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Wednesday, December 12, 2007

On the horns of a dilemma

Every so often my civil-libertarian American upbringing bumps sharply against the reality of my current life in Israel.  For example, I have always taken for granted that the police (or any other government representative, for that matter) had no right to search me, restrict my freedom of movement, interfere with my ability to speak/assemble in public, or even to ask me to identify myself... without probable cause.

Quite simply, I was raised on the belief held by the framers of the U.S. Constitution that the government's tendency to assume a dangerous level of power for itself is as natural as gravity (or any other law of nature)... and that it is therefore required that the citizenry have the right to vigorously resist this tendency with all legal means at their disposal.

Sadly, even before I moved to Israel, many of those freedoms/civil liberties had begun to be eroded by the realities of the post 9/11 world.  After those terrible events, 'probable cause'  sort of went out the window.  Most of the new restrictions on personal freedoms were enthusiastically challenged by groups like the ACLU... but regrettably had the effect of a small handbrake being applied to Bush's run-away-freight train known as the 'Patriot Act' .

Then I moved to Israel. 

Here, the lack of a formal constitution, combined with the nearly knee-jerk deferral of personal freedoms in the name of 'security', has emboldened the government's Intelligence, police and security apparatus to assume nearly limitless power with few, if any, checks & balances.  Add to this a sleeping watchdog in the form of a press that behaves as if it is a left wing party in the government coalition, and you have the makings of a civil libertarian's nightmare.

This problem was perhaps best highlighted during the disengagement.  At that time, the government (with the active collusion of the press) clamped down on pretty much all freedom of movement and expression by those opposed to the evacuation of Gush Katif, and even those in favor of disengagement, but opposed to the non-democratic political process by which it had been thrust upon the country. 

Cars and buses on their way to peaceful demonstrations (easily identifiable by the orange ribbons and/or occupants wearing religious attire) were routinely pulled over by police and threatened with arrest if they didn't turn homeward.  Most forms of peaceful opposition to the disengagement - the sort of dissent that are considered the hallmark of a healthy democracy - were actively quashed and demonized... and often even criminalized.

When the Israeli government started building the security fence, those of us who lived near the proposed route watched its progress closely to see whether we would end up 'inside' or 'outside' at the end of the day.  Despite government's assurances to the contrary, the prevailing belief held by both the Palestinians and Israelis living outside the green line, was that the fence would become a de facto international border once it was completed.

Well, the security fence has been completed in most areas (including mine), and as expected those living outside the fence are being treated as foreign nationals and returning citizens.  To make matters worse, the check-points leading into 'Israel' have been deliberately constructed to look and function as international border. 

Add to this the fact that government officials such as Chaim Ramon have now begun floating test balloons regarding giving incentives / compensation to Israelis living outside the fence to encourage them to move back inside Israel's border.  This governmental position makes the transformation of the security fence into an international frontier pretty much a fait à compli

Efrat (the town where I live), as well as most of Gush Etzion, has fortunately been left inside the security fence.  However, our 'settlement block' - one of the two major blocks that all Israeli governments have sworn to retain in any future agreement with the Palestinians - is linked to Jerusalem by a narrow ribbon of highway that is fully accessible to Arabs living outside the fence (makes you wonder about the role of the fence, no?). 

This road, known as Route 60 (but more often called 'the tunnel road' because of the two tunnels that were dug through a small mountain during the '90s to redirect the flow of Jewish traffic around Bethlehem, which was slated to be handed over to Palestinian control) is a narrow corridor that resides in the shadow of the imposing security fence built up on both sides. 

And in order to reach Jerusalem and the rest of Israel beyond, we have to pass through an enormous plaza built with multiple lanes for checking vehicles.  It is this plaza that one can't help but recognize as a border crossing.  All cars coming from Gush Etzion, and points south and east, must wait in long lines in order to pass through one of the half dozen lanes (there are rarely more than two lanes open) and be inspected by one of the security personnel stationed there.

Here's where we (finally) arrive at the dilemma mentioned in the title of this post.

Through a government initiative, many of the municipalities in the Jewish towns and villages ('settlements' to those on the left) have been issued stickers that residents with cars have been encouraged to place on their windshields.  The explanation given by the government is that these stickers will help security personnel more easily identify Israeli citizens so as to avoid causing them undue delay in crossing through the checkpoints.

However, given the history of abuse I described above, many residents of Judea and Samaria (the 'West Bank' to those on the left) are understandably worried that rather than helping us, the stickers will make it easier for the government to interfere with us if and when Israel begins evacuating part or all of the land outside the green line. 

