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The New Jim Crow: Chapter 2

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Adelaida Kim

on 9 April 2013

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Transcript of The New Jim Crow: Chapter 2

By Cason J., Adelaida K., Jason L., Nathaniel P. The New Jim Crow
Chapter 2: The Lockdown Rules of the Game Just Say No Supreme Court Sanctions Legal Misrepresentation The Fourth Amendment isn’t the only rule violated in these situations; most of the American civil liberties have been undermined due to the drug war.
The Court has allowed the following: War on Drugs tactics #1: Consent Searches Started in 1960’s but rarely used until the 1970’s
-primarily for hostage situations, hijackings, and prison escapes Once arrested, one's chances of ever being truly free of the system of control are slim, often to the vanishing point.
Tens of thousands of poor people go to jail every year without ever talking to a lawyer.
Approximately 80% of criminal defendants are indigent and thus unable to hire a lawyer.
People fear police harassment, retaliation, and abuse−especially poor people of color. Those looking for an attorney often find that unless there are broken bones and no criminal record, private attorney would unlikely be interested in the case.
Without significant provision over the authority when exercising police discretion, they can arrest Americans for nonviolent drug charges with relative ease.
The Supreme Court lets them do it by, and I quote, “eviscerating Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable searches and seizures by the police.”
Due to this, people are outright saying that there is a “virtual drug exception” in the Bill of Rights. What this means is that the Supreme Court is creating and abusing a section of the Bill of Rights that does not legally exist. Law does not restrict the police when it comes to the War on Drugs. The Fourth Amendment The Fourth Amendment is, “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.” The searches, seizures, and disreputable behavior of the police were basically what sparked the American Revolution. The Fourth Amendment was drafted due to this behavior, also because the Founding Fathers deemed it “a necessary element of the Constitution.”
The Supreme Court enforced this amendment without fail until the beginning of the War on Drugs. The big case that saw the mistreatment of the Fourth Amendment was California v. Acevedo. Noted that the police were issuing searches either without warrants or with defective/expired warrants, and that despite these setbacks, the Supreme Court allowed these searches to be conducted. Drug tests of employees and students
Random drug searches in schools and among student belongings
Allowing police to obtain search warrants based on anonymous tips
Expanding the government’s wiretapping authority
Using paid, unidentified informants for police and prosecutors
Approving helicopter surveillance of homes without a warrant
Allowing the forfeiture of cash, homes, and other property based on unproven allegations of illegal drug activity Unreasonable Suspicion The understanding of the Fourth Amendment is that the police can search anyone without a warrant if they have probable cause to believe that someone is engaged in criminal activity. In the Terry v. Ohio case, the Court modified the rule so that police can conduct searches for weapons or other suspicious items in order to “protect themselves and others in the immediate area.”
Is referred to as the “stop–and–frisk” rule. Justice Douglas objected to this rule, saying that abuse of warrantless searches was one of the catalysts of the American Revolution. This sentiment was not shared by others. However, he was right. In the years after Terry v. Ohio, the police have stopped and frisked anyone at any place, and this is becoming more commonplace for people of color.
Today, police can stop you and search you for either any reason or no reason at all; all they need is your “consent.” Police used suspicion less sweeps of buses in interstate travel. They request passenger’s “consent” to search luggage. Passengers are never informed of that they are free to refuse or not answer. Florida v. Bostick Terrance Bostick, 28 year old African American, was searched after officers asked for his bag. Bostick complied despite carrying a pound of cocaine. Florida Supreme Court rules that the search violated Bostick Fourth Amendment rights and overturned the case. US Supreme Court reversed this ruling stating that the search was voluntary and therefore not “seized” under the Fourth Amendment. Other courts have said that police searches by consent may lead to racial and ethnic discrimination, such as young black men being targeted for these searches more than older white women.
“The average person encountered will feel obliged to stop and respond. Few will feel that they can walk away or refuse to answer” –federal judge Prentiss Marshall Poor Excuse War on Drugs tactic #2: Pretext stops and consent searches Police use minor traffic violations as an excuse to “request consent” to search motorists’ vehicles (for drugs).
Atwater v. City of Lago Vista Ohio v. Robinette Police pulled over Robert Roninete for allegedly speeding. Robinete’s license was checked and a warning was issued without a ticket. Robinete was ordered out of his car and asked if he “consent” to a search. The officer found a small amount of marijuana and a single pill of methamphetamine.
After this event, Ohio court adopted a bright-line rule: unambiguous requirement that officers tell motorists that they are free to refuse or leave before the officer asks for consent to search. US Supreme Court struck it down as “unrealistic.” US Supreme Court says that nobody needs to be informed of their rights during a stop and search and police may use minor traffic stops and “consent” searches to stop and search regardless of evidence. Police pulled over Robert Roninete for allegedly speeding. Robinete’s license was checked and a warning was issued without a ticket. Robinete was ordered out of his car and asked if he “consent” to a search. The officer found a small amount of marijuana and a single pill of methamphetamine.
After this event, Ohio court adopted a bright-line rule: unambiguous requirement that officers tell motorists that they are free to refuse or leave before the officer asks for consent to search. US Supreme Court struck it down as “unrealistic.” US Supreme Court says that nobody needs to be informed of their rights during a stop and search and police may use minor traffic stops and “consent” searches to stop and search regardless of evidence. Police pulled over Robert Roninete for allegedly speeding. Robinete’s license was checked and a warning was issued without a ticket. Robinete was ordered out of his car and asked if he “consent” to a search. The officer found a small amount of marijuana and a single pill of methamphetamine.
After this event, Ohio court adopted a bright-line rule: unambiguous requirement that officers tell motorists that they are free to refuse or leave before the officer asks for consent to search. US Supreme Court struck it down as “unrealistic.” US Supreme Court says that nobody needs to be informed of their rights during a stop and search and police may use minor traffic stops and “consent” searches to stop and search regardless of evidence. Supreme Court held that police may arrest drivers for minor traffic violations and throw them in jail even if the statutory penalty fo the violation is a fine not jail. War on Drugs tactic#3:
Drug-sniffing dogs If motorists refuse “consent” then drug-sniffing dogs may be used. Using a d-s dog around a vehicle or luggage is not legally considered a “search.” If dog becomes alert to drugs then the officer has probable case for search without consent. S.W.A.T – Special Weapons and Tactics 1972 Today 1980 2002 March (cc) image by jantik on Flickr Only a few hundred raids were conducted 3,000 SWAT deployments
The environment of law enforcement changed dramatically.
Local law enforcement agencies had access to cash and military equipment specifically to conduct drug raids. 1996 30,000 2001 40,000 SWAT is most commonly used to serve narcotics warrants – by forced/unannounced entry into homes. Figures dramatically increased in flawed raids where innocent people killed, which before rarely occurred.
Ex: April, 1995 – Dodge County raided the home of Scott Bryant after finding traces of marijuana in his garbage. Bryant was unarmed but shot and killed.

