Saturday, May 29, 2010

On-Duty Officers Have Expectation of Privacy When They Pull You Over . . .

. . . but you don't. At least, that's the theory being proposed by Maryland officials. And that expectation of privacy is the difference between a legal videotape that embarrasses the police and a 5-year felony charge for illegal surveillance.

While Anthony Graber was videotaping (via helmet cam) his reckless motorcycle stunt driving, a man exits a vehicle, pulls out a gun, and rushes at him. As it turns out, that man was a plain-clothes police officer, though it takes him a while to identify himself.

If you think it seems like a bit of an overreaction to pull a gun during a traffic stop, so did Anthony. He posted his helmet-cam video to YouTube. In a normal world, perhaps the police would have used this as a teaching moment to instruct their officers in how not to make a traffic stop. In bizarro-world Maryland, however what the police do is raid your house at 6:45 in the morning, turn it upside down, and arrest you for felony eavesdropping.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Supreme Court Says Government Can Hold Prisoners Indefinitely After Sentence is Completed

NY Times Link

Of course, right now it only applies to "sexually dangerous" people, because presumably that's the hardest group of offenses for people to argue against (won't somebody think of the children??), but I think we can all see that if it can arbitrarily apply to one kind of crime, it can and will eventually be extended to others.

Also note that the case in question involved a man convicted not for sexually abusing anyone, but for receiving child pornography. Surely, if there's one crime that justifies giving the federal government the power to detain citizens indefinitely even after they have served their time, a person watching illegal videos is it.