A secondary concern for those of us who routinely travel around the country in our cars is the memory of the calls for violence against settlers made by those on the far left during the disengagement... with cars bearing orange ribbons having been frequently vandalized in Tel Aviv and it's suburbs.

I'll be honest... I'm torn. 

I want so very badly to believe that the government is being pragmatic - even helpful - and is simply trying to streamline a bad situation for both the security personnel and the Israeli citizens whose commutes take them through security checkpoints. 

But given all the promises made to the residents of Gush Katif (most of which have still not been kept!), I don't really feel like the government has done much to earn my trust.  And even if it isn't the government's current intention to use these stickers to identify 'trouble makers' to the police and Yasam units during some future disengagement, I fear that the temptation to use the stickers to profile settlers in the future is likely, if not assured.

So, the horns of the dilemma on which I find myself this week is whether or not to pick up one of those little stickers from my town's municipal offices... and whether to place it on my windshield.

Posted by David Bogner on December 12, 2007 | Permalink

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What's the problem?
Stick the sticker on an official A4 Efrat Municipality letterhead, lamitate it, and get the municipality to notify the army that this is the way Efrat is doing things. Fact is, there is no reason not to trust Efrat residents to use this movable sticker responsibly (like lending it to a visitor who forgot something in JM and wants to run back and get it).

Posted by: Gidon Ariel | Dec 12, 2007 10:20:55 AM

Gidon Ariel... First of all, the reason they created a sticker and not an ID card is to prevent its transportability/lendibility. Cars are broken into far more often than they are stolen. Add to this the fact that break-ins are reported to (and followed up on by) the police far less scrupulously than in the case of stolen vehicles. The worry is that if the sticker is not permanently affixed to the windshield, it will be too easy for the stickers to be stolen by Arabs and used to cruise through the checkpoints. At least if a vehicle with a sticker is stolen it can be described to the checkpoints. How do you warn the checkpoints about a stolen sticker? Also, even if all of Efrat were to agree to do as you suggest, there is no reason that the army has to accept this and could simply treat us like any other 'undocumented' commuter trying to enter the country.

Posted by: treppenwitz | Dec 12, 2007 10:41:18 AM

"....'probably cause' sort of went out the window."

You mean I don't have to develop PC anymore? Nobody told me....

You make it sound like we're on the verge of tyranny. For a little perspective, go take a look at the way things were in World War II.


Posted by: Karl Newman | Dec 12, 2007 10:54:41 AM

Karl Newman... Slow down there cowoby. There is a huge gap between an otherwise honorble government releiving the populace of some of its freedoms during a time of crisis... and calling that government tyrants. Yes, you cops still have to develop PC when checking someone's trunck for drugs. But if your goal were simply to pull someone over... get up close... and let your police instincts tell you whether someone deserved further scrutiny as a potential terrorist... I doubt there are very many judges who would throw out the case if you turned out to be right. This is all fine and good in a time of crisis, unless you are the hapless, swarthy commuter who is routinely pulled over by well-intented cops.

Posted by: treppenwitz | Dec 12, 2007 11:03:13 AM

You misread what I wrote. The first sentence was mild sarcasm and I'm trying to determine how your response fits in with the second. You lost me there.

I can and do approach people on a regular basis if they make my antennae twitch. It's called a 'Citizen Contact' and cooperation with that contact is purely voluntary on the part of the person unless I detect something that leads to an investigation. It's perfectly constitutional and many times people don't even know I'm doing it. And you're mistaken about the judges (and prosecutors). They will often nolle pros a case if a defense attorney screams about PC, just to be rid of it. You vastly underestimate the difficulty of getting a conviction and sentence on someone in the American courts. Overworked prosecutors and full court dockets see to that.

The 'driving while swarthy' thing is a crock. It may happen in rare instances, but it's certainly not the rule. We don't need to do that anyway. People who are up to something usually hand us PC on a platter. Most people in jail or prison put themselves there.

BTW, most of my 'customers' are white males. Go figure.

Posted by: Karl Newman | Dec 12, 2007 11:54:57 AM

Karl... You offered the correct connection between my first and second statement when you said "...cooperation with
that contact is purely voluntary on the part of the person unless I
detect something that leads to an investigation."
Your claim to the contrary not withstanding, many law abiding citizens do not see such contact with the police as voluntary simply because they feel that to refuse such cooperation would be perceived as suspicious. The old 'if you have nothing to hide you should have no problem answering a few questions...' trap is just that; a trap. This is exactly the sort of encroachment on personal freedoms the framers envisioned and worked very hard to protect against.

