|What to do if your busted||1||7/03||Nan|
|By Nan (Nanook) on Tuesday, October 23, 2001 - 03:38 pm:|
Via NY Transfer News Collective * All the News that Doesn't Fit
What to do if you get stopped by the cops
The legal system in the US is one arm of the octopus we call "The System." It was designed by and is used for the benefit of those who control the society. It was not designed to protect the "rights" of those who oppose capitalism or business as usual.
Because of various historical accidents, there are aspect of the law that, at least in theory, protect individual "liberties." The law presumes, however, that everyone knows what these protections are and if you don't know what they are, it is very easy to "waive" these rights. Therefore, in the interest of giving us all an equal chance when we're confronted by the cops, here are some thoughts on the law of cop's stops and searches.
This article is based on how things are supposed to be "in theory." The reality is that cops can and will do anything they want out on the street. And they won't hesitate to lie about it later on.
But some cops are worse than others and a lot of them may treat you differently if they think you know your rights. The cops depend on fear and intimidation to get what they want. Don't let them get away with more than they are allowed to because of fear.
If you run into a really bad cop, talking back to him and standing up for your rights might get you beaten up or killed, so be careful about the realistic limits of "the law" and of your rights in America. The cops are perhaps the most dangerous members of our society so pay attention when you talk to them. What if I get stopped by the cops?
When a cops officer stops you on the street, the law says that the stop will fall into one of 3 categories: consensual contact, detention and arrest. Which one you're in determines how badly they can fuck with you.
At one end is a "consensual contact." This means that the officer comes up to you and says "can I speak with you?" If you say "yes," you have consented to have contact with the cops. That is very bad. The result of such "consent" is that you won't have various "rights" under the Constitution.
ESPECIALLY if you think you may be guilty of something (you have a warrant out on you, you are carrying drugs, you just did something illegal), NEVER consent to talk to a cops officer. This sounds backward. The normal impulse when confronted with a cop is to be polite and try to convince them that you aren't doing anything. If you follow such an impulse, you are unlikely to actually convince the officer and if the cop gets you on something, you won't be able to get out of it later on in court. Never voluntarily talk to the cops!
If you don't think you are guilty of anything, it still isn't a good idea to consensually talk to the cop. You never know how the conversation will end up. And if people figure "well, I'm not guilty of anything so I'll let the cops stop me and ask me a few questions now and then" the cops state will be on the march. Further, it will encourage the idea that people who don't want to talk to the cops have something to hide. How do I avoid a consensual contact?
If the cop asks, "can I talk to you" say something like "I'm sorry, I'm in a hurry and I don't have time to talk to you right now." If the cop insists, ask him "Are you detaining me? Am I free to leave?"
Ask this several times to make sure the cop will have a hard time lying and saying you didn't mention it later on if you get to court. If it is really a consensual contact, the officer ought to let you go on your way if you ask to go. If you don't actually verbally ask to leave, the court will presume that you consented to whatever follows.
The next category of citizen/cops contact is called a detention. The cops are only allowed to detain a citizen when there are "specific and articulable facts supporting suspicion" that you are involved in criminal activity.
This means that they can't detain you on a "hunch." "Specific and articulable facts" (SAF) means that the cops must have observed something about your behavior and character that links you with specific criminal activity. If the cops detain you without SAF, the detention is illegal and whatever they obtain as a result of the detention (evidence or arrest) cannot be used against you in court. How does this all work in practice?
Suppose the cops stop you because it is late at night, you are walking around the city, "you look at them funny", look "strange" or are homeless or the wrong color.
The officer says "Excuse me, may I talk to you?" You say alright. You have just consented to talk to the cops. If the officer notices after talking to you for a while that you have spray paint on your finger or wheatpaste on you clothing, or notices a bulge in your coat, the officer can find cause to detain you and could eventually arrest you.
If, however, you said "no, I have to go" the officer is supposed to let you go because he or she doesn't have SAF that you are involved in criminal activity just because you look funny and it is nighttime. The courts have found all of the facts mentioned above insufficient to justify a detention.
If the cop says, "well, you can't go" or otherwise detains you, then if they do find reason to arrest you, you may be able to avoid the penalty because the original detention was illegal. If the officer detains you and finds nothing, you should complain to the city, the "cops review commission" in your town (if there is one) and you should let COPWATCH know about what happened. (510-548-0425.)
Often (except as noted below), when you start throwing around terms like "detention" and "specific and articulable facts" the cop is going to lay off. A lot of the cops's power is intimidation and the public's ignorance.
It is crucial that you let the officer know that you are not "consenting" to talk to him and that the only way you will talk to him is if he detains you.
There may be SAF in some circumstances. If you rob a bank wearing red pants and a string tie and are spotted 15 minutes later in those same clothes carrying a white money bag reported missing by the bank, the cops will probably have SAF. There is nothing illegal about a cops detention if they have SAF, but not just anything is a "specific and articulable fact" supporting suspicion that you are involved in criminal activity. The facts have to be very specific.
A lot of "cops harassment" situations involve the cops stopping people because they "look wrong" and then going on "fishing expeditions" looking for a valid reason to arrest which they didn't have at the beginning of the stop. Don't give the officer a chance to find anything out--"Just Say No." What if the officer asks to search?
More serious than consensual contact and detention is an arrest. For an arrest, the cops need a high level of suspicion of your involvement in criminal activity. If you are arrested, the cops can search you as part of the arrest.
If the officer asks to search you without arresting you, you can say "no." The cops have the right to search for weapons if they feel in danger of being attacked. They are not allowed to search people for other items. In a lot of cases the cops ask to search someone and obtain "consent" to search. Even though the search isn't justified, it will be legal because the citizen didn't object and therefore "consent" is presumed.
