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Thread: Va. Senate rejects curb on game warden powers

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    Regular Member Repeater's Avatar
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    Va. Senate rejects curb on game warden powers

    Ah, the good old days when Game Wardens were actually Game Wardens, not cops conservation police officers.
    The Virginia Senate has decided that conservation police officers can continue to routinely check whether fishermen and hunters are properly licensed and whether they've exceeded creel or bag limits.

    Republican Sen. Richard Stuart of Stafford County proposed repealing a law that allows the officers, formerly called game wardens, to stop and check sportsmen without probable cause that they've committed a crime. Stuart said conservation officers are the only law enforcement authorities who don't have to adhere to the 4th Amendment's prohibition against unreasonable search and seizure.

    But opponents of the bill said protection of natural resources is a compelling state interest, and that checking licenses and limits is simply what conservation officers do. The Senate voted 25-15 to reject the bill.
    See all the Senators who don't care about the Fourth Amendment.

    Did you know that protecting the environment is a compelling state interest?

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    Good to see Senator Newman on the "yeas".

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    Quote Originally Posted by Repeater View Post
    Ah, the good old days when Game Wardens were actually Game Wardens, not cops conservation police officers.


    See all the Senators who don't care about the Fourth Amendment.

    Did you know that protecting the environment is a compelling state interest?
    This guy was not protecting the fourth amendment he was upset his buddy ran afoul of the game laws. All of this guys anti DGIF bills screamed that someone he new had recently run afoul of the game dept. my immediate response to his bills was who p'd in his wheaties.

    Also your base argument doesn't hold any water as long as we are forced to buy hunting and fishing licenses by doing so you are agreeing to these powers of the CPO/Game Warden. By buying a hunting or fishing license you are authorizing them to check your creel and bag limits. Now if you want to argue about whether the license is constitutional or not then you might be on to something.

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    Regular Member Uber_Olafsun's Avatar
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    So they are allowed to do searches on sportsman in violation of the 4th. Dumb question. How would they identify a sportsman? What if I was hiking in the same area not hunting or fishing and they wanted to search me? I don't recall anything in the bill of rights that says except for this group.

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    Accomplished Advocate peter nap's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Uber_Olafsun View Post
    So they are allowed to do searches on sportsman in violation of the 4th. Dumb question. How would they identify a sportsman? What if I was hiking in the same area not hunting or fishing and they wanted to search me? I don't recall anything in the bill of rights that says except for this group.
    I've hunted and fished in Virginia for nearly 60 years and have never been searched by a Game Warden. If (note the word "IF) I'm hunting or fishing, I have gotten my license checked a few times.

    That's what Conversation Officers are supposed to do.

    Have you been searched while Hiking?

    When I was a kid, there were no Turkeys left in Va and darn few Deer.
    It took responsible game managment to bring back the Deer and we had to actually import Turkeys.
    There is a very healthy Game Population in Va now and I'd like to keep it that way.
    Last edited by peter nap; 02-15-2012 at 07:51 PM.

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    Regular Member Uber_Olafsun's Avatar
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    I have not been searched but my point is what gives them the right. Not going to argue about wildlife populations just giving authority for someone to violate rights.

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    Accomplished Advocate peter nap's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Uber_Olafsun View Post
    I have not been searched but my point is what gives them the right. Not going to argue about wildlife populations just giving authority for someone to violate rights.
    I understand that but how are anyone's rights being violated?
    Checking Licenses or counting fish?

    Where's the Beef?

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    Regular Member Marco's Avatar
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    The few times I dealt with DGIF officer's they asked was I out hunting, I stated 'Nope".
    Not once did they demand or even ask for anything more, on all of those occassions I was OC'ing a handgun and had a rifle in a sccabbard and a few of those incidents occured during Bow and BP season.

