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Thread: Search due to nearby criminal activity

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    Regular Member TFred's Avatar
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    Search due to nearby criminal activity

    We've talked about this from time to time, that one may be subject to a search if there are conditions nearby that lead a LEO to reasonably suspect you may be involved in a crime.

    This poor guy appears to have been quite unlucky in what seems to be a classic example of how this procedure can trump reasonable cause.

    From what I've read here before, it would appear this search will hold up in court... any of our legal folks want to weigh in?

    TFred

    A man wanted in King George was arrested in Stafford Saturday after police mistakenly thought that he was involved in a robbery.

    [...] deputies went to the Sheetz station in Washington Square on State Route 3 about 2:50 p.m. in response to a 911 call. Police thought the caller reported a robbery, but the caller later stated that $25 was missing when a man who’d been in his vehicle got out and walked away.

    While other deputies were at the Sheetz, 1st Sgt. Robbie Grella found the suspect walking on Route 3 toward Fredericksburg. When Grella patted the suspect down while checking for weapons, he found a piece of paper with suspected heroin in it.

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    Regular Member Thundar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TFred View Post
    We've talked about this from time to time, that one may be subject to a search if there are conditions nearby that lead a LEO to reasonably suspect you may be involved in a crime.

    This poor guy appears to have been quite unlucky in what seems to be a classic example of how this procedure can trump reasonable cause.

    From what I've read here before, it would appear this search will hold up in court... any of our legal folks want to weigh in?

    TFred

    A man wanted in King George was arrested in Stafford Saturday after police mistakenly thought that he was involved in a robbery.

    [...] deputies went to the Sheetz station in Washington Square on State Route 3 about 2:50 p.m. in response to a 911 call. Police thought the caller reported a robbery, but the caller later stated that $25 was missing when a man who’d been in his vehicle got out and walked away.

    While other deputies were at the Sheetz, 1st Sgt. Robbie Grella found the suspect walking on Route 3 toward Fredericksburg. When Grella patted the suspect down while checking for weapons, he found a piece of paper with suspected heroin in it.
    A pat down should be for weapons. A piece of paper is not a weapon. Why would this far too intrusive search be constitutional? (Hint: Because the courts have shredded the 4th A)
    He wore his gun outside his pants for all the honest world to see. Pancho & Lefty

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    Campaign Veteran MAC702's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by article View Post
    ...When Grella patted the suspect down while checking for weapons, he found a piece of paper and then proceeded to conduct an illegal search on the piece of paper which was clearly not a weapon...
    Note added comments to the poor reporting done previously.
    Last edited by MAC702; 10-01-2013 at 09:03 PM.
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    Regular Member TFred's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thundar View Post
    A pat down should be for weapons. A piece of paper is not a weapon. Why would this far too intrusive search be constitutional? (Hint: Because the courts have shredded the 4th A)
    Interesting point. What level of a police stop is allowed by these circumstances? If the LEO is allowed to positively identify such a "suspect" in this case, then his outstanding warrants would have been revealed, and the heroin found as a result of the search upon arrest.

    TFred

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    Regular Member TFred's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MAC702 View Post
    Note added comments to the poor reporting done previously.
    Ha! Did you add that to the comments of the article? I don't see it, if you did.

    TFred

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    Campaign Veteran skidmark's Avatar
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    Without bothering to read anything but what is posted here -

    If he is "the suspect" in a robbery of $25, then he can be searched during the arrest for evidence of the crime he is suspected of having committed. It is not a Terry stop frisk "for officer safety" but a search for evidence that the suspect might otherwise destroy. This has been the way things are done for almost as long as I can remember..

    The report should have read: "The search incident to arrest turned up a piece of paper that had a white powdery substance similar in appearance to heroin, which was seized for analysis to determine if additional charges would/could be filed." (Wouldn't it be nice if reportologists knew enough about what they were reporting to be able to say stuff clearly?)

    stay safe.
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    Regular Member Logan 5's Avatar
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    How do they know it's a drug? What is the RAS that it's a drug? What about the PC to question to content of the paper?