If the officer asks to search you or any of your property, tell them you don't have a weapon and ask if you are under arrest or if they have a warrant. If you aren't and they don't, tell them "I would rather not let you search." They may ask many times and seem to be acting with complete authority. Just Say No. You will not let them search you unless they arrest you or have a warrant, and you don't have a weapon.
If they search anyway, and find something, you may be able to escape the penalty later in court. If the cop is obeying the law, they should leave you alone. The fact that you refused to be searched does not make you more "suspicious" and give them an excuse to search.
Of course as stated above, the cops may ignore all of these laws and they may be less than polite and non-violent. When a cop gets out of control, deal with it carefully. But don't voluntarily consent to either a search or a detention.
Slingshot 700 Eshleman Hall Berkeley, CA 94702
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Title: "I do not consent to a search; Am I free to go?; I want a lawyer." By: B. Wyze
Dedicated to the memory of Paul Reynolds, one of San Diego's inspired leaders in the pro-hemp movement, cut down in his prime by a sheriff deputy's bullet.
Disclaimer: I'm not a lawyer; I'm one of you. What I write here is the best information that I've gleaned so far, and I'm prepared to use it myself. These are my best suggestions, and do not constitute legal advice. In situations where there's a question between what's legal and what's safe, my bias is to stick with what's safe. Check out this article with your lawyer or a good second-year law student or better, and then mass copy it for all of your friends! Let us know what you find out, what your experiences are, and your ideas, so we can keep this up-to-date and make it even better.
This is your front line of defense in the War on Drug Users.
What it is: Cops love to play word games, and they're good at it. They're also good at taking control and being the boss, or coming on like they're your parents or something. They know that you have rights, but they're betting that you don't know what they are. Watch your ass! Many people get busted by falling into their traps, or by not realizing that the cop is trying to get you to give up your rights ... so don't let them get away with it! One lawyer said that 99% of the people in jail talked themselves into it.
Some of their cute little tricks: "May we search you? No. Why, got something to hide?", or "Look, can I go? Not yet. Why, am I under arrest? Would you like to be?" Rather than keeping this sort of bullshit going, or trying to outwit them, it's just better not to play that kind of game. Keep in mind that if you lie to a cop and they can prove it later, that's one more thing you can be charged with ... so don't tell them anything one way or another! (One lawyer did say "Admit nothing, deny everything, and demand a lawyer", so maybe you can lie to a cop since you're not under oath, but it seems more prudent just to keep quiet.) Sometimes they'll threaten "Look, we can go get a warrant anytime, so you'd better let us in", but what that really means is "We tried everything, but couldn't get one. Please let us in so we can bust you." Well ... just say "No." Tell them to go get that warrant. Sometimes they'll say "A friend of yours ratted you out and told us everything. You know the guy, (insert name here)." This is a fishhook ... don't bite! And don't believe them! They're probably trying to get you to "retaliate" and to spill the beans about your friend ... who will be next on their pickup list because of what you just said.
General advice: Remain calm. Don't offer physical resistance. Be polite if you say anything. Don't cuss at or mouth off to a cop ... fighting words are not protected speech, and the cop might have grounds for assault charges against you (or at least will make life a little rougher for you). And, never consent to a search of any kind.
Best case scenario: They detain you for a non-drug reason, such as a broken car light, a traffic violation, stereo too loud, etc. It's best to play along as "the good citizen" and to be courteous. If you totally get into their game and promise to take care of it, at most they'll write you a ticket, admonish you, and then let you go. Take the lumps! Express remorse! It works. If they go too far (like trying to search you or your property), then dig in your heels and exercise your rights. Read on.
Your rights: You have the right to refuse to let them into your home if they don't have a warrant (4th Amendment). You can refuse to consent to a search (4th Amendment), but you can't physically stop them. You can remain silent (5th Amendment), although it is often advisable to give them your name, address, and age. You have the right to have your attorney with you while they question you (5th Amendment, I think). You have the right not to sign anything they give you, except for a ticket. Do not make a statement!
Their "rights": They can briefly do a pat-down search on the outside of your clothing and check-out suspicious lumps that feel hard and bulky ... they want to make sure that you don't have a concealed weapon (but you should say "I don't consent to being searched" anyway to cover yourself, and you shouldn't carry anything incriminating in that same pocket!). They can and will ask you everything under the sun (freedom of speech you know). If you blow it by: answering their questions, letting them into your house, or consenting to a search, then they gotcha cold ... so don't do it! They don't have to read you your rights if you're not under arrest, so you'd better know what they are. They can briefly detain you for various purposes, but they can't hold you unless you're under arrest (If you ask "Am I free to go?", and they say no, ask "Why not?" or "What is the law that allows you to hold me?" or "I'm not under arrest, yet you've said I can't leave ... please clarify my legal status at this time."). If you try to physically resist them or to run away from them, then they have the right to use force against you ... even if you're clean and have done nothing wrong! So ... keep calm and be cool, they've got the deck stacked in their favor and they know it.
Reasonable Suspicion: Allows them to look briefly, but not to search.
Probable Cause: Having some kind of evidence against you, such as: a certain smell, an anonymous phone call about you, or seeing a joint lying on your living room table. Refusal to allow a search is not probable cause ... if it were, then they could search you no matter what answer you give, which is totally against the US Constitution (4th Amendment).
