Federal Court: The Police Can Stop and Search You for Behaving Innocently

Monday, May 5, 2014
By Paul Martin

Larry Bodine
HuffingtonPost.com
04/28/2014

A federal appeals court just ruled that the police have a legal right to stop, search and arrest you for innocent behavior including driving with your hands at the ten-and-two position on the steering wheel at 7:45 p.m., taking a scenic route and having acne.

To the Tenth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, these factors added up to fit the profile of a person smuggling undocumented immigrants and drugs. The court said, “Although the factors, in isolation, may be consistent with innocent travel … taken together they may amount to reasonable suspicion.”

In other words, the police can now stop you for no reason at all. Law enforcement just needs to add a sinister context to your behavior, and off you go to jail. The court endorsed this expansion of aggressive police behavior in USA v. Cindy Lee Westhoven, No. 13-2065.

Not what the Founders had in mind

This is not the result that the founders of our country had in mind when they added the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution. It forbids unreasonable searches and seizures, and requires the police to have “reasonable suspicion” that there is a crime underway, based on facts they can articulate.

In this case, Cindy Westhoven of Tucson, Arizona, argued unsuccessfully that a border patrol cop had no right to stop her and no reasonable suspicion to extend the stop once it was clear she wasn’t smuggling Mexicans.

The Rest…HERE

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