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Thread: Illegal search?

  1. #1
    Regular Member hammer6's Avatar
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    Illegal search?

    So I went on the staten island ferry last night for the first time. What I witnessed was ridiculous. Unarmed security walking around with dogs who were "sniffing" random people's bags and belongings. Now, the sign I saw at the BACK of the lobby said that your presence here and desire to ride the ferry is contingent upon your cooperation with authorities to be searched or inspected. It also said it was pursuant to the rules and regulations of the coast guard. Now, I didn't see any coast guardies there... And I haven't really done any research, but the ferry is free...is it "public property"?

    I was just amazed that people were allowing the dog to sniff them. No reason for a stop. And they weren't even law enforcement.

    I mean, what if someone was carrying something? I don't understand how that could possibly stand up in court...or even a knife?

    Idk.

    Thoughts?
    Last edited by hammer6; 08-07-2012 at 03:40 PM.

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    Campaign Veteran skidmark's Avatar
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    Welcome to The Department of Fatherland State Security I mean Homeland Security.

    Not enough to tell if this was a VIPR team or not, but my guess is it was not as they usually only show up with the local cops in tow. There are separate rules for the "inspection" (not "search") of things passengers bring onto ferries, and those "inspections" are usually carried out by rent-a-cops.* I've never been able to find anything written down that addresses the difference between an "inspection" and a "search". I have seen the regs that allow "inspections" of vehicles and (for lack of a better term) luggage, but did not see anything that permitted the "inspection" to go farther than looking at the top layer when the luggage is opened.

    From the description you provide, it was a perfectly legal violation of 6th Amendment rights in furtherance of anti-terrorism security theater.

    stay safe.

    * While accumulated anecdote will never = data, I've never heard of anybody but rent-a-cops performing this security work.
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    Regular Member EMNofSeattle's Avatar
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    Well my thoughts on this are

    1) We in Western WA state consent to a search when we board the ferry. I believe the reason is due to the fact that ships are a unique environment versus traditional road transportation.
    2) the search is not illegal as you agreed to such search by using the ferry
    3) I don't think the dog is considered a violation because under the US constitution the U.S. Supreme Court has determined in Illinois v. Caballes That a dog sniff is not a "search" becuase A)the dog theoretically can only alert to illegal activity and B) the dog is not intrusive and detaining you is not required for the dog to search you.

    And Skidmark, the 6th amendment is speedy trial and right to counsel, the 4th amendment is unreasonable search and seizure

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    Regular Member hammer6's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EMNofSeattle View Post
    Well my thoughts on this are

    1) We in Western WA state consent to a search when we board the ferry. I believe the reason is due to the fact that ships are a unique environment versus traditional road transportation.
    2) the search is not illegal as you agreed to such search by using the ferry
    3) I don't think the dog is considered a violation because under the US constitution the U.S. Supreme Court has determined in Illinois v. Caballes That a dog sniff is not a "search" becuase A)the dog theoretically can only alert to illegal activity and B) the dog is not intrusive and detaining you is not required for the dog to search you.

    And Skidmark, the 6th amendment is speedy trial and right to counsel, the 4th amendment is unreasonable search and seizure
    Funny thing is, there's a lobby in there, where you can buy food and hangout for any period of time, with no requirement to get on the ferry. So, the search comes from just being in the lobby.... And it's very random.

  5. #5
    Regular Member OC for ME's Avatar
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    .....Staten Island Ferry? As in NYC?.....nuff said.
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    Regular Member sudden valley gunner's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EMNofSeattle View Post
    Well my thoughts on this are

    1) We in Western WA state consent to a search when we board the ferry. I believe the reason is due to the fact that ships are a unique environment versus traditional road transportation.
    2) the search is not illegal as you agreed to such search by using the ferry
    Can you cite?

    I am under the impression in our state the ferry system is considered part of the highway system, you cannot be subject to search on the on ramp of a freeway would lead me to include the same for a ferry.
    I am not anti Cop I am just pro Citizen.

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    Regular Member hammer6's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OC for ME View Post
    .....Staten Island Ferry? As in NYC?.....nuff said.


    Lolz

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    Regular Member EMNofSeattle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sudden valley gunner View Post
    Can you cite?