At home: If they knock on your door to "ask you a few questions", then either talk through the closed door or quickly step outside and lock your door behind you. This serves two purposes: One, do not give them an opportunity to look inside ... if they see something, that's probable cause. Two, if they want to conduct an illegal search, then they'll have to break down your door to do so. Then you can use the broken pieces as evidence against them, whereas if there are no broken pieces, then they will claim that you let them in voluntarily. If they drag on their "question" thing too long, keep asking "Am I free to go?" until they give you a definite answer. If they have a warrant, then tell them they can't start their search until your lawyer arrives to witness it, and then get that lawyer over real quick! During the search, have everyone sit together and instruct them to say absolutely nothing. If the cops ask you to do something, then you may politely tell them "Unless you are ordering me to do that at this time, I refuse. Are you ordering me to do that?" If they say yes, then you can ask "What law says that you can order me to do that?" If they can't answer, then don't do it. If they try to force you at that point, do not resist, and state "I'm not doing this voluntarily, but under protest and duress." Remember your witnesses.
On the road: You don't have much left in the way of rights when you're on the road. In my opinion, the best you can do is to keep things on the level of an average citizen stopped for a minor traffic violation. It's pretty easy to do this, and all it takes is a little fore-thought.
First of all, keep your license, registration, and proof of insurance in an easily accessible place, such as attached to your sun visor. The less time it takes for you to get these, the less time the officer has to look through your windows while waiting. If you get pulled over, stay in the car, turn on the cab light if it's dark, roll down your window, keep your hands relaxed on the wheel (10-2 position) so the officer can see them, sit still, relax and wait for the officer to come to you. (sudden moves, ducking down, looking nervous, or appearing to be searching for something under your seat is just asking for trouble ... so, just sit up naturally, be still, and put the officer at ease). The point of all this is to demonstrate to the officer that you're an average ordinary citizen ready to be admonished for some small infraction, and that you're hoping for a warning rather than a citation, so be a little meek and humble. The idea is to get the cop to like you and to trust you, and maybe you won't even get a ticket! When interacting with the cop, be courteous and listen attentively. Be at ease, and talk to the person behind the badge.
The cop has the right to look in your car from the outside, so it's good practice to keep any questionable items put away while you're driving (ie, don't keep a half-smoked joint sitting in an open ashtray!).
If you're legally carrying a firearm, it's advisable to tell the officer (eg, "Officer, I have an unloaded pistol in my glove compartment. What would you like me to do?"). If this is the case, obey their orders, and make it clear to them that you're just a law-abiding citizen who's aware that San Diego is not as nice as it used to be. If they ask you to get out of the car, it's strongly advisable to do so. Get out slowly in a calm, deliberate and reasonable manner, and follow the cop to see what it is they want to point out to you. If all of the above goes well, then you'll at most get a ticket and will be free to drive away. This is what you want. The next part of this section is for those cases that don't turn out this nicely.
Like I said in the first line of this section, you don't have much left in the way of rights when you're on the road. Cops apparently have the right to "pat down" the interior of your car (driver's compartment, glove box, and underneath the seats) if they suspect that you're armed (and you haven't told them so). I know of no searches that have not been held up in the courts. They apparently can legally search closed containers in your car, and don't need a warrant to fully search your car if they have probable cause.
In my opinion, the best strategy is to maintain the role of "average citizen" but to be a little more indignant if they want to do a search, and to keep yourself legally covered. If they ask if they can search your car, tell them "No. I won't consent to a search of my car without a warrant." but as you say this, keep physically relaxed and keep your movements slow. Say it reasonably, as if they're trying to make a big deal out of nothing. When they ask why you're refusing their search, tell them "I've been advised by an attorney never to consent to a search." Give them a chance to back down gracefully, as if this were just a harmless misunderstanding on their part, easily forgiven.
If they proceed anyway with the search, after you've tried all the above, your last resort should be to say "If you search my car, without my consent or without a warrant, I will file Federal criminal charges against you for violating my civil rights under the color of law!" Say it and mean it. Now, you are a pissed off, but still peaceable, citizen who's about to be wronged. Yeah, it's a bluff, so you'd better say it like you mean business ... but remember to refrain from any kind of threatening posture! Be serious in intent, but cool and composed in bearing. It might work. If it doesn't, then remain silent, and watch them without getting in the way.
In public: If they want to search you, then say "I do not consent to being searched." Always be clear about this, try to involve witnesses, and never physically resist. If you ever try to resist, then they will use force ... they always do. So, be relaxed, move slowly, and keep your hands out where they can see them.
Tight situation: They conduct a search without your consent, and find something. Almost anything you say at that point will hurt you. The best thing you can do, and it is your Constitutional right, is to say "I want a lawyer" and then keep your trap shut 'til you get one! Don't answer any of their questions (except name, address, and age) if your lawyer isn't with you.
Worst case scenario: It's 3:30 am, ten cops break down your door and they're yelling and pointing their guns at you ... freeze! Do not move a muscle, and keep absolutely quiet for at least a count of 3! They'll frisk you and start to tear your place apart. When they know you're unarmed, then ask "Do you have a warrant? I do not consent to a search." If they do have one, then read it and make damn sure that they can legally do what they're doing. (Apparently their warrant doesn't need to be signed to be valid, so long as a signed copy is on file). If the warrant doesn't specify what they're doing right now, then say so and insist that they stop (but don't try to physically stop them!). If they do not have a warrant, then tell them that they must leave. If they don't, then call the State Cops (237-7232) and FBI (231-1122), and report an incident of trespass by the local cops and ask them to come and remove them. Get your lawyer there as quickly as possible, if you can, and remember that the more witnesses you have, the better ... there's always your neighbors! If the cops arrest you, then they must give you a receipt for everything they confiscate (wallet, clothing, packages, etc.), so I would think that they must also give you one for whatever they take during the search.
