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Ohio Police Department Using Fake Drug Checkpoints (nytimes.com)
33 points by cinquemb 1488 days ago | hide | past | web | 13 comments | favorite

> large yellow signs along Interstate 271 that warned drivers that there was a drug checkpoint ahead, to be prepared to stop and that there was a drug-sniffing police dog in use.

One thing hinted at in the article is the risk of harm to "innocent"[1] drivers from drivers carrying drugs who are distracted by the large scary yellow signs, and thus driving while distracted.

> Peters said the officer asked him what kind of drugs he had in the car, saying it would be much easier to confess before other officers and a drug-sniffing dog arrived. Peters insisted he had no drugs. As promised, other officers and the dog were summoned, and Peters agreed to allow his car to be searched.

I'm not a lawyer, but as I understand it you shouldn't agree to be searched. What's the current best practice for this?

[1] using the words of law enforcement to emphasise the point.

The current best practice is that when police ask you to give up your fundamental rights you politely say no. Calmly say, "I don't consent to searches."

There is literally nothing good that can come from giving up your rights if you are innocent (for you personally, for the police, for society).

The problem is this can be more of a hassle for you. I've been pulled over as a teenager and when I said no he decided to search my car anyway. Saying no doesn't always help, in fact sometimes it makes them give you more trouble and search harder.

If you had consented to the search, then anything he found would have been admissible in court; By not giving your consent to the search you made it so anything that was found wouldn't have held up in court. A cop only asks to search your vehicle if he doesn't already have probable cause to do so without your permission.

> Saying no doesn't always help...

No, the police would like for you to think that. But imagine this scenario. You just dropped off a few friends. One may have dropped his prescription pain killer in between the seat cushions. Now, you've consented to the search and they found that dropped pill. You have no recourse, no prescription for a controlled substance and all you can say is it's not mine and you don't know how it got there.

A classic: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PR7nFq9Avtc

Know Your Rights - Don't Talk to Cops Part 1

A (bit.ly) linked article at http://www.cleveland.com/metro/index.ssf/2013/06/fake_drug_c... quotes an assistant prosecutor: "Vitantonio said that if Peters had not given police permission to search, they would have had to let him go."

That said, it is possible that a trained canine might have alerted from outside the car, generating enough probable cause for a legal search inside of the car without consent of the driver.

This is an area that has seen a lot of litigation in the last 30 years or so, for details google "probable cause" "canine" "Place" "Jardines" "Harris" and "Caballes".

I don't quite understand how this is any different from a real checkpoint. There's a sign that says there's a checkpoint, there's dogs, and four cars were searched.

Only difference is they didn't search 100% of the cars.

Not sure how they do it in Ohio, but they've been doing this in Missouri for a while. They post the signs right before an exit that is rarely used that say something like "Drug checkpoint ahead be prepared to stop." I think I even saw it say something like last exit before checkpoint once. They then stop everyone that gets off at the exit. If you take a second to think about it, it's pretty obvious. Apparently it still manages to catch people.

They wouldn't search 100% of cars at a real checkpoint either.

I know this technique is probably not going to be used for good purposes, and I'm sure we'll have to apply a new patch to fix that vulnerability in our (legal) code, but I still tip my hat to the clever hacks who came up with this attack.

police can randomly stop cars for just two reasons: ... to get drunk drivers off the road.

If a driver appears to be drunk, how is that a random stop? Isn't that a 'probable cause' thing?

> If a driver appears to be drunk, how is that a random stop?

They're not stopping drivers who "appear to be drunk" - that's the point. They are allowed (supposedly, IANAL) to set up a checkpoint to stop every car (effectively a random stop) that passes by to see if the driver is intoxicated, or check to see that they are not in the country illegally.

They're not allowed to check for other crimes without probable cause though. They can't set up a check point to say drug possession or tax evasion, though if you are at a DUI checkpoint I believe you may somehow give them probable cause to check for those things.

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