    Now on a few of those incidents I was in my RURAL neighborhood when asked (which is only 6 miles for SNP) and I was pushing a jogging stroller w/ child on board but they couldn't see her.
    She wears electronic muffs just encase....
    Last edited by Marco; 02-17-2012 at 02:31 PM.
    If you think like a Statist, act like one, or back some, you've given up on freedom and have gone over to the dark side.
    The easiest ex. but probably the most difficult to grasp for gun owners is that fool permission slip so many of you have, especially if you show it off with pride. You should recognize it as an embarrassment, an infringement, a travesty and an affront to a free person.


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    Regular Member Marco's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by peter nap View Post

    Where's the Beef?
    Don't you mean Venison??????
    If you think like a Statist, act like one, or back some, you've given up on freedom and have gone over to the dark side.
    The easiest ex. but probably the most difficult to grasp for gun owners is that fool permission slip so many of you have, especially if you show it off with pride. You should recognize it as an embarrassment, an infringement, a travesty and an affront to a free person.


    ~Alan Korwin

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    Regular Member Uber_Olafsun's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by peter nap View Post
    I understand that but how are anyone's rights being violated?
    Checking Licenses or counting fish?

    Where's the Beef?
    So if the police tried to get the same ability would you be ok with it? The fact that they have the ability to do a search without a warrant is what I have a problem. If I am carrying a cooler could they say the reason they would need to look into it is I might be a fisherman and his my rod? Personally I feel we have way to many groups of enforcers of the law and different rules for each group.

    Granted game wardens are probably the lowest on the list for concerns but as we are trying to get our rights back we are doing it a little at a time. I would rather try to be on the proactive protecting side then reacting.

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    Accomplished Advocate peter nap's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Uber_Olafsun View Post
    So if the police tried to get the same ability would you be ok with it? The fact that they have the ability to do a search without a warrant is what I have a problem. If I am carrying a cooler could they say the reason they would need to look into it is I might be a fisherman and his my rod? Personally I feel we have way to many groups of enforcers of the law and different rules for each group.

    Granted game wardens are probably the lowest on the list for concerns but as we are trying to get our rights back we are doing it a little at a time. I would rather try to be on the proactive protecting side then reacting.
    It's hard to argue when I'm trying to argue against urban legends.
    Game Wardens never had the authority to do any kind of search they wanted. Do a search in the code for authority of game wardens.

    They could never just walk in your house and search your freezer or search your car with PAS. Yeah, I know...everyone knows someone whose second cousins barber had a Game Warden search their icebox.

    They did at one time, assist LEO's by going on private property and gathering PAS for the cops. They could get away with it because they were not Cops, they were private Citizens. Building Inspectors are worse about that than the Game Wardens ever were.

    Conversation Officers are now Full Fledged LEO's and have to conform to the same search and seizure laws as any other cop.

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    Regular Member Uber_Olafsun's Avatar
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    Ok from what I was reading it sounded like they were being exempted from 4a requirements. Can they stop anyone out and demand to see what is in coolers or game bags?

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    Accomplished Advocate peter nap's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Uber_Olafsun View Post
    Ok from what I was reading it sounded like they were being exempted from 4a requirements. Can they stop anyone out and demand to see what is in coolers or game bags?
    If they are hunting or fishing, yes.
    If not, no.

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    Regular Member Old Virginia Joe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 67GT390FB View Post
    as long as we are forced to buy hunting and fishing licenses by doing so you are agreeing to these powers of the CPO/Game Warden. By buying a hunting or fishing license you are authorizing them to check your creel and bag limits. Now if you want to argue about whether the license is constitutional or not then you might be on to something.
    I don't know if you're right or wrong, but how 'bout this? As a landowner, I don't ever get a license anymore, because I only hunt on my own land and swamp, and I don't have to buy one for that (they'll probably repeal that exemption soon!). Yet, I do indeed hunt. Are you saying they cannot check me because I never buy a license? If so, yee haw for me!
    VCDL, Army Vet, Virginia Native

    Hey, Libtards, it's the "Bill of Rights," not the "Bill of Needs" . . . . .

    If the 2A does not apply to modern weapons, then the 1A does not apply to modern communications like the Internet! How do you like them apples!?