If they arrest you: Ask "Why am I under arrest?". They have to tell you. After they book you, demand your two phone calls, at your expense: first to an attorney, relative or employer, and second to a bailbondsman. If you can't afford a lawyer, then demand that they provide you with one at no expense. Do not let your lawyer enter a plea of "not guilty" before the arraignment (the first trip to court where you will be formally charged, which by law has to occur within 48 hours of your arrest, barring holidays and Sundays), because that would automatically lock you into criminal proceedings, which is where your dear lawyer will try to make his/her money. You should try like hell to get your case dismissed before that arraignment! Your lawyer knows what to do, and if s/he won't do it, then get one who will. If you can't get it dismissed, then enter your "not guilty" plea at the arraignment and insist on a jury trial, which will be expensive and difficult for the DA. Do not let your lawyer waive the speedy trial time limits! (Which s/he might try to do so they can charge you more money for "preparation", etc.) You don't want the prosecution to have all the time in the world to build their case against you! If you are adamant about all that, and if their case isn't strong, then they might actually drop it! What the hell, it's worth a shot! If your case does go to trial, then try like hell to get that jury informed about their inherent right to judge the law itself, and to nullify it by letting you go, if they think it's not fair or is totally ridiculous (like forcing you to go to prison for a year for having 1.5 ounces of pot, or some equally obnoxious law).
Drills: Knowing what to say and do is great, but it's even better if you get together with your friends and practice on each other, preferably in at least two frames of mind. That way, if you're one on one with a cop, you'll be ready to handle the situation.
Cops can follow you into your home or car if they're "in hot pursuit," and they're allowed to search the immediate location when they do arrest you. This makes it very important to not return home, or go to your car if someone is trying to catch up with you to arrest you. If you let them follow you home, and into your house, they can perform a "brief search" of those places and anything they find is admissable.
its legitimate to be 1) sick 2) tired 3) in a hurry. the first two explain that stoned look; the latter explains why you don't want to bother with a search, if they don't have a warrant, even though you have nothing to hide.
Spotting Narcs Officers
Of course you know that any narc worth its badge will lie to you if you ask it if it's a narc.
If the narc is good at its job, you won't be able to tell it's a narc -- even _after_ you're busted.
HOWEVER: you should be concerned about people who ask to see your grow room or ask you to perform illegal acts such as 1. scoring drugs for them. 2. telling them from whom they can score drugs.
Be concerned if the person seems unusually assertive or pushy. If the person seems to know how to manipulate you into saying incriminating things, or asks too many questions... be wary. If the person makes you nervous: bail out -- at worst you're being overcautious, at best you preserved your freedom.
You should know that narcs *are* allowed to ingest illegal drugs, so just because some guy smokes a doob' w/ you, it doesn't mean he's "cool".
There is a special case, with LSD (and presumably other psychotomimetics). It has been suggested that if someone asks you for acid and you think he might be a narc, tell him to "Open your mouth and close your eyes." The idea is that someone who wants to trip, and trusts you enough to ask you to supply them, should trust you enough to provide them with the appropriate dosage. But, so the theory goes, a narc, knowing full well the ego bending (or disassociative or psychotomimetic-- pick your fave term) effect of LSD will refuse the OYM&CYE offer because he fears the possible loss of his self- censorship and the subsequent possibility of outing himself.
There is some validity to this (for instance I'd be very surprised if a narc would ever knowingly use LSD and xtc at the same time...) but there are some major holes, too. In the case of LSD, the narc could simply absent himself from the scene before the acid kicks in, or he could surreptitously counter-dose himself with thorazine, a drug guarenteed to short circuit acid trips [although the effects of thorazine should be fairly easy to discern].
Some other *possible* tip-offs include can include the wearing of fannypacks or the presence of a small group of people dressed in very similar clothing, moving as a unit. For instance, at Weedstock 92, they found a whole *nest* of narcs. They looked like regular hempsters -- one even carried a hempstalk walking stick (confiscated, no doubt, from some hapless WOD victim).
These narcs initially outed themselves by their incessant solicitation at the event: going from campsite to campsite asking for shrooms, doses and herb. Eventually one of the narcs was spotted by a guy who'd been busted by him in another state. The organizers soon cordoned off these soulless, contemptable, professional liars and confronted them, which was when their "uniform" became apparent: several (3,4?) were wearing Arab-style headdress, and they were the only ones at the event so dressed. They moved as a group, although their separation was about 5~20 meters so the group was difficult to discern. Apparently the headgear made it easier for the DEA spotters across the valley to keep them under watch. They all wore fannypacks to, I believe.
As the first group of narcs was isolated, their backup materialized out of nowhere, although to the casual observer they appeared to be interested gawkers. They too were largely identifiable by a common apparel style, although it was a little more subtle. One guy in particular, christened "the Snake", was truly amazing-- he pulled off three or four costume changes in the span of about 10 minutes! It seeemed like everytime someone blinked, he'd be in a different style of dress; it took hours to track and eject him, i believe. So be concerned about someone with multiple pairs of sunglasses, T-shirts, and hats.
At another event, I witnessed a similar set of characteristics under slightly different conditions: the Narcs outed themselves immediately upon arrival, on purpose. I guess they didn't want to have to bust anyone. They were all dressed essentially the same, carried fannypacks, wore the same color shirts, hats and sunglasses and moved as an amorphous unit.
Unfortunately, this advice is mostly good only for public events, not small, private encounters.
There is another type of narc that's a bitch to smoke out: the Babe. (called the honeytrap in spy novels). Here's the secret of the honeytrap: there aren't very many women involved in the scene, so women are welcomed fairly easily and unquestioningly; stereotypically beautiful women even more so. It's a major problem to deal with because it fucks up the sociology of the group. However, there tends to be a correlation between the Babe's apparent "availability" and "susceptability" and Narcness. If the female seems to be unattached and appears to be seriously wasted and/or sexually available, but moves from group to group -- especially if she implies scoring drugs will yield sexual favors -- watch out. I totally hate the honeytrap, it's extremely effective, and dealing with it can very easily generate lots of misogynist fallout. I imagine the best way to deal w/ this one is to look for her backup -- if you can find it -- and to monitor a "wasted" woman very very carefully, but very very surreptitiously and try to determine if she's really as wasted as she appears. lotsa luck. If you're concerned, the best bet is to split from her presence. The honeytrap is evil. But, Please, don't _assume_ that women are narcs.
