Thursday, October 20, 2016

Grits for Breakfast: Pop Quiz on Fourth Amendment and the criminalization of the normal

For our look at due process in both 2305 and 2306, and especially for out look at appellate courts in Texas in 2306.

- Click here for the article.

Pop Quiz from the Texas Seventh Court of Appeals: Which of the following are NOT an indicia of drug trafficking under Texas law?
  • Breathing.
  • Having two hands.
  • Driving a clean vehicle.
  • Looking at a peace officer.
  • Looking away from a peace officer.
  • A young person driving a newer vehicle.
  • Driving in a car with meal wrappers.
  • Driving carefully.
  • Driving on an interstate.
The answer, according to a majority opinion from the Seventh Court of Appeals written by Chief Justice Brian Quinn, is that only the first two cannot be considered suspicious behavior that justifies an investigative detention, according to Texas courts. A dissent by Justice Campbell scolded his colleagues for failing to defer to the trial judge and "assume the court made implicit findings of fact supporting its ruling that are supported by the record." But the majority opinion is quite a read, lamenting that "most anything can be considered indicia of drug trafficking to law enforcement personnel."

Apparently if the police want to search you for drug possession for any reason, the Texas Courts say they can.

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