Posted by: treppenwitz | Dec 12, 2007 12:05:21 PM

Doesn't matter. It's ethical, constitutional and an established practice for good reason. I've had it done to me, both before and after I got into this line of work. That used to be called 'good police work' and still will be if that method catches someone who does something to you. If you aren't doing anything wrong, then there will be nothing for the police to find. This isn't China, Syria or North Korea.

Now....your issue is presumably with the IP, Border Police and the IDF. If your angst involves their methods (referring back to your original post here), then you may have a valid point. But to say that probable cause has "sort of gone out the window" in the US is not correct in any context. It certainly has not.

Posted by: Karl Newman | Dec 12, 2007 1:03:22 PM

Karl Newman... OK, purely for the sake of discussion, let's say that you see a John Q. Public walking along the street with nothing outwardly problematic about him... but your 'spidey sense' starts tingling. Something about him makes you want to make what you called a 'citizen contact'. You approach him and introduce yourself. He reacts by telling you politely, but firmly, to buzz off... and walks briskly away from you. What do you do? Is his departure/refusal to participate probable cause to detain him further and satisfy your tingling 'spidey sense'?

Now how about a vehicular scenario. You see JQP driving in a late model car at the posted speed with nothing outwardly wrong... but again your sense is that something isn't right. You put on your flashers and pull him over. When he asks you what law he broke, you:

a) ignore his question and ask for his license and registration in order to dig a little deeper before turning him loose. (in this scenario he is NOT free to go since you now have his papers).
b) answer that he was not breaking any laws but you simply wanted to speak with him and determine where he is going or where he has come from. If after finding you had no real cause to stop him he tells you to mind your own business and drives off... do you follow?
c) tell him he did something that is not easily verifiable or of which he may not even have been aware (lane change with no signal, swerving, etc.) and once you have determined that he is an upstanding citizen you send him on his way with a verbal warning.
d) a scenario I haven't covered here (feel free to share from you experiences).

Forgive the detailed questions but a lot of JQPs are curious about what goes on behind the mirrored shades. :-)

Posted by: treppenwitz | Dec 12, 2007 1:26:20 PM

1) He walks. I have no reason to detain him and can't legally do so.

2) Under your scenario, the stop never happens. That vehicle and it's occupant would really have to rivet my attention before I would stop it without PC and if he's doing that, he's probably given me PC to do a stop. And I'm sure not going to make something up. And if I did stop the guy and he complained on me, I had better be able to articulate to my command why I stopped him. If he did tell me to buzz off and I had no reason to hold him, then refer to 1).

I want you to think about some situations where you've had casual contact with police. Maybe one chatted you up during a high school football game. Maybe you were hanging out with some friends in a parking lot at night, all perfectly legal, about to get in your car to leave when one drove up and asked what everyone was doing there. Maybe one got into a debate with you on your blo....er, never mind. :)

What did those cops do? They made a citizen contact. That's all there is to it.

I suggest that the next time you're back in the States, that you call your local fuzz and ask if they have a ride-along program. If so, then I highly recommend that you take advantage of that. I did that with the Sheriff's Office in my home county prior to applying for the academy. You might discover that things look different from the front passenger seat of a Crown Vic and that the being behind the mirrored shades is human.

Posted by: Karl Newman | Dec 12, 2007 2:37:39 PM

Are there any concerns about the stickers making residents more desirable targets for terror attacks (in addition to the yellow license plates) ?

Oy vey. What a mess.

Posted by: tnspr569 | Dec 12, 2007 4:48:30 PM

Trep, you're not kidding! To have to worry about being abused by the government AND the terrorists for the same thing is amazing. I thought the lamination of the sticker was an excellent idea until you explained that it wouldn't be acceptable. I'm sorry, but all that came to mind were those yellow Star of Davids...

Posted by: Maya | Dec 12, 2007 5:12:00 PM

First of all the police do not need probable cause to make a "Terry stop", the standard is less demanding, closer to an articulable suspicion. I agree with Karl that most defendants who are arrested supply probable cause. I have worked both sides of the criminal law street as a lawyer and generally agree with Karl. He is correct that officers will generally not arrest without probable cause. However, there is a minority of police offiers that lie or cut corners, which is troubling and makes for interesting cross examination.

Also,there are people who are stopped for "driving while black", so I would not dismiss your fears. The police have more power in their little finger than you will ever possess.

A difference between the U.S. and elsewhere is that the lowliest court in America is a constitutional court. That means that search and seizure issues are raised early and cases are nolle prossed (dismissed without trial) where there is a problem. Where I disagree with Karl is that defense is easy. Generally, it hard for both prosecutor and defense counsel to get anything done. The hope is that at the end of the process the result approximates something like justice.