    I am under the impression in our state the ferry system is considered part of the highway system, you cannot be subject to search on the on ramp of a freeway would lead me to include the same for a ferry.
    WA State ferries states on their website that anyone who refuses to consent to a search will be denied boarding. Under who's legal authority I'm unsure. I spent at least 45 minutes combing over the RCWs and WACs and I can't find anything specific to searches. also they state a captain's permission is required to leave the ferry if you board and then want off before the boat leaves, again cant find any legal authority for this in RCWs or WACs, so would that constitute unlawful imprisonment? I don't know. I have a friend who works for the ferries, i'll give him a ring when he gets off of work and ask if they have any authority to enforce that. but the state ferries has been putting signs up of that nature for 10 years and it's on their website

    http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/Ferries/info...rity/#security

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    Quote Originally Posted by hammer6 View Post
    So I went on the staten island ferry last night for the first time. What I witnessed was ridiculous. Unarmed security walking around with dogs who were "sniffing" random people's bags and belongings. Now, the sign I saw at the BACK of the lobby said that your presence here and desire to ride the ferry is contingent upon your cooperation with authorities to be searched or inspected. It also said it was pursuant to the rules and regulations of the coast guard. Now, I didn't see any coast guardies there... And I haven't really done any research, but the ferry is free...is it "public property"?

    I was just amazed that people were allowing the dog to sniff them. No reason for a stop. And they weren't even law enforcement.

    I mean, what if someone was carrying something? I don't understand how that could possibly stand up in court...or even a knife?

    Idk.

    Thoughts?
    I have this vague recollection that courts have decided that a dog sniff from the outside is not a search. Specious of course, but I'm kinda sure that's the deal.

    Lemme see if I can find something to cite about dog sniffs outside a car or luggage.

    Here's some. You have to read down a little ways to the federal case out of Indiana:. http://fourthamendment.com/blog/inde...&submit=Search This is a great little blog, by the way. I check it regularly. And, it is a real treat when the blogger, a very experience criminal attorney, makes a comment about a court opinion.

    Here seems to be a precedent cited by one of the cases at the link above. See the last three paragraphs of Section II: http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/cgi-bi...=462&invol=696


    ETA: Deleted possibly wrong information about FLIR (forward looking infra-red), and wrong information about why a certain warrantless dog sniffs are not considered unconstitutional by the courts.
    Last edited by Citizen; 08-08-2012 at 02:56 PM.
    I'll make you an offer: I will argue and fight for all of your rights, if you will do the same for me. (Because that is the only way freedom can work. We have to respect all rights, all the time--for each other and everybody else--and strive to win the rights of the other guy as much as for ourselves.)

    Equality and consent of the governed: We're all equal. How can another legitimately govern me without my express consent?

  10. #10
    Regular Member EMNofSeattle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Citizen View Post
    I have this vague recollection that courts have decided that a dog sniff from the outside is not a search. Specious of course, but I'm kinda sure that's the deal. I kinda think its predicated on a version of the plain view doctrine. If the sniffing is done outside the car, or outside the luggage, then it is in plain sniff range, in a manner of speaking.
    Illinois v Caballes. a dog sniff is not a violation since in theory the dog only alerts to drugs or explosives, versus the FLIR camera which can see everything from making love to feeding your goldfish. This second sentence is my assumption on why the chopper is illegal when the dog isnt

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    Quote Originally Posted by EMNofSeattle View Post
    Illinois v Caballes. a dog sniff is not a violation since in theory the dog only alerts to drugs or explosives, versus the FLIR camera which can see everything from making love to feeding your goldfish. This second sentence is my assumption on why the chopper is illegal when the dog isnt
    I deleted my comment about the unconstitutionality of FLIR. I did a little checking, and found some federal decisions that held that FLIR was not unconstitutional. So, I'm not so sure now.
    I'll make you an offer: I will argue and fight for all of your rights, if you will do the same for me. (Because that is the only way freedom can work. We have to respect all rights, all the time--for each other and everybody else--and strive to win the rights of the other guy as much as for ourselves.)

    Equality and consent of the governed: We're all equal. How can another legitimately govern me without my express consent?

