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Why Refusing a Police Search Helps Protect You Even if They Search You Anyway

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by Scott Morgan

San Francisco Examiner reports on the latest in a series of controversies surrounding constitutional violations by SFPD officers.

Private attorney Robert Amparan said at a news conference Wednesday at Public Defender Jeff Adachi’s office that a judge had just thrown out his client’s felony marijuana possession for sale case because video evidence contradicted the officers’ testimony in court and statements on the police report.

Amparan said 23-year-old McLaren Wenzell did not consent to letting the officers inside his apartment at 33rd Avenue and Geary Boulevard on March 1. He said the officers did not immediately identify themselves as police and did not have a constitutional basis to search the apartment.

In the course of my work to educate the public about how to properly exercise constitutional rights during police encounters, a reaction I hear frequently is, “What’s the point? They’re just going to search me anyway.” Well, as you can see in the story above, police can get busted for bad behavior, and when they do, the evidence is often declared inadmissible. Think about this: if the suspect had instead given consent for the search, there wouldn’t have been any question about the legality of the police entry, and he would have been convicted. The only reason things worked out for him is because he refused the search and relied on his constitutional rights for protection.

But the critical point here goes beyond what happened to this particular suspect in this particular case. Keep in mind that the legal significance of refusing a police search applies whether or not you’ve broken the law, and whether or not police break the law. If officers plant evidence, damage your property, or otherwise disrespect your home, it’s almost impossible to challenge their actions if you gave them permission to come inside. That’s how the law works, and the fact that police sometimes violate it gives you more reason to know and assert your rights, not less.

Artilcle From StoptheDrugWar.orgCreative Commons Licensing

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3 Comments

  1. All so-called ‘law’ in most countries, is a law of commerce/contract and is entirely VOLUNTARY. That’s right, going to court and even to jail is voluntary and a result of contracting with the legal fictions known as COURTS, STATES, DEPARTMENTS, etc.. If one simply questions jurisdiction, its possible to get the case thrown out, as they do not want the truth of Maritime/Admiralty jurisdiction mentioned on the record. If the ‘judge’ (administrator) sidesteps the question of jurisdiction (a likely scenario) and proceeds and asks how you plead (an invitation to contract) say “I do not consent, and waive all ‘benefits'”… benefits here meaning a fine or going to jail, benefits of the contract.

    AS this article proves, all interactions with these corporate policy enforcement officers requires voluntary consent to hold up in court. If summoned (invitation to do business/contract) to court for anything (except causing harm to another, destroying property, and fraud – common law violations, real crimes must have victims to file a claim, otherwise its just an infraction of corporate code/policy), simply question jurisdiction and “do not consent, and waive all benefits”
    To further protect yourself you can claim Sovereignty as a man/woman…

  2. does this really work? you mentioned you went to jail. I’ve known someone trying to use the sovereignty thing in traffic court. the judge wasn’t having it. he got the usual fines.

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