Posted by: Lee | Dec 12, 2007 5:22:21 PM

Sorry, no stickers, no ribbons, no bumper stickers, no nothing of any sort on my car (with the exception of "USS ENTERPRISE - NCC-1701-D" and "MADD"). When our municipality handed out windshield stickers to local residents to allow us to park at a reduced price at our most popular attraction, I left it in the envelope at home. I wasn't interested in making a public announcement that a car from here is parked somewhere else in the country.

I'm sure with a little ingenuity, someone can come up with a means to identify cars without a need for a visible sticker.

Posted by: Jennifer | Dec 12, 2007 5:30:53 PM

This is simple. Laminate the sticker and put it on your dashboard near your windshield when you go through the checkpoints. Hide it once you get past the checkpoint.

Oh, and President Bush's "freight train" has had no perceptible effect on my life, but thanks for your concern. Love your blog.

Posted by: Mark Patterson | Dec 12, 2007 5:33:46 PM

I am not going to put a "yellow star" on my car just for the chance that my car may not be searched, so far, I haven't been searched once, and honestly, nothing is going to help the traffic situation all that much considering that after the border crossing, we still all have to merge back into one lane before the tunnel.

Posted by: Max Power | Dec 12, 2007 6:04:36 PM

If you aren't doing anything wrong, then there will be nothing for the police to find.

Sorry Karl, I hate statements like that. I have a bunch of friends who are cops and I have heard plenty of stories about how hard it is. I agree that it is very hard, especially in a post Rodney King era. When it feels like your every move is watched it must be challenging.

Nonetheless, speaking with the police can be very uncomfortable for many people. And discomfort can make people act strangely even though they haven't done anything wrong.