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    Regular Member Old Virginia Joe's Avatar
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    I can give you a real 4th amendment scenario, PN, and NO, it was not my second cousin's barber. It was ME! You remember, awhile back on here, I told y'all about the issue with Isle of Wight County sending a "codes compliance inspector" man out here to my very rural farm, when I was away at work, without ANY attempt whatsoever to make an appointment or notice of any kind, where he clearly drove right on past my POSTED, etc. sign along the drive/path, and proceded to search my farm for evidence to then write me a citation for allowing my friend to sleep in his camper overnight on my 86 acre farm when he came from out of town to hunt for two days at a time. HE HAD NO WARRANT of any kind, and I am told he does not need one! And, I say, his job is not to save life or limb, of any emergency nature at all, like we would understand a fireman or EMT to justify. WHERE is my 4th amendment right here? How is this justified? Plus, after I complained about it, he came back TWO more times, again without notice, to inspect twice more! This ain't Massachusetts or New York here. This is the cradle of the American experiment in freedom, and it is dead!
    VCDL, Army Vet, Virginia Native

    Hey, Libtards, it's the "Bill of Rights," not the "Bill of Needs" . . . . .

    If the 2A does not apply to modern weapons, then the 1A does not apply to modern communications like the Internet! How do you like them apples!?

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    Regular Member vt357's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jmelvin View Post
    Good to see Senator Newman on the "yeas".
    Also interesting to see McEachin voted yea while Saslaw and Marsh voted nay.

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    Regular Member wylde007's Avatar
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    Cool

    Quote Originally Posted by vt357 View Post
    Also interesting to see McEachin voted yea while Saslaw and Marsh voted nay.
    Maybe he wants to be reelected?
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    What a Suprize!

    Janet Howell voted against. NoVA Liberal! Oh, How I want her defeated! but, whatch goin' ta do?

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    Regular Member TFred's Avatar
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    Any documented cases of someone successfully (or even unsuccessfully) litigating a Fourth Amendment violation against a Game Warden?

    It would seem that some of these accounts would make decent candidates.

    I suspect such legislation would have a much better chance if you could show court cases that proved instances of Game Wardens actually abusing the power that they were attempting to remove.

    TFred

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    Regular Member AtackDuck's Avatar
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    Ex- officio

    Quote Originally Posted by peter nap View Post
    It's hard to argue when I'm trying to argue against urban legends.
    Game Wardens never had the authority to do any kind of search they wanted. Do a search in the code for authority of game wardens.

    They could never just walk in your house and search your freezer or search your car with PAS. Yeah, I know...everyone knows someone whose second cousins barber had a Game Warden search their icebox.

    They did at one time, assist LEO's by going on private property and gathering PAS for the cops. They could get away with it because they were not Cops, they were private Citizens. Building Inspectors are worse about that than the Game Wardens ever were.

    Conversation Officers are now Full Fledged LEO's and have to conform to the same search and seizure laws as any other cop.

    § 29.1-202. Ex officio conservation police officers.

    All sheriffs, police officers or other peace officers of this Commonwealth shall be ex officio conservation police officers.




    § 29.1-205. Power to make arrests.

    All conservation police officers are vested with the authority, upon displaying a badge or other credential of office, to issue a summons or to arrest any person found in the act of violating any of the provisions of the hunting, trapping, inland fish and boating laws.

    Regular conservation police officers are vested with the same authority as sheriffs and other law-enforcement officers to enforce all of the criminal laws of the Commonwealth. ...

    § 29.1-208. Searches and seizures.

    All conservation police officers are vested with the authority to search any person arrested as provided in § 29.1-205 together with any box, can, package, barrel or other container, hunting bag, coat, suit, trunk, grip, satchel or fish basket carried by, in the possession of, or belonging to such person. Conservation police officers shall also have the authority, immediately subsequent to such arrest, to enter and search any refrigerator, building, vehicle, or other place in which the officer making the search has reasonable ground to believe that the person arrested has concealed or placed any wild bird, wild animal or fish, which will furnish evidence of a violation of the hunting, trapping and inland fish laws. Such a search may be made without a warrant, except that a dwelling may not be searched without a warrant. Should any container as described in this section reveal any wild bird, wild animal or fish, or any part thereof, which has been illegally taken, possessed, sold, purchased or transported, the conservation police officer shall seize and hold as evidence the container, together with such wild bird, wild animal or fish, and any unlawful gun, net, or other device of any kind for taking wild birds, wild animals or fish which he may find.
    ----------

    My point is: there is almost no difference between a CPO and regular cops. They all have the same authority. They have been granted search powers beyond what is allowed by the Constitution. It is time to rein them in.