Unfortunately, good narcs know all about this stuff and won't make mistakes. And even more unfortunately, regular people can seem like narcs if you're paranoid or they're clueless fools.
Of course, under NO circumstance should you ever threaten or harm a person you suspect of narcitude. EVER. bad karma, bad move, ugly scene. While Narcs are subhuman scum unworthy to dine on the contents of your bowels, you will get in major legue trouble for fucking w/ them. Let them grow old and die of natural causes without any intervention or harm from you and trust God to deal with them in his own time. (If there's any justice in the universe they'll be reincarnated as veal calves or drug-test monkeys.)
That's the tactics. The strategy is to keep your nose clean, don't deal, traffic, or conspire or grow.
Talking to Cops
by Lamont Granquist
Its time to talk about cops again.
Currently, a friend of mine is in work release for 6 months for selling 500 hits of E in a controlled buy. It turns out that Washington state is a very good state to be in to get busted with E or other hallucinogens -- they have their own sentencing guidelines seperate from the other schedules. If he had been busted with a similar amount of methamphetamine he would currently be doing a minimum of 18 months in real prison, and not in work-release.
There is, of course, a story behind all of that, but what I wanted to write about was the fact that due to the nature of his experiences we had discussed what do to about cops a lot. There was always the very real possibility that cops could get involved, and eventually they did get involved. He wanted to be ready to deal with them and know what to say to them which pretty much amounts to one word: nothing.
And I expect that this is harder than you might think, because cops are masters of trying to get you to cave in and spill shit. For example, the cops could have taken his friends in for questioning and starting hammering them on the fact that they were accusing him of having been bringing million of dollars of heroin into the country or something, or accusing him of doing something much, much worse until they broke them down the point where they just said "no, he never does stuff like that, all he did was sell pot and a little bit of E."
Oops. Of course the cops in this scenario would have been lying through their asses trying to work an angle on his friends until they got them to confess to precisely what they were trying to make them confess to. The cops will then, of course, also say to the person under arrest that their friends spilled everything in order to try to get the suspect to confess. And they'll claim that they're trying to "help you."
Never, ever trust the cops.
If you have any kind of ongoing 'relationship' where thing could get legally ugly, you must arrange ahead of time the fact that neither one of you will ever, under any circumstances talk to a cop and establish the groundwork of trust so that when the cop tells you that your friend has spilled everything that you *know* that the cop is lying. If a cop says something to you which makes your stomach turn and makes you think "everything is up" and lose hope you have to realize that the cop is saying that *precisely* to get that reaction out of you. Cops are *trained* to do that.
A really good article to read is lycaeum.org/~chemist/. Its the story of an alt.drugs.chemistry'er from way back who eventually wound up getting busted. A good excersise is to go through and spot all the mistakes that Eleusis made in talking to the cops, because he made a bunch.
They didn't like that one bit. No sirree. Not one bit. That's when they pulled out the big guns (metaphorically) and asked if I knew anyone in Houston. The sweat started to pour. I knew what they were after. I said "yes, I have a friend out there". They asked what I thought happened when the box I shipped never made it and I said "I figured UPS confiscated it for improper packaging but when I called about it they said they had no record of the shipment so then I figured it was just lost." Then they asked the killer question, the one that made me give up because I knew I was busted.
"Do you know [blank]?"
I said, "yes, she's an ex-girlfriend of mine."
"Well we have [blank] in custody right now."
"So I'll repeat my earlier question, did you ever use this to make crystal, crank, meth, whatever?"
"No, I never made crystal meth, I think it's a horrible drug."
"Then what did you make with it, [blank] said ' ---- ' "
"Alright, alright. I made MDMA."
Two mistakes were made here and the first comes from the second. The first is that he let the fact that the cops new some information get to him. You can't ever do that. The cops can spell out in detail every damn second of your life for the past 3 years and show you videotape and you *have* to believe that some procedural fuck up will get you off and cling to that and just say "i want to talk to a lawyer." You can't let them get to you. And Eleusis should never have admitted to making MDMA. Let the cops do the work, never do anything to help them out, particularly confessing to a crime. Cops are not there to help you, they're there to bust you.
Also, a third mistake is that Eleusis should never have been as co-operative with the cops. He should have refused to answer *any* questions, he should have asked the cops if he was being arrested and if he could speak to a lawyer and be completely un-cooperative. He didn't have to tell them that he made photographic chemicals, or offered any information about the UPS package. When questioned about the UPS package he should have taken the Ronald Reagan defense "I don't recall." Not remembering something -- even when it's painful obvious to everyone around that you're lying -- is great, because later you can suddenly "remember" it when it comes time to talk to the judge if your *lawyer* indicates that it might be in your best interests to remember it.
"I don't recall"
"I don't know what you're talking about"
"Am I being arrested?"
"Can I talk to a lawyer?"
In some states, i believe if you ask to talk to a lawyer, the cops are legally obliged to stop questioning you. This can be a good tactic if there are non-cop witnesses around.
Then he goes on:
Consent was then asked for to search my apartment, under the threat that I would be arrested if I said no and they would get a warrant anyway. I knew this would happen because of what POP-I had told me so I signed my life away. Agents were standing by at my apartment and busted in the door as soon as my pen hit the paper. I was cuffed and taken to my apartment to identify the contents as mine (a formality) and then I was taken to DEA Holding. Apparently seconds after I was taken away the reporters arrived. My driver's license picture was on the 6:00 news. The entire block I lived on was evacuated. Rumors started flying and all of my friends, of which only a very few knew what I did, started calling each other.