  12. #12
    Regular Member EMNofSeattle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Citizen View Post
    I deleted my comment about the unconstitutionality of FLIR. I did a little checking, and found some federal decisions that held that FLIR was not unconstitutional. So, I'm not so sure now.
    SCOTUS ruled in Kyllo v US that the FLIR constituted a search that needed a warrant. That the case I'm familiar with

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    Quote Originally Posted by EMNofSeattle View Post
    SCOTUS ruled in Kyllo v US that the FLIR constituted a search that needed a warrant. That the case I'm familiar with
    Great! I'll check it out!

    Found it:
    "Where, as here, the Government uses a device that is not in general public use, to explore details of the home that would previously have been unknowable without physical intrusion, the surveillance is a “search” and is presumptively unreasonable without a warrant."

    http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/99-8508.ZO.html
    Last edited by Citizen; 08-08-2012 at 04:01 PM.
    I'll make you an offer: I will argue and fight for all of your rights, if you will do the same for me. (Because that is the only way freedom can work. We have to respect all rights, all the time--for each other and everybody else--and strive to win the rights of the other guy as much as for ourselves.)

    Equality and consent of the governed: We're all equal. How can another legitimately govern me without my express consent?

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    Regular Member Vitaeus's Avatar
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    WA Art 1, sect 7 would cover both the sniffer dogs and the thermal question

    State v. Young, unless the drug dog is a sworn officer, then I suppose s/he is using their natural senses versus some device.

    http://law.justia.com/cfr/title33/33....0.1.1.6.2.1.4 33 C.F.R. PART 6—PROTECTION AND SECURITY OF VESSELS, HARBORS, AND WATERFRONT FACILITIES

    "The Captain of the port may enlist the aid and cooperation of Federal, State, county, municipal, and private agencies to assist in the enforcement of regulations issued pursuant to this part." ...6.04-11

    looks like Federal law covers it, but I am unsure how the federal law would work in conjunction with State property, if nothing else they can eject you for breaking the rule and probably hold you for either State or Federal LEO, depending on the offense?
    Last edited by Vitaeus; 08-08-2012 at 05:51 PM. Reason: found a section that may apply

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    Regular Member EMNofSeattle's Avatar
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    I simply can't find any case law regarding ferry searches In WA case law. However the OP was asking about the legality of dog searches in New York City, without knowing any case law in NY I would have to say it passes the 4th amendment test though , and so the dog search, which may be illegal in WA, can be presumed by us freedom loving northwesterners to be Lawful on the east coast

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    Regular Member hammer6's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EMNofSeattle View Post
    I simply can't find any case law regarding ferry searches In WA case law. However the OP was asking about the legality of dog searches in New York City, without knowing any case law in NY I would have to say it passes the 4th amendment test though , and so the dog search, which may be illegal in WA, can be presumed by us freedom loving northwesterners to be Lawful on the east coast
    Ok I'm sorry I didn't provide clarification as to how they were using the dogs.

    There were multiple entrances, and there were no "screening lines", or area where everyone had to pass through. The guy was just randomly walking the dog around the lobby letting it sniff people. I saw two guys walk by with a bag, and then the third one, the guy stopped him to let the dog sniff his bag.

    There was no one looking through bags and purses....now, this ferry is free, so who is paying for it?

    I wish I would have taken a picture of the sign, it said something about pursuant to the rules of the coast guard, or something of that effect. I mean, half the time, the guy was flirting with this chick...but what would have happened if he would have walked up to me with his dog to allow him to sniff me? I understand the court cases saying a dog sniff isn't covered, like in a border stop or DUI checkpoint. But not to be in a public place on foot and have a dog randomly walk up to someone and sniff their bag. Especially without a line that EVERYONE had to walk through.....

    (not implying that I was nervous to have the dog sniff me, but what option did I have...?)

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    Regular Member OC for ME's Avatar
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    "Excuse me! Could you please keep that filth ydog away from me I am extremely allergic to dogs. If I experience a allergic reaction as a result of you allowing that animal to touch me or my belongings I will be contacting my lawyer and the police about you assaulting me with your dog."

    .....or something along those lines. Remember, New Yorkers are like that, all in your face and complaining.
    I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it.

    Politicians are the tyrants 3000 miles away; thug cops are 3000 tyrants 1 mile away. (Adapted from Benjamin Martin, fictional character extraordinaire)

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    Quote Originally Posted by OC for ME View Post
    "Excuse me! Could you please keep that filth ydog away from me I am extremely allergic to dogs. If I experience a allergic reaction as a result of you allowing that animal to touch me or my belongings I will be contacting my lawyer and the police about you assaulting me with your dog."

