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Thread: Secret Compartment in auto ILLEGAL - man arrested

  1. #1
    Regular Member Repeater's Avatar
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    Secret Compartment in auto ILLEGAL - man arrested

    Police state in Ohio? Really?

    Man arrested for having empty compartment in car
    In what has been called a further erosion of the Fourth Amendment, civil libertarian groups are blasting a recent arrest by Ohio police of a driver who had a compartment in his car that could possibly be used to store drugs, despite no drugs being found.

    The arrest occurred when an officer with the Ohio Highway Patrol pulled over Norman Gurley, 30, of Michigan for speeding. During the stop, the officer noticed wires that ran to a secret compartment in the car and thus made the arrest.

    The law states:

    “No person shall knowingly operate, possess, or use a vehicle with a hidden compartment with knowledge that the hidden compartment is used or intended to be used to facilitate the unlawful concealment or transportation of a controlled substance.”

    The Highway Patrol is defending the arrest.

    “Without the hidden compartment law, we would not have had any charges on the suspect,” says Lt. Michael Combs, a spokesman for the Highway Patrol.

    John Whitehead, president of the Rutherford Institute, said the police explanation is disturbing and shows how the Fourth Amendment continues to be chipped away.

    “Although Norman Gurley had no drugs on his person, nor in his car, nor could it be proven that he intended to conceal drugs, he was still arrested for the ‘crime’ of having a hidden compartment in the trunk of his car,” Whitehead wrote. “This is what a world without the Fourth Amendment looks like.
    Good thing handguns are not controlled substances.
    Last edited by Repeater; 01-03-2014 at 12:03 PM.

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    Oh, minority report. Arrested for a crime he may commit in the future. Nice!
    Hoka hey

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    It's gonna be kinda hard to prove the knowledge that the law requires as an element of the crime.


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    So the citizen was charged with speeding and possessing an empty hidden compartment in the vehicle...

    Please tell me that the Ohio Highway Patrol can drum up something a little more sophisticated then an "Empty Hidden Compartment"

    Do they have no shame in how they spend tax payer dollars on their so called war on drugs??

    The 4th is indeed on life support...

    Sad, Sad, Sad..

    My .02

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    I think calling this a Fourth Amendment issue is a losing argument. Its too easy for a court to say that the driver-owner is presumed to know the compartment exists. And, since secret compartments are a common tactic of drug runners, its probable that a secret compartment is/was/will be used for drug transport, thus probable cause is satisfied.

    The article even faults police for not being able to prove the compartment was intended to transport drugs. Wrong standard. Proof is for trial. Probable cause does not require proof, merely that its probable.

    I'd go for whichever constitutional right is violated by the statute itself. Equal protection, due process, vagueness leading to too much latitude for police, no enumerated power to prohibit secret compartments--whichever best attacks the statute.
    I'll make you an offer: I will argue and fight for all of your rights, if you will do the same for me. That is the only way freedom can work. We have to respect all rights, all the time--and strive to win the rights of the other guy as much as for ourselves.

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    Quote Originally Posted by eye95 View Post
    It's gonna be kinda hard to prove the knowledge that the law requires as an element of the crime.


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    The law also requires there to be illegal drugs or residue of said drugs in the compartment. The cops royally screwed on this one!

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    Bad charge unless the police had some other suspicion relating to drug trafficking. As a stand-alone charge, it's going to be pretty tough to prove.

    Based on the facts contained in this thread, I don't see a jury concluding beyond a reasonable doubt that this guy was into drug trafficking...in fact, a judge would be obligated to dismiss the charge absent evidence of such "intent."

    So, this is either a wild overcharge or the police have the intent evidence (perhaps a prior bust? known drug-offender status?)

    Citizen, I do not agree that a police officer observing ONLY AN EMPTY HIDDEN COMPARTMENT can refer to his "past experience and knowledge" with such compartments in order to meet even the probable cause standard. It's not even reasonable suspicion if you ask me. Police officers don't get to presume criminality when they are faced with one single element of a multi-element violation when that single element is lawful by itself...think about what that means for OPEN CARRY!!!!!!

    This is similar to U.S. v. Black...when something is legal, an officer doesn't get to presume illegality just because it isn't common. If it's legal, it's legal. The compartment is only illegal when intended for use in drug trafficking...this is an add-on charge that should be leveled only at drug dealers and people who admit or otherwise exhibit the required intent.
    Last edited by CT Barfly; 01-02-2014 at 10:45 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CT Barfly View Post
    Bad charge unless the police had some other suspicion relating to drug trafficking. As a stand-alone charge, it's going to be pretty tough to prove.