1981 - President Reagan passed Military… .., which gave local, state and federal police access to military bases, intelligence, research, weaponry, and other equipment. Changed from “community policing” to “military policing”
-Also passed National Security Decision Directive, which declared drugs a threat to national security.

President Bush and Clinton increased the transfer of military equipment, technology, and training contingent that law enforcement prioritized drug-law enforcement. Cash Infusion
Size of cash disbursements are linked to city and county drug arrests. Each arrest brought in approximately $153 in state and federal funding. In essence when the drug arrests quadrupled, the county’s federal subsidy quadrupled as well.
Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act, 1970. Another source of “funding” came from cash and asset seizures.
1984, US amended federal law to allow law enforcement to retain and use any and all proceeds from asset forfeitures and retain 80% of the asset’s value!
1988 – 1992: Agencies seized over $1 billion in assets. Shakedown The legality of seizures were under question. The incentive of bigger budgets, equipment, and resources created a thin line between lawful and unlawful taking of money and property.
Huge pressure to keep arrest numbers up. In response many police officers used traffic violations (as an excuse/pretext) to pull drivers over that might be suspicious of drugs.
Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Act (2000)- addressed abuse of civil forfeitures, which resulted in significant Due-process changes. Gideon v. Wainwright Lockyer v. Andrade Decided the same day as Ewing v. California, held that there would be no relief by means of a petition for a writ of habeas corpus from a sentence imposed under California's three strikes law as a violation of the Eighth Amendment's prohibition of cruel and unusual punishments. Relying on the reasoning of Ewing and Harmelin v. Michigan, , the Court ruled that because no "clearly established" law held that a three-strikes sentence was cruel and unusual punishment, the 50-years-to-life sentence imposed in this case was not cruel and unusual punishment. The Prison Label Once convicted of felony charges, one's chances of being released from the system in short order are slim.
When judges have discretion, they may consider a defendant's background and impose a lighter penalty (flexible). Re-entry/ re-imprisonment are common.
Laws and policies that will keep ex- offenders marginalized from the mainstream society and economy.
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