which is a pat down for weapons. It's designed to ensure officer safety but allows them to find anything that's within plain feel.

It still amazes me how many people consent to searches when they know they've got contraband. What are they thinking? They're also the ones who say "I'll talk to you without a lawyer." Sigh. (By the way, I do these types of criminal cases pro bono. My real practice is white collar crime.)

Benjamin
I was a victim of profiling...ORdirtydown
Dec 24, 2003 9:11 AM
I was arrested for DUI. I later found out the cops were pulling everyone over that was driving on the sidewalk. :)

When I get stopped on my bike, I ease the tension by telling them that, "I was forced to ride my bike because my truck is in the shop getting a cattle gaurd installed on the front. I damaged my right fender when I ran over a couple of anarchists that were coming from the Rainbow rally to the Country Fair." :) I live in Eugene, Oregon (if you know what I mean).

Sorry. I have to work today and I am really bored.
Damn Anarchists! Probably got that way listening to Punk Rock!russw19
Dec 24, 2003 10:58 AM
Once they get that punk rock in their heads, they just go all crazy!

Russ