    Based on the facts contained in this thread, I don't see a jury concluding beyond a reasonable doubt that this guy was into drug trafficking...in fact, a judge would be obligated to dismiss the charge absent evidence of such "intent."

    So, this is either a wild overcharge or the police have the intent evidence (perhaps a prior bust? known drug-offender status?)

    Citizen, I do not agree that a police officer observing ONLY AN EMPTY HIDDEN COMPARTMENT can refer to his "past experience and knowledge" with such compartments in order to meet even the probable cause standard. It's not even reasonable suspicion if you ask me. Police officers don't get to presume criminality when they are faced with one single element of a multi-element violation when that single element is lawful by itself...think about what that means for OPEN CARRY!!!!!!

    This is similar to U.S. v. Black...when something is legal, an officer doesn't get to presume illegality just because it isn't common. If it's legal, it's legal. The compartment is only illegal when intended for use in drug trafficking...this is an add-on charge that should be leveled only at drug dealers and people who admit or otherwise exhibit the required intent.
    I'm not talking about police--I'm talking about the courts. Based on my reading of appellate decisions on FourthAmendment.com for several years, I'm thinking its within easy reach for a court to conclude the two things I stated above: 1) the court can just presume the driver-owner knew about the compartment, and 2) secret compartments are a known tactic of drug runners. I'm not saying that its right. I'm saying that trying to argue a 4A violation is too easy to lose.

    For all we know, the statute was intended as an add-on charge for a drug-runner caught using a secret compartment. As in, cop discovers a secret compartment (a lot more common than you might think). Now (if I recall) he has probable cause to search that compartment just based on drug-runners using secret compartments. The more I think about it, the more I suspect this statute was written to additionally penalize secret-compartment drug runners, and the police are misusing it.
    I'll make you an offer: I will argue and fight for all of your rights, if you will do the same for me. That is the only way freedom can work. We have to respect all rights, all the time--and strive to win the rights of the other guy as much as for ourselves.

    If I am equal to another, how can I legitimately govern him without his express individual consent?

    There is no human being on earth I hate so much I would actually vote to inflict government upon him.

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    Regular Member J1MB0B's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Citizen View Post
    I think calling this a Fourth Amendment issue is a losing argument. Its too easy for a court to say that the driver-owner is presumed to know the compartment exists. And, since secret compartments are a common tactic of drug runners, its probable that a secret compartment is/was/will be used for drug transport, thus probable cause is satisfied.

    The article even faults police for not being able to prove the compartment was intended to transport drugs. Wrong standard. Proof is for trial. Probable cause does not require proof, merely that its probable.

    I'd go for whichever constitutional right is violated by the statute itself. Equal protection, due process, vagueness leading to too much latitude for police, no enumerated power to prohibit secret compartments--whichever best attacks the statute.
    Well by that logic...
    Its too easy for a court to say that the driver-owner is presumed to know the firearm exists. And, since firearms are a common tactic of bank robbers, its probable that a firearm is/was/will be used to rob a bank, thus probable cause is satisfied.

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    C'Mon man!!!
    Norman Gurley, 30, of Michigan
    This will get tossed on appeal, quick like a bunny, if it even get that far. Else the DA will have that idiotic law tossed just like the FOID card law for outta staters was in IL. The law applies to OH residents (vehicles). If the vehicle is not registered in OH it can not be applied to a MI vehicle.

    Now, does MI have a "secret compartment" law?

    That state cop is a nitwit and a anti-citizen thug.

  11. #11
    Regular Member OC for ME's Avatar
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    What about a hidden and securely fastened gun safe? That is a "secret compartment" and guns in OH, in a car, seem to be a "controlled substance." OH is not looking real competent right now.

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    Regular Member sudden valley gunner's Avatar
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    The red coats are arresting members of the Adams family for having secret compartments on their ships!
    I am not anti Cop I am just pro Citizen.

    U.S. v. Minker, 350 US 179, at page 187
    "Because of what appears to be a lawful command on the surface, many citizens, because
    of their respect for what only appears to be a law, are cunningly coerced into waiving their
    rights, due to ignorance." (Paraphrased)

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    If the officer spotted it from the window during a traffic stop, it's clearly not a hidden compartment at all!!!
    Advocate freedom please

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    What about all the "secret" storage compartment that come factory installed? My Subaru has enough hidey holes for a ton of stuff.
    "The beauty of the Second Amenment is that it will not be needed until they try to take it." Thomas Jefferson
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    Regular Member Primus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by golddigger14s View Post
    What about all the "secret" storage compartment that come factory installed? My Subaru has enough hidey holes for a ton of stuff.
    It only implies to compartments that are "manufactured". In this case the officer smelled marijuana and found that one of the occupants had marijuana in his person. Based on the PC to search the vehicle, they found some aftermarket wires going to an area. They were able to figure out that it was a drug compartment.