    It's not uncommon for me to carry all sorts of unlabeled weird stuff in my pockets. It's not illegal for me to carry them and it's none of the cops' business.
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    Last edited by mobeewan; 10-02-2013 at 03:36 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mobeewan View Post
    An amusing and interesting article of seven lines of text and 18 lines of references.
    I am responsible for my writing, not your understanding of it.

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    Campaign Veteran skidmark's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Logan 5 View Post
    How do they know it's a drug? What is the RAS that it's a drug? What about the PC to question to content of the paper?

    It's not uncommon for me to carry all sorts of unlabeled weird stuff in my pockets. It's not illegal for me to carry them and it's none of the cops' business.
    They will know if it is a drug when the analysis comes back.

    Pay attention, as I'm not inclined to repeat this more than six or seven times:

    The report should have read: "The search incident to arrest turned up a piece of paper that had a white powdery substance similar in appearance to heroin, which was seized for analysis to determine if additional charges would/could be filed."
    Being similar in appearance gave them the RAS to sieze it for analysis. If the analysis comes back as positive for heroin, that will be the RAS to arrst him on a drug charge.

    stay safe.
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    Regular Member Logan 5's Avatar
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    And if it doesn't?
    Last edited by Logan 5; 10-03-2013 at 05:46 AM.
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    Regular Member TFred's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Logan 5 View Post
    And if it doesn't?
    Seems like a pointless question. If it's not really heroin, they'll drop the charge, give him a cold look of indignation in the eye and watch him walk out the door with nary a "have a good day", much less any hint of an apology. How else have you seen LEOs respond when they are wrong?

    TFred

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    Campaign Veteran skidmark's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Logan 5 View Post
    And if it doesn't?
    Quote Originally Posted by TFred View Post
    Seems like a pointless question. If it's not really heroin, they'll drop the charge, give him a cold look of indignation in the eye and watch him walk out the door with nary a "have a good day", much less any hint of an apology. How else have you seen LEOs respond when they are wrong?

    TFred
    Just to be pedantically precise - if the analysis comes back as negative for all known illegal substances, what TFred said applies. Except that TFred forgot to mention that the paper and the substance (less what was used for analysis) is supposed to be returned to him. Probably will not happen, but it's supposed to be returned.

    But what if it's not heroin but some other illegal substance? Then they charge him for possession of that substance, send him to trial, and all the rest of that circus happens.

    Seriously, if you are trying to establish a reputation here you are well on your way. You might, however, want to consider what sort of reputation that is. We banter back and forth, and we try to see who can split the hair of the law the finest. But we pretty much draw a line at suffering fools.

    stay safe.
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    Regular Member Logan 5's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skidmark View Post
    Seriously, if you are trying to establish a reputation here you are well on your way. You might, however, want to consider what sort of reputation that is. We banter back and forth, and we try to see who can split the hair of the law the finest. But we pretty much draw a line at suffering fools.
    I asked a question. And you don't like the question?
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    Regular Member TFred's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Logan 5 View Post
    I asked a question. And you don't like the question?
    I have to admit, this made me laugh out loud.

    Not because of you or what you said, per se, but it just reminded me of the incredibly famous quote about questions by Scott Adams.



    TFred

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    Moderator / Administrator Grapeshot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TFred View Post
    I have to admit, this made me laugh out loud.

    Not because of you or what you said, per se, but it just reminded me of the incredibly famous quote about questions by Scott Adams.



    TFred
    http://www.quotationspage.com/quotes/Scott_Adams
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    Campaign Veteran skidmark's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grapeshot View Post
    So you are saying his question was a smart-... question?

    stay safe.

    PS - Logan 5 --

    That's what we call "bantering". You do, however, have the opportunity to turn it serious.
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    Moderator / Administrator Grapeshot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skidmark View Post
    So you are saying his question was a smart-... question?

    stay safe.