Always make them get the warrant. If they asked him for consent, they probably couldn't have gotten a warrant to search it. In the case of my friend that was busted, since the drugs were acquired en route to the controlled buy they could *not* get a warrant to search my friend's apartment. Even though you'd think a judge would go "well, duh, he probably has evidence there" they still couldn't get a warrant for his apartment. We're talking the law here, and common sense rarely has anything to do with it.
Then they took Eleusis to the holding cell:
At DEA Holding I received the good cop/bad cop treatment. It's just like the movies, kids. Just like it. One was threatening to kick in my balls if I didn't tell the truth, the other was saying "there, there, he's *trying* to tell the truth, give him a chance." It was sickening (apparently, [blank] actually did get sick because they asked "you're not going to puke all over the floor like [blank], are you?")
Okay, a healthy reaction here is to realize that the officer is trying to get a reaction out of you by telling you about [blank] puking. Ideally you should distrust everything that the officer is saying. Maybe [blank] really did puke all over the floor in interrogation. It doesn't matter. The reaction that will likely save you is to think to yourself that the cop is making it up. If you believe the cop is making it up, then it only follows logically that the cop is trying to get a reaction out of you, and that can give you the ability to resist.
Down the page a bit Elusis writes:
I later received the background documentation on the DEA's "setup" of the sting against my co-conspirators and me. What was extremely interesting to note from this was that the DEA conducted "three trash pickups at [my parent's] residence and 1 trash pickup at [blank]' s. "Of course they didn't find anything because I didn't live with my parents, but I always assumed that they would be able to tell that I didn't live there. Funny thing is, they were limited to investigating *where the chemicals were actually sent*.
Pair this statement with the statement about the warrant, and I bet you that Eleusis signed about 5 years of his life away (i think that's what he got) when he signed the consent form for them to go into his lab. If "they were limited to investigating *where the chemicals were actually sent*" then they couldn't have gotten a warrant and they would have had almost nothing to go on. If "[blank]" had kept her mounth shut, then she probably would have gotten a few months for whatever they had on her and Eleusis would have gotten off.
Down at the bottom of this page Eleusis gives some advice that I completely disagree with:
Fourth, if you are caught, try to find out what the agents know/don't know before you start spilling the beans. In my case I played very innocent with them until I found out that [blank] was arrested with 50 capsules of my product (they told her that they already had me in custody and that I said blah-blah-blah, they do that sort of thing, btw). If it does seem like they've got a pretty solid lock on you, *be cooperative* - tell them the truth but don\rquote t get too detailed, all of the details will be debated during sentencing anyway, but being consistent from the moment you are arrested to the moment you are sentenced looks very good, indeed. As well, plead guilty but don't sign the plea agreement unless you are getting a good deal out of it (and you'll only be getting something good if you turn in other people, in which case you deserve to spend eternity in Cocytus (c.f. -Dante's Inferno)).
If you play this game, you lose and the cops win. Don't worry about what the cops do and don't know. And don't "spill the beans." It wins you precisely *zero*. Really, my friend said *nothing* to the cops and was entirely unco-operative right up until the point where he had to accept that the cops had a rock solid case and was forced to plead guilty -- about a year after he was busted. The system did not "punish" him for being unco-operative -- instead he still got the absolute lowest sentence the judge could give him. The cops will, of course, tell you differently and tell you to save yourself. They, of course, lie.
Just to reiterate you should never, ever talk to the cops if they take you in for interrogation. This goes for all circumstances and not just drug cases. If your friend might have _killed someone_, the appropriate time to notify the police is after you've sat down and thought about it and arrived at your own conclusions and when you come under your own power to the cop shop and tell them. The same thing goes for your kids. Talking to the cops will not help your kids if they're getting busted for something. I don't know how I would deal with cops as a parent, but I know that I would never trust that a cop is empathizing with me as a parent and trying to work with me to help my kids -- I would always assume that they are trying to *work me* and screw my kids. At least not until after they've left or let me go would I sit down (preferably with a lawyer) and decide what to tell them. Making decisions that can affect other people lives should not be made, ever, under the conditions that cops place on someone when they are interrogating or questioning them.
Anyway, I hope that everyone realizes that this shit is real and stops and takes a few moments to think about how much risk they are in and how much risk the people around them are in, and figure out what they would do if the roof caved in. A cop could knock on your door tomorrow asking you "do you know XXX?" "have you had correspondence with XXX?" "have you ever received any drugs from XXX?" "were you at location YYY on X/Y/Z?" "are you on ?", etc. I think it's probably fine to admit that you know someone, but if they start asking about specific dates you should always say "i don't remember" even if it was last week. If someone asks you about your involvement with online groups just say "i don't know what you are talking about." Be really fucking unco-operative, you have *nothing* to lose. Don't help the cops in putting together times, dates, places, locations, etc. It goes without saying that you should never, ever admit to any illegal activities with a cop. Don't even admit to something minor like smoking pot to try to cover up something more major. Even in the face of evidence to the contrary, you should take the position that you are an upstanding member of the community who doesn't even jaywalk -- don't pull a "well, sometimes I..." to try to gain "credibility" -- it won't and you'll risk opening doors that the cops want opened: warrants, etc. Also, you should realize that you may not know how much risk someone else is at, and that your statement that you've gotten stoned with them on occasion could wind up with them getting busted for the meth lab in their basement that you didn't know about. *Always* operate under the assumption that your friends have much more to lose than you know about and that you're going to protect them from that.