    Listen guys don't put a secret compartment that requires very specific methods to open (turn signal lights in a series or radio knobs or some other switch in sequence) to store a gallon of milk. Its one of those things only used by drug smugglers.

    I'd bet quite a lot that these guys have a bit of history with drugs before.

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    Link works; Aston Martin Illegal?

    Sorry about the missing link (no pun intended).

    So, I was wondering, would Bond's Aston Martin be illegal? The original one had secret compartments, machine guns, oil slick tubes, passenger ejection (my favorite!) and other neat tools.

    The statists simply hate us when we choose to be self-reliant.

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    Again, this "bust" will be tossed if the charge is for the "secret compartment." It appears that the bust is only for the single compartment. The leaps of il-logic that the cop quoted makes. "He was obviously between runs." Well, me OCing is obviously me on the way to or from a mass shooting. Sheeze.

    The story plainly states that no drugs were found in the car or on the citizen. There are no lows you will not strive to achieve in the defense of the indefensible where nitwit cops are concerned. You must even lie to support the cops where they deserve no support.

    The OH law can not be applied to a vehicle not registered in OH. Just as the FOID law can not be applied non-IL citizens.

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    If no drugs were found, how can they prove the required knowledge of the compartment being for contraband?


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    Regular Member OC for ME's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OC for ME View Post
    Again, this "bust" will be tossed if the charge is for the "secret compartment." It appears that the bust is only for the single compartment. The leaps of il-logic that the cop quoted makes. "He was obviously between runs." Well, me OCing is obviously me on the way to or from a mass shooting. Sheeze.

    The story plainly states that no drugs were found in the car or on the citizen. There are no lows you will not strive to achieve in the defense of the indefensible where nitwit cops are concerned. You must even lie to support the cops where they deserve no support.

    The OH law can not be applied to a vehicle not registered in OH. Just as the FOID law can not be applied non-IL citizens.
    “Although Norman Gurley had no drugs on his person, nor in his car, nor could it be proven that he intended to conceal drugs, he was still arrested for the ‘crime’ of having a hidden compartment in the trunk of his car,” Whitehead wrote. This is what a world without the Fourth Amendment looks like.
    But all of the above matters not to nitwit cops.....nor Primus. Facts are not needed.

    I hope the "perp" gets a good lawyer and has this law tossed out as unconstitutional. Or, at a minimum, sue the cops for a violation of a MI residents 4A right.

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    Quote Originally Posted by eye95 View Post
    If no drugs were found, how can they prove the required knowledge of the compartment being for contraband?
    The justification:

    “Without the hidden compartment law, we would not have had any charges on the suspect,” says Lt. Michael Combs, a spokesman for the Highway Patrol. “We apparently caught them between runs, so to speak, so this takes away one tool they have in their illegal trade. The law does help us and is on our side.”
    I like the "I smelled weed" to manufacture the PC for the arrest and subsequent search of the vehicle. What happened to the "smelled weed" component of this "case?"

    It seems a first year law student will be able to defend this citizen from a false arrest and malicious prosecution, if a prosecution is pursued.

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    Again, nothing comes close to proving the knowledge which is clearly an element of the crime. The "smelling" of weed may be used to manufacture PC, but a hell of a lot more than PC is needed to convict.

    As someone mentioned, this law was likely designed as an add-on charge. The problem is that these add-on laws often become primary laws. If it can't (or needn't) be a primary law, it shouldn't exist as its existence will almost always be misused--as appears to be the case here.


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    Regular Member stealthyeliminator's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Primus View Post
    It only implies to compartments that are "manufactured". In this case the officer smelled marijuana and found that one of the occupants had marijuana in his person. Based on the PC to search the vehicle, they found some aftermarket wires going to an area. They were able to figure out that it was a drug compartment.

    Listen guys don't put a secret compartment that requires very specific methods to open (turn signal lights in a series or radio knobs or some other switch in sequence) to store a gallon of milk. Its one of those things only used by drug smugglers.

    I'd bet quite a lot that these guys have a bit of history with drugs before.

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    "Criminalize perfectly legitimate behavior or constructions because typically they are used for or associated with illicit purposes. Sacrifice just a little more liberty so that the police may have just one more tool with which to wage the drug war."