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    Accomplished Advocate peter nap's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AtackDuck View Post
    § 29.1-202. Ex officio conservation police officers.

    All sheriffs, police officers or other peace officers of this Commonwealth shall be ex officio conservation police officers.




    § 29.1-205. Power to make arrests.

    All conservation police officers are vested with the authority, upon displaying a badge or other credential of office, to issue a summons or to arrest any person found in the act of violating any of the provisions of the hunting, trapping, inland fish and boating laws.

    Regular conservation police officers are vested with the same authority as sheriffs and other law-enforcement officers to enforce all of the criminal laws of the Commonwealth. ...

    § 29.1-208. Searches and seizures.

    All conservation police officers are vested with the authority to search any person arrested as provided in § 29.1-205 together with any box, can, package, barrel or other container, hunting bag, coat, suit, trunk, grip, satchel or fish basket carried by, in the possession of, or belonging to such person. Conservation police officers shall also have the authority, immediately subsequent to such arrest, to enter and search any refrigerator, building, vehicle, or other place in which the officer making the search has reasonable ground to believe that the person arrested has concealed or placed any wild bird, wild animal or fish, which will furnish evidence of a violation of the hunting, trapping and inland fish laws. Such a search may be made without a warrant, except that a dwelling may not be searched without a warrant. Should any container as described in this section reveal any wild bird, wild animal or fish, or any part thereof, which has been illegally taken, possessed, sold, purchased or transported, the conservation police officer shall seize and hold as evidence the container, together with such wild bird, wild animal or fish, and any unlawful gun, net, or other device of any kind for taking wild birds, wild animals or fish which he may find.
    ----------

    My point is: there is almost no difference between a CPO and regular cops. They all have the same authority. They have been granted search powers beyond what is allowed by the Constitution. It is time to rein them in.
    The key word is arrest!

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    Regular Member B. Reddy's Avatar
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    Yankee Anglers drag HOUSES onto frozen lakes!

    Quote Originally Posted by TFred View Post
    Any documented cases of someone successfully (or even unsuccessfully) litigating a Fourth Amendment violation against a Game Warden?

    TFred
    Maybe this is an example? (from the Minnesota Supreme Court in 2002)

    http://caselaw.findlaw.com/mn-suprem...t/1170062.html

    It appears that a fisherman may had a touch of glaucoma just before a game warden flung open the door, un-invited, and busted him.

    The end of the ruling:

    "We conclude that angling from a fish house is not a closely regulated industry fitting within the exception to the need for constitutional authorization for a search as set forth in Burger.

    While the state clearly has a strong interest in regulating and protecting its wildlife, by no means does that interest exceed the state's interest in saving human lives by deterring drunk driving on our roads found insufficient to outweigh the privacy interests of the occupant of a motor vehicle in Ascher.   519 N.W.2d at 187.  

    The occupant of a fish house is entitled to the protections against unreasonable search and seizure afforded by our federal and state constitutions, and while we do not hold that Minn.Stat. § 97A.215, subd. 3 is unconstitutional, we do hold that these constitutional protections must be read into the “at reasonable times” language of subdivision 3. See Minn.Stat. § 645.17(3) (2000) (providing the presumption that the legislature does not intend to violate the constitution of the United States or Minnesota Constitution).  

    As conservation officers are subject to the same constitutional constraints as other law enforcement officers in the performance of their duties, the warrantless search of a fish house by a conservation officer is per se unreasonable in the absence of express consent or other circumstance justifying entry and therefore is unconstitutional under the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution and article I, § 10 of the Minnesota Constitution.

    Affirmed."

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