Anyway, that's my rant on the cops. And I'm just ranting. Nothing in here is anything other than general, aimed at everyone. Its just that there will always be people who have cats and other pets that occasionally smoke some pot and do a little E on occasion, and those people need to recognize the risks that their pets are in and how to deal with damage control. Even the people at negligible risk need to realize how to deal with damage control to keep our pets safe. Got it?
Know and Exercise Your Rights
The following information is intended as a brief summation of your constitutional rights and is meant to offer helpful hints at how to effectively assert and protect those rights within the context of a police encounter. Of course, this information is no substitute for consultation with an experienced attorney.
The Fourth Amendment to the Bill of Rights of the United States Constitution states:
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
The Fifth Amendment reads, in part,
"No person shall be... compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law...."
These amendments provide the foundation for the rights that protect all U.S. Citizens from intrusive law enforcement practices.
If an officer violates your rights then any evidence discovered as a result of that violation must be suppressed from the evidence at trial. This is accomplished by filing a motion to suppress with the trial judge. Even if an officer obtained a warrant prior to searching, if that warrant is defective or not supported by probable cause, then the evidence must be suppressed. Often times, after the fruits of an illegal detention, interrogation or search are suppressed, the government is left with very little evidence and the charges are dismissed.
1. Don't Leave Contraband in Plain View
Although law enforcement officers must obtain a warrant before they can conduct a privacy-invading search, any illicit material that can be plainly seen by any person from a non-intrusive vantage point is subject to confiscation. An arrest and a valid warrant to search the rest of the area is likely to ensue. A "roach" in the ashtray, a pipe or baggie on the coffee table, or a joint being smoked in public are common mistakes which all too-frequently lead to arrests.
2. Never Consent
Many individuals arrested on marijuana charges could have avoided that arrest by exercising their Fourth Amendment rights. If a law enforcement officer asks for your permission to search, it is usually because: (1) there is not enough evidence to obtain a search warrant; or (2) the officer does not feel like going through the hassle of obtaining a warrant. Law enforcement officers are trained to intimidate people into consenting to searches. If you do consent, you waive your constitutional protection and the officers may search and seize items without further authorization. If officers find contraband, they will arrest you.
If you do not consent to a search, the officer must either release you or detain you and attempt to get a warrant. The fact that you refuse to consent does not give the officer grounds to obtain a warrant or further detain you.
An officer can obtain a search warrant only from a judge or magistrate and only upon a showing of "probable cause." Probable cause requires an officer to articulate information that would cause a reasonable person to believe that a crime has been or is being committed and that evidence of that involvement can be found within the object of the search.
There are exceptions to the search warrant requirement which permit an officer to search an area without a warrant or consent under certain circumstances. The important thing for you to remember is never to consent to a search or talk with an officer if you want to preserve your rights.
If an officer asks to search you or an area belonging to you or over which you are authorized to control, you should respond:
"I do not consent to a search of my [person, baggage, purse, luggage, vehicle, house, blood, etc.] I do not consent to this contact and do not want to answer any questions. If I am not under arrest, I would like to go now (or be left alone)."
3. Don't Answer Questions Without Your Attorney Present
Whether arrested or not, you should always exercise the right to remain silent. Anything you say to law enforcement officers, reporters, cell mates, or even your friends can be used as evidence against you. You have the right to have an attorney present during questioning. Your right to remain silent should always be exercised.
4. Determining if You Can Leave
You may terminate an encounter with officers unless you are being detained under police custody or have been arrested. If you cannot tell whether you may leave, you can ask officers, "Am I under arrest or otherwise detained?" If the answer is, "No," you may leave.
An officer can temporarily detain you without arresting you if he has "reasonable suspicion" that you are involved in criminal activity. An officer must be able at a later time to articulate to a judge objective facts that would have caused a reasonable person to suspect that you were involved in criminal activity at the point that you were detained. Also, the officer may perform a "pat down" or "frisk" on you during the detention if he has reasonable suspicion that you are armed. However, an officer may only reach into your pockets if he pats something that feels like a weapon.
When an officer attempts to contact or question you, you should politely say:
"I do not consent to this contact and I do not want to answer any questions. If I am not under arrest I would like to go now (or be left alone)."
If arrested, you should again refuse a search of any kind and refuse to answer any questions. At this point you should insist on speaking to an attorney as soon as possible.
5. Do Not Be Hostile; Do Not Physically Resist
There are times when individuals politely assert their rights and refuse to consent to a search but the officers nonetheless proceed to detain, search, or arrest them. In such cases, it is important not to physically resist. Rather, you should reassert your rights as outlined above in section 2.
6. Informing on Others
The police and prosecutors often try to pressure individuals into providing information that would lead to the arrest and conviction of others. Threats and promises by police and prosecutors should be viewed with caution and skepticism. Decisions should only be made after consulting with an experienced criminal defense attorney and examining one's own conscience.
Finally, consider downloading and carrying the ACLU's "Bustcard" -- a quick reference guide to your rights and obligations when you are stopped by the police.
Be polite and respectful. Never bad-mouth a police officer.
Stay calm and in control of your words, body language and emotions.
Don't get into an argument with the police.
Remember, anything you say or do can be used against you.
Keep your hands where the police can see them.
Don't run. Don't touch any police officer.
Don't resist even if you believe you are innocent.
Don't complain on the scene or tell the police they're wrong or that you're going to file a complaint.
Do not make any statements regarding the incident. Ask for a lawyer immediately upon your arrest.
Remember officers' badge & patrol car numbers.
Write down everything you remember ASAP.
Try to find witnesses & their names & phone numbers.
If you are injured, take photographs of the injuries as soon as possible, but make sure you seek medical attention first.
If you feel your rights have been violated, file a written complaint with police department's internal affairs division or civilian complaint board.
KEEP THIS CARD HANDY!