    No.

    If you accept that premise - that it's ok to criminalize neutral/legitimate acts or constructs because they're usually only used for illicit purposes - the tyranny that ensues will know no bounds. They already seize property for the sole reason that it was used in relation to some sort of "drug operation" (even if it's really just possession). What's next? Outlawing the wearing of pants with pockets by those convicted on drug charges, because they might use those pockets to hide some pot from plain view? You think that because something may be related to the drug offense, the offender should be penalized for it as well? For many drug offenders, their entire lives are wrapped up in the use of drugs. You might as well seize everything they own, and completely enslave them. That is what the premise would allow, should you accept it. No, you won't admit to it, though. You will try to split hairs. Ultimately, what your argument will rest upon is the supposed benevolence of those in authority. I don't accept that your trust of them or the system is legitimate justification for the overruling of the rights of citizens.
    Last edited by stealthyeliminator; 01-03-2014 at 12:36 PM.
    Advocate freedom please

  23. #23
    Regular Member Primus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OC for ME View Post
    Again, this "bust" will be tossed if the charge is for the "secret compartment." It appears that the bust is only for the single compartment. The leaps of il-logic that the cop quoted makes. "He was obviously between runs." Well, me OCing is obviously me on the way to or from a mass shooting. Sheeze.

    The story plainly states that no drugs were found in the car or on the citizen. There are no lows you will not strive to achieve in the defense of the indefensible where nitwit cops are concerned. You must even lie to support the cops where they deserve no support.

    The OH law can not be applied to a vehicle not registered in OH. Just as the FOID law can not be applied non-IL citizens.

    Man Arrested For Having Concealed Compartment in Vehicle
    December 27, 2013 - 12:22 PM

    By Eric Scheiner
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    A man was arrested in Ohio for having a hidden compartment in a vehicle and could face up to 18 months in prison, even though there was nothing in the compartment.

    Just days before Thanksgiving, 30- year old Norman Gurley was pulled over for speeding, but Ohio State Troopers noticed wires running to the back of the car he was driving.

    “During the search, they noticed some components inside the vehicle that did not appear to be factory,” Lt. Michael Combs told WKYC-TV.

    "We actually figured it out and followed the wiring and we were able to get it open," said Combs.



    There were no illegal drugs or weapons in the compartment, but Gurley became the first person arrested under the state’s “hidden compartment” law.

    The Ohio law passed last year prohibits, “designing, building, constructing, fabricating, modifying, or altering a vehicle to create or add a hidden compartment with the intent to facilitate the unlawful concealment or transportation of a controlled substance, prohibit operating, possessing, or using a vehicle with a hidden compartment with knowledge that the hidden compartment is used or intended to be used to facilitate the unlawful concealment or transportation of a controlled substance.”

    This law makes driving a car with a concealed compartment intended to carry a controlled substance a felony.

    Troopers reportedly noticed an overwhelming smell of marijuana, which gave them probable cause to search the vehicle and led to the discovery of the compartment.

    The arrest has given voice to those critical to the law, who claim that just having a hidden space in a vehicle shouldn’t be considered a crime.

    The ACLU of Ohio had been opposed to the measure. A statement on the ACLU website says, “The ACLU of Ohio believes SB 305 is an unnecessary and unproductive expansion of law. Drug trafficking is already prohibited under Ohio law, so there is no use for shifting the focus to the container.”

    Reason.com reports that Gurley’s lawyer, Myron Watson, claims that Gurley has no criminal record and the vehicle he was driving was a friend’s and that Gurley had no knowledge of the compartment.

    A passenger in the vehicle was found in possession of a misdemeanor amount of marijuana.

    http://cnsnews.com/mrctv-blog/eric-s...rtment-vehicle

    Do I get an apology now? Since you accused me of lying?

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    Regular Member OC for ME's Avatar
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    Any judge who values his court will toss this in a NY minute. Any DA who goes forward may very well hazard his career.

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    Regular Member carolina guy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by eye95 View Post
    Again, nothing comes close to proving the knowledge which is clearly an element of the crime. The "smelling" of weed may be used to manufacture PC, but a hell of a lot more than PC is needed to convict.

    As someone mentioned, this law was likely designed as an add-on charge. The problem is that these add-on laws often become primary laws. If it can't (or needn't) be a primary law, it shouldn't exist as its existence will almost always be misused--as appears to be the case here.


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    So...if you wanted to have a secret compartment to hide personal papers from the government, it would be ok? Sure hope so!
    If something is wrong for ONE person to do to another, it is still wrong if a BILLION people do it.

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