    .....or something along those lines. Remember, New Yorkers are like that, all in your face and complaining.
    Sounds good. I wonder, though, if police haven't already had that one pulled on them, and have a counter-tactic already loaded and ready to go.
    I'll make you an offer: I will argue and fight for all of your rights, if you will do the same for me. (Because that is the only way freedom can work. We have to respect all rights, all the time--for each other and everybody else--and strive to win the rights of the other guy as much as for ourselves.)

    Equality and consent of the governed: We're all equal. How can another legitimately govern me without my express consent?

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    Regular Member Freedom1Man's Avatar
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    Screw with them, put scent drops on random bags. Deer, Pheasant, quail, duck,...... get creative.

    One drop is all it takes to get a dog's attention.

    All those false alerts should get the dog's testimony thrown out of court. The other thing to note is that dogs are being trained to give false positives by way of cues from the handler.

    EDIT: to beat someone to the cite request

    http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2011/01/0...ines-searches/
    Last edited by Freedom1Man; 08-09-2012 at 11:35 AM.
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    Regular Member davidmcbeth's Avatar
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    Use of search dogs is a search under the 4th amendment. You would have to take them to court to see if an exemption is appropriate.

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    Regular Member OC for ME's Avatar
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    Take who to court.....the dog? Good luck with that.
    I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it.

    Politicians are the tyrants 3000 miles away; thug cops are 3000 tyrants 1 mile away. (Adapted from Benjamin Martin, fictional character extraordinaire)

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    Quote Originally Posted by davidmcbeth View Post
    Use of search dogs is a search under the 4th amendment. You would have to take them to court to see if an exemption is appropriate.
    Cite, please.
    I'll make you an offer: I will argue and fight for all of your rights, if you will do the same for me. (Because that is the only way freedom can work. We have to respect all rights, all the time--for each other and everybody else--and strive to win the rights of the other guy as much as for ourselves.)

    Equality and consent of the governed: We're all equal. How can another legitimately govern me without my express consent?

  23. #23
    Regular Member WalkingWolf's Avatar
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    A dog smelling odors is no different than plain sight. But if a trained attack dog is allowed to sniff a person up close I would consider that an assault. IMO

    They would still need permission, or a warrant to search after the dog alerts.
    Last edited by WalkingWolf; 08-10-2012 at 05:21 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by davidmcbeth View Post
    Use of search dogs is a search under the 4th amendment. You would have to take them to court to see if an exemption is appropriate.
    i love dogs, you can trust them before anyone esle. i use to know a shepperd that had great training ability.

    The HLS is the reason behind those searches. I know why, and cant explain. Just understand that the federal law is not what restricts your right to have fireamrs within a state.

  25. #25
    Regular Member NavyMike's Avatar
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    WA State v Quick

    Quote Originally Posted by EMNofSeattle View Post
    Well my thoughts on this are

    1) We in Western WA state consent to a search when we board the ferry. I believe the reason is due to the fact that ships are a unique environment versus traditional road transportation.
    2) the search is not illegal as you agreed to such search by using the ferry
    For some of our WA islands, the state ferry system is the only means of getting on/off. The ferry system is also an extension of the WA highway.

    Constitutional protections do not end at the ferry line, regardless of any sign they may put up.

    State v Quick Sep 1990: "Holding that the warrant less search without probable cause was not justified under the "functional Equivalent of the border", "extended border", or "fixed checkpoint" rationales, The court reverses the judgement."

    http://www.aclu-wa.org/news/state-pa...es-ferry-docks

    "Through a public disclosure law request, the ACLU obtained an advisory opinion by the Washington Attorney General's office that questioned the legality of the ferry dock searches. It stated that, "Random searches of vehicles in this manner with no individualized suspicion and conducted to prevent possible terrorist activity are unprecedented in Washington state, therefore there is no clear authority authorizing the practice." The Washington Supreme Court has ruled that random roadblocks on our state's roads are unlawful."

    There have been instances where the captain of the ferry has denied permission to board, to people who have refused a search. I can't find any case law on this, suggesting that no one has sued as a result of being denied passage.
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