Evidence 101

EVIDENCE 101...Wherever you go, there you are...

Monday, May 19, 2014

Skunked Searches

Hello? (knock, knock) Anyone out there? (tap, tap) Is this thing on?

Fargo here!

The last post on frisks and searches didn't have a rally of words or heated discussion as I had hoped. Don't tell me you are all trading in your intellect (means "mental ability" for you non-academia and "smarts" for you redneck varieties) for knowledge in lieu of squirrel jokes and squirrel sex? Do I need to include cursing?

Maybe we need to bring Dana Carvey back as The Church Lady...one of my favorites:
Or how about The Fruitcake Lady? I have all her episodes, commercial free, on my iPod. Scary, right? Is humor the only thing that stimulates our brain these days?

Well, anyboringtopictime, I guess I will have a chat with myself to keep myself updated on the goings ons with the law. I find laws, procedures, rules...all fascinating. Scary.

Have in mind you only need to keep this knowledge in your memory for about a month before case law or some other court decision changes things up again. In fact, the original documents set down by our founding fathers are getting so diluted today, I get confused. Is the 2nd Amendment abolished yet? Geesh.

A frisk is NOT when the police do away with someone in the car whilst never really stopping-called the snag and drag or the snatch and grab. The Mafia frisked people away, not the PoPo. A police frisk is warranted when there is a safety concern for weapons only. It is not a search for drugs, contraband, or grandma's panties. It is for weapons only. It is done when police detain someone based upon reasonable suspicion. What is reasonable suspicion? The old police academy answer-less than 20%. Hahaha. Police nostalgia makes me laugh. The real answer? Reasonable suspicion is a legal standard of proof which is beneath the standard of proof needed for probable cause. Swallow that as a vitamin. What does that mean? Articulation. What? We bring art into police work?

Now, then enter the "Plain Feel" verbage our justice system has come up with. So, if you feel a bong in the da pants whilst frisking someone, i.e.-checking for a gun, you may retrieve such bong as long as you can articulate from start to finish a detention going into an arrest mode. Articulation has lost many good and proper arrests than anything else, turning them into Supreme Court cases, or offering them up to the Supreme Court for clarification. We, as cops, had to learn how to AR-TICK-U-LATE what we were doing on the street, what we observed, body language, etc. and hone in on our skills. We had to 'splain ourselves a lot better.

(this next paragraph is where I digress into the glory days of cophood)

[i.e. Wilson v. State of Wyoming. Now. I was there during all this. I grew up in law enforcement with this case. Kam was great to work with and shook up the streets. After all, one night in Valley Hills in 1998, when I was chasing a suspect (called for assistance) and got into a fight (rookie mistake not giving out the proper address) all by myself-Officer Ritter came to my assistance and fast. He knew the general residential area I was in because he had just passed me on the street and chatted for about a minute. We were all blacked out that night trying to catch a burglar. All he had to do was stop and listen for the fight and that night you could have heard a pin drop in the neighborhood. And soon enough-there he was. He and I worked on some fun cases and had some fun street stories (those to come another day.) Anydigression, Wilson was his case of a good arsonist snag. He did great. He just didn't articulate as best he usually does and so thus, it went to the Supreme Court. DA Blonigen will even say Officer Ritter did a fine job that night. This might be one of those cases where a detention turned into a seizure and Miranda should have entered the room and other procedures and so forth. ]

Don't get all bad crazy with that court case, it was a defining moment in history where an officer the right thing but it didn't turn out a win for the State.  Read the court definitions and judges' opinions. This case hit home for me how I dealt with people, detained people, and the true visual of "seizure" came into play. It defined things. It is now historical in police case law.

So-back to frisk and search. A search is thorough and systematic. It is a seizure.  Isn't a frisk a search as well? Is a frisk just a speedy search? Is a frisk a seizure?

Get your brain juices flowing. What do you think?


Old NFO said...

To me a frisk is a quick check of the 'obvious' places, e.g. pockets, insides of legs down to shoes, pat check of the groin and sides of the body. Seizure is when something is found leading to a full bore search.

Slamdunk said...

I think the NYPD has messed things over for everyone with their "frisk quotas" as a response to Broken Windows policing.

Students have a difficult time in comprehending the "articulation" part that you describe. They want can/can't/black/white rules for everything. Articulation, discretion, interpretation, etc., are all difficult things for them to digest.

There a sizable comment with not much to offend. I am proud of myself.

Bob G. said...

Momma Fargo:
That was very well-explained...and I had my copy of J. Shane Creamer's Law of Arrest, Search & Seizure out...(just in case, and I helped publish that edition a long time ago).
Didn't have tor refer to it ONCE...kudos.

Roll safe out there.

Fire (waiting to get frisked) Pup said...

I always like to be on the recieving end of a good "frisk". Makes me "Frisky".

Only if the frisker is female. A guy doing the frisk is way too rough.