    PS - Logan 5 --

    That's what we call "bantering". You do, however, have the opportunity to turn it serious.
    Nope - didn't say one way or tother. Individual choice.
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    Quote Originally Posted by skidmark View Post
    They will know if it is a drug when the analysis comes back.

    Pay attention, as I'm not inclined to repeat this more than six or seven times:



    Being similar in appearance gave them the RAS to sieze it for analysis. If the analysis comes back as positive for heroin, that will be the RAS to arrst him on a drug charge.

    stay safe.
    You missed a step, Skid.

    Terry allows the officer to pat down the outer clothing of an individual he reasonably believes to be both armed and dangerous, and only after he has temporarily seized the individual because he reasonably believes that crime is afoot.

    None of the above allows the officer to dig into pockets and examine the contents of folded pieces of paper.

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    Regular Member Logan 5's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KBCraig View Post
    You missed a step, Skid.

    Terry allows the officer to pat down the outer clothing of an individual he reasonably believes to be both armed and dangerous, and only after he has temporarily seized the individual because he reasonably believes that crime is afoot.

    None of the above allows the officer to dig into pockets and examine the contents of folded pieces of paper.
    Bingo! THAT is exactly what I was wondering. Thanks!
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  21. #21
    Campaign Veteran skidmark's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KBCraig View Post
    You missed a step, Skid.

    Terry allows the officer to pat down the outer clothing of an individual he reasonably believes to be both armed and dangerous, and only after he has temporarily seized the individual because he reasonably believes that crime is afoot.

    None of the above allows the officer to dig into pockets and examine the contents of folded pieces of paper.
    Sorry, but as I read the information the guy was ID'd as the robber and arrested for the crime of robbery. The officer, subsequent to arrest, patted him down for weapons and then all the rest happened.

    A Terry stop is an investigative hold - suspicion that the guy had been, was, or was going to be (in this case robbing) up to no good. There was no suspicion in this case - the cops were told by a witness that he was the guy who actually committed a robbery. A Terry stop would have been Joe Blow who was walking down the street with, for example. his head tucked into his shoulders as if wanting to avoid having his face recognized - RAS that he might have been, was, or was going to be up to no good. In this case it appears the cops had reliable information (much higher than RAS) that this specific guy had committed that specific crime.

    Points for knowing whata Terry stop is, but not enough points to win.

    stay safe.
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    Regular Member 1245A Defender's Avatar
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    Wowwie!!!

    Skidmark... your fake quote cloud will not give you license to argue facts of law that are not HERE.




    The report should have read: "The search incident to arrest turned up a piece of paper that had a white powdery substance similar in appearance to heroin, which was seized for analysis to determine if additional charges would/could be filed."


    The cop did a Terry pat down,,, in his own words.
    He can not dig in pockets to find other things.

    The suspect was not ID'd,,, Yet!

    I am dissapointed in your understanding of Terry.
    Walking with my head tucked into my shoulder to hide my identity
    may make a cop suspicious that I may be up to no good, but
    that is a long way from the Reasonable Articulible Suspicion,
    that I have committed a "Specific Crime",
    am committing it,
    or will commit it, pretty soon, or in the future...

    BTW, Anybody tell me, regardless of the other points of law in this case.
    Besides the other things that may have been illegally found in this guys pockets...

    Did the cops, or anyone else ever find the one thing that counted??
    The "Robbed"! TWENTY FIVE DOLLARS?

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    Regular Member OC for ME's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skidmark View Post
    So you are saying his question was a smart-... question?

    stay safe.

    PS - Logan 5 --

    That's what we call "bantering". You do, however, have the opportunity to turn it serious.
    No such critter as a stupid question.

    stay safe.

  24. #24
    Regular Member DocWalker's Avatar
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    Cool

    Quote Originally Posted by OC for ME View Post
    No such critter as a stupid question.

    stay safe.
    Can you name one honest representive in Washington?


    Now that is a stupid question.......

  25. #25
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    No question is stupid.

    Quote Originally Posted by DocWalker View Post
    Can you name one honest representive in Washington?


    Now that is a stupid question.......
    Stupid, no. Sad but true, YES

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