IF YOU HAVE A POLICE ENCOUNTER, YOU CAN PROTECT YOURSELF.
1. What you say to the police is always important. What you say can be used against you, and it can give the police an excuse to arrest you, especially if you bad-mouth a police officer.
2. You don't have to answer a police officer's questions, but you must show your driver's license and registration when stopped in a car. In other situations, you can't legally be arrested for refusing to identify yourself to a police officer.
3. You don't have to consent to any search of yourself, your car or your house. If you DO consent to a search, it can affect your rights later in court. If the police say they have a search warrant, ASK TO SEE IT.
4. Do not interfere with, or obstruct the police -- you can be arrested for it.
IF YOU ARE STOPPED FOR QUESTIONING
1. It's not a crime to refuse to answer questions, but refusing to answer can make the police suspicious about you. You can't be arrested merely for refusing to identify yourself on the street.
2. Police may "pat-down" your clothing if they suspect a concealed weapon. Don't physically resist, but make it clear that you don't consent to any further search.
3. Ask if you are under arrest. If you are, you have a right to know why.
4. Don't bad-mouth the police officer or run away, even if you believe what is happening is unreasonable. That could lead to your arrest.
IF YOU'RE STOPPED IN YOUR CAR
1. Upon request, show them your driver's license, registration, and proof of insurance. In certain cases, your car can be searched without a warrant as long as the police have probable cause. To protect yourself later, you should make it clear that you do not consent to a search. It is not lawful for police to arrest you simply for refusing to consent to a search.
2. If you're given a ticket, you should sign it; otherwise you can be arrested. You can always fight the case in court later.
3. If you're suspected of drunk driving (DWI) and refuse to take a blood, urine or breath test, your driver's license may be suspended.
IF YOU'RE ARRESTED OR TAKEN TO A POLICE STATION
1. You have the right to remain silent and to talk to a lawyer before you talk to the police. Tell the police nothing except your name and address. Don't give any explanations, excuses or stories. You can make your defense later, in court, based on what you and your lawyer decide is best.
2. Ask to see a lawyer immediately. If you can't pay for a lawyer, you have a right to a free one, and should ask the police how the lawyer can be contacted. Don't say anything without a lawyer.
3. Within a reasonable time after your arrest, or booking, you have the right to make a local phone call: to a lawyer, bail bondsman, a relative or any other person. The police may not listen to the call to the lawyer.
4. Sometimes you can be released without bail, or have bail lowered. Have your lawyer ask the judge about this possibility. You must be taken before the judge on the next court day after arrest.
5. Do not make any decisions in your case until you have talked with a lawyer.
IN YOUR HOME
1. If the police knock and ask to enter your home, you don't have to admit them unless they have a warrant signed by a judge.
2. However, in some emergency situations (like when a person is screaming for help inside, or when the police are chasing someone) officers are allowed to enter and search your home without a warrant.
3. If you are arrested, the police can search you and the area close by. If you are in a building, "close by" usually means just the room you are in.
We all recognize the need for effective law enforcement, but we should also understand our own rights and responsibilities -- especially in our relationships with the police. Everyone, including minors, has the right to courteous and respectful police treatment.
If your rights are violated, don't try to deal with the situation at the scene. You can discuss the matter with an attorney afterwards, or file a complaint with the Internal Affairs or Civilian Complaint Board.
Produced by the American Civil Liberties Union.
"Apartment dwellers need to be aware of the possibility of entry into
their unit by complex employees or contracted help. Remember - if the
police come to your home for an unrelated issue (ie loud music or
such) they cannot "look around" inside without your permission. If
they decide to do so anyway, then anything they find (that was not in
plain sight from the doorway or a window) would be (most likely)
On the other hand, if an apartment complex employee enters (say, to
fix a leak or for some regular maintenance like changing the AC
filter) and he decided to poke his head into your closet and notices
something possibly illegal, he can provide law enforcement with
probable cause, and the "found" evidence is admissible.
Windows are also a big deal. Anything that can be seen from the
outside with "reasonable effort" becomes probable cause for a search.
Say, for instance, you can see your project from a back window of your
home, but you have a fence around the back yard. Are you protected?
Probably not. Garbage men, meter readers and kids often enter
fenced-in yards. Be aware.
Also be aware of where you dispose of project supplies. Of highest
concern here is cakes and the like. "Old" cakes and most contaminated
cakes contain active controlled chemicals. Courts have decided that
garbage is public, so anyone, including the man, can search through
your trash without probable cause or a warrant. What they find can
cause you problems. Even legal items are of some concern. If empty
perlite, brf and verm bags were found in the trash together it is not
unreasonable to foresee that some judges might take this as probable
cause, particularly if this is being added to other factors.
There is no way to over emphasize the importance of what was mentioned
in the previous post. If you are arrested (or about to be) - *Keep
Your Mouth Shut!* Don't try to explain, mouth off, try to lie, try
to make (or accept) a deal. Nothing. In these situations, as much as
you may respect them at other times, law enforcement officials are not
Two important sources of information on this aspect are NORML's -Know
Your Rights- page and the ACLU's -Bust Card- page. The NORML page
covers your rights in simple English, not attorney babble. The ACLU
has a concise card of information to print and keep on your person in
case of an unfortunate legal encounter. These are quick reads, and are
truly worth the few moments it take to view them. The addresses are
I would also ask that you all consider contacting your elected
officials regarding the severity of our current drug laws. By
emphasizing other issues, such as the tax cost of housing inmates, the
difficulty and cost of re-integrating drug related ex-cons back into
society and your concern against violent crime, you will gain
credibility. Recent public interest (Traffic, Blow) has increased
Americas awareness of the fact that the "war on drugs" may not be in
the nations best interest, and some officials are listening.
Everyone be safe, careful, responsible and adult.