Boston has a cunning plan
As Balderick says. Story here. The plan is that police will go in groups to houses where they think juveniles might have guns, and seek parents' permission for a consent search. If they do find a gun, they'll seize but not bring charges. If drugs are found, they may or may not file charges. It's based on a St. Louis program where 98% of people consented to the search.
May as well get rid of the 4th Amendment, too, I suppose. Of course my juveniles own guns. Legally. It does strike me as strange -- or maybe this is the way Boston really is -- that a parent whose juvenile owns an illegal gun or drugs has to call in police to take them away.
UPDATE: Yeah, I know consent searches are outside the 4th. I'm referring more to its spirit -- don't search without a good reason, and esp. don't search residences without a very good one.
In short, the police will show up in groups and attempt to intimidate people into giving consent for a search.
Posted by: Don Gwinn at November 18, 2007 06:47 PM
Lest we consider the Constitution a quaint, but outdated 'notion' we must stand up for the free men and women of Massachusetts.
Our Rights are not subject to 'voluntary waiver' to armed men on the front porch.
Posted by: USCitizen at November 18, 2007 07:59 PM
This is Massachusetts. The most powerful ex-politician in the state's brother is on the FBI ten most wanted list. These people vote for Ted Kennedy and John Kerry, over and over. They invite the cops to search their houses. They spend billions of dollars digging a worthless hole in the ground. They aren't normal. In fact, they're nuts.
Posted by: Flash Gordon at November 18, 2007 09:16 PM
Not NOW Baldrick...
Posted by: Gregg at November 19, 2007 01:11 AM
The "free men of Massachusetts" need to stand up for themselves. Yet they keep voting in the likes of Kennedy/Kerry.
They made their own bed.
Posted by: Chris at November 19, 2007 06:24 AM
Of course, they're only going to do this in certain neighborhoods, and then only for certain kids.
At the same time, they'll tell themselves that they're not racists like those folks in the south.
Maybe for old-time's sake they'll burn some school buses.
Posted by: Andy Freeman at November 19, 2007 06:59 AM
Umnnhh...how do you get the 4th Amendment into this?
Let's play along. The parent(s) OWN or are LEGALLY renting/leasing the home, right?
So THEY consent to a search.
Are you telling me that the juvie has rights over-riding parental authority? Because if you are, you're making a very shaky argument.
Posted by: dad29 at November 19, 2007 07:24 AM
This is a CONSENT search; there's not a 4th amendment problem here (presuming, of course, that the search is with a knowing and voluntary consent granted). Parents, who own or rent the property, may in fact grant consent to search their homes. They may deny same as well, of course.
Officers who knock on the doors should inform the parents that while they are asking for consent, the parent/owners have a right to deny same, and the denial is not any evidence of any wrongdoing. Assuming parents are so informed, however, this is not a 4th amendment problem.
Whether the program has any effect on violence is, of course, is another story. I doubt it.
Posted by: GMC70 at November 19, 2007 07:51 AM
The owner/renter can give consent, alright.
I saw a post elsewhere speculating that some thugs would get fake ID and go house to house stealing guns and illegal drugs. Probably money as well, "As evidence".
That is if the cops don't take the drugs and guns to sell. No record of them getting the guns and drugs, right?
Posted by: Phillep at November 19, 2007 08:24 AM
Consent or not, send “groups” of police to a home is certainly intimidating. People throughout history have been intimidated or otherwise conned into giving up their rights. Watch Cops (TV show) some time. “Do you mind if we look in your car?” “Oh…uh…sure, go ahead” “Oh look, there’s drugs/gun/crack pipe in here, you’re going to jail.”
Posted by: Chris at November 19, 2007 10:02 AM
Moreover, if 98% of the people play along, how long do you think it'll be til the remaining 2%'s 'refusal' will be seen as probable cause for a search?
The Fourth Amendment doesn't just protect your house. It protects, among other things, your "persons, papers, and effects". You'll also note that there is no exception based on age or home ownership. There is also no special recognition allowing anyone else to forfeit your rights for you, outside of the same limitations placed on other rights (mostly mental defectiveness).
Posted by: gattsuru at November 19, 2007 10:58 AM
"Moreover, if 98% of the people play along, how long do you think it'll be til the remaining 2%'s 'refusal' will be seen as probable cause for a search?"
This is definitely possible; I imagine anyone refusing the police search will probably get a something next to their name noting them as troublemakers and "persons of interest".
Posted by: BobG at November 19, 2007 12:04 PM
You'll also note that there is no exception based on age or home ownership
Let's not get into conspiracy theories about the cops "finding" evidence, yada yada yada. Let's go with the normal expectations.
In Western society, parents have authority until the child reaches majority. That's a 'fundamental' which precedes State laws or constitutions, and in all State proceedings it is respected. That's why parents are allowed to 'opt their kid' out of State-mandated vaccination programs (with religious cause) and so forth.
The mirror-image--that is, parents 'opting-in' their little darling for a search is dependent on the same theory.
If you wish to overturn that principle, you're asking for a lot of trouble.
Posted by: dad29 at November 19, 2007 04:28 PM
I agree with Mr. Hardy.
There seems to be a lack of respect for the type of thinking that has been able to make this country as great as it is: suspicion toward government.
I recently heard a fairly "conservative" talk radio show host rhetorically ask, with reference to the move afoot to put cameras on the corner of every building in Los Angeles as has been done in England: "Who needs all this privacy anyway?"
I don't like the idea of the government having that much of an advantage over the populace.
I don't trust it enough to give it that much advantage, and I never will.
A few weeks later, I heard this same radio talk show host ask, with respect to the idea that individuals should be taking measures to reduce the vulnerability of their home to fire season and not rely solely on government agencies: "What is it with all this talk about self-reliance?"
Those two comments have cost that knucklehead a listener.
To quote an ancient Roman proponent of the citizen's right to keep and bear arms: O tempora! O mores!
Posted by: Tarn Helm at November 19, 2007 06:49 PM
When I heard this on the news I was flabbergasted.
Three Cops with guns banging on the door? Not intimidating to the average person at ALL. Consent WILL be given because most law-abiding folks feel a need to PROVE it.
How many times on "COPS" have we heard "If you don't have anything to hide..." or "This will go a lot easier if you just consent to the search..."
Yeah, easier for the cop. Not the Citizen. The Cops are there to investigate & interrogate, not exonerate.
Posted by: brian at November 20, 2007 12:26 PM