Posted by: Jack | Dec 12, 2007 6:27:54 PM

". . . the being behind the mirrored shades is human."
Unfortunately, Karl, that's the problem.
I'm going to give you the benefit of what little doubt remains in my mind and say that you are a good cop; that is, one who does not abuse his authority. Not all cops are like you.
David has thrown hypotheticals at you and you responded with hypotheticals.
Let me give you my reality.
Case 1:
I was a Texas lawyer working with a team of four other lawyers to put together a petition to be filed Monday, the last day before the statute of limitations barred our plaintiff from bringing suit. I had worked Friday and Saturday with a few hours sleep on the office floor. I was driving home Saturday night to sleep in my own bed before I returned to spend Sunday and Monday hammering out the last pages of the petition.
I lived an hour from the office and a mile outside the city limits. At 1.30 a.m. I crested the last rise before my home -- I could see my home half a mile away -- and BINGO! the car behind me lights up the Christmas tree lights.
First thing I did was take my foot off the gas. I was coasting. I wondered what the hell I did to get a cop to flash me. I knew I was not speeding. Knowing what I knew as a lawyer, I decided to coast into my driveway. That way -- if the cop was on a power trip and hauled me in -- I would save the expense of paying for a tow and the impound fee. This annoyed Johnny Law who flashed me with his searchlight.
I stopped in my driveway, turned off my engine, and stepped out of my car. I noted that the officer was a city cop (I lived outside a small town) and that he had not flashed any lights until we were beyond the city limits. Politely I asked the reason for the stop.
'You crossed the painted line back there,' he said.
'The center line?'
'No. The white line on the side.'
'I deny it.' FYI, the road beyond the city limits had no shoulder. Had I crossed the 'white line on the side' I would have had wheels in the grass.
Cop said, 'Look, you give me attitude, I'll run you in right now.' Power tripping.
Did I mention that I stood at least 6 inches taller than this cop? Makes a difference in what follows. Shorty was hiding behind his badge and fucking with me 'cause he thought he could.
At the time there were two cop-stop laws: 1) Failure to Signal Lane Change and 2) Failure to Maintain Single Lane (what Shorty alleged I had done). The sole purpose of these laws was to give cops 'PROBABLE CAUSE' to stop a driver to check him for Driving Under the Influence. I call them cop-stop laws because that was -- and is -- their only purpose: to give the cops PC.
Shorty asked me to take a field sobriety test. The penalty for failure to comply with such a request is automatic suspension of your driver's license. So I complied. Passed the fucking test. Shorty asked if he could search my car. I should have said, 'Fuck you. Get a warrant.' But I knew he would. Problem with that was that no judge would be available to sign such a warrant until Monday morning and the cop would 'detain' me and my vehicle until he got the warrant and ran the fucking search.
Oh, by the way, did I mention that my brother-in-law was the local judge???
So I consented to the search. Shorty went through my car. I had a tin of Altoids in the change compartment of my Audi, and Shorty unwrapped every damned one of them.
During this sterling police performance, an officer of the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) showed up. He and I had a polite and respectful discussion.
Finally, Shorty wrote me a ticket for Failure to Maintain Single Lane and we parted company. It was 4 a.m. Shorty wasted 2 and ½ hours of my life.
I got notice of the court date and I went and requested a jury and subpoenaed the DPS officer. Prosecutor dismissed the case. But did not tell me beforehand. I had to lose a day and go to court prepared to chew a cop's ass to shreds before I found out.
#
Case 2:
Another lawyer referred me a case of two misdemeanors: running a stop sign and failure to display a driver's license. Guy needed a lawyer to bail him out, so I did. In Texas, you bail the suspect, you represent the suspect. I bailed him without meeting him. Sent him a representation letter with a court date and a warning: This letter is a contract and gives me the right to represent you; if you do not show up for court, I will plead you guilty. (That way the court releases the bond back to me.)
Guy showed up for court. I asked him his story.
He said, 'It wasn't me.'
Well, one charge was failure to display a driver's license, so this was plausible. I said, 'Can you prove it?'
Guy said, 'Yeah.'
'How?'
'I was not in the country the date the ticket was written. I was on a Caribbean cruise with my girlfriend.' Guy kept records. He had receipts, ship boarding passes, dated photos taken in Jamaica the date of the ticket.
All at home.
I thought, 'This should be dismissed.' I told the client to have a seat and wait until his case is called. When that happened, we went out of the court room to talk with the city prosecutor.
Prosecutor offered his standard deal. He had done this three dozen times before this morning. He did not even look up from his paperwork as he spoke.
I said, 'This one's special.' That got his attention. He looked at me. I asked my client to tell his story. When he finished, I said to the prosecutor, 'Dismissal or trial. Your choice.'
Damned if he didn't call over the cop to look over my client. Cop looked hard at my client and I could see that there was no recognition in his eyes. He asked my client for his driver's license and compared the signature to the signature on the ticket. Cop said, 'The signatures are the same.'
I looked at the signatures. I said, 'No, they're not.'
Cop said to prosecutor, 'It was him.'
Oh, did I mention that my client was Mexican-American and that the cop looked like the poster boy for the local chapter of John Birch?
Prosecutor told my client that he would set the matter for trial and that he was free to leave. I told my client to take direction from me, not the prosecutor, and told him to go straight home, gather his evidence, and return to me at the courthouse. (I had other cases to attend to.)
My client went home, got his evidence, and returned. Sure enough, he had been in Jamaica the day the ticket was written.
I provided copies of exculpatory documents to the prosecutor THAT DAY and asked him to dismiss. Prosecutor said he would show my evidence to his witness -- the cop -- and see if his witness would change his mind. (Yes, this is gross nonfeasance by the prosecutor.)
Four months later, I inquired at the prosecutor's office about the case. New prosecutor assigned. Who knew nothing about the exculpatory evidence. And could not find it.
Two months later, we went to trial. New prosecutor. Newer than last time. Had not seen the exculpatory evidence. Some consternation. Called in the original prosecutor. Who could not find the exculpatory evidence. More consternation. Asked me if I would show him my evidence.
'Sure,' I said. 'You'll see it along with the jury when my witnesses present it from the stand.'
Case dismissed.
Now on this day I really, really wanted this case to go to trial. I had a prejudiced cop that I was going to skewer. I had already made an oral request to the court to have the bailiff standing ready to take the cop into custody for perjury. Twice I had tried to avoid trial, and I was hot and gunning for blood.
Here's my point.
To cops and prosecutors, it was just another day at the office. But to my client, it was a day AWAY from the office. It was lost work, lost income, wasted time. Somebody needed to pay. I thought blood was the appropriate payment.
Understand me: I have known good cops. My godfather was a cop, and I loved that man. I still celebrate his memory every day. But cops are human and like all humans they are corrupted by power.
A good citizen does not automatically comply with a cop's request because 'he has nothing to hide.' Scooter Libby did that. He is serving time in a federal penitentiary.
My own experience with my godfather's cop buddies is that cops divide the world into cops and bad guys. You gotta be one or the other. I know I ain't a cop. Hmmm.
FYI 180 years ago there were no cops. Look it up. That means that the Framers could not have thought about the abuses of power the police are prone to. And I believe they would have been horrified.

Posted by: antares | Dec 12, 2007 6:29:05 PM

". . . the being behind the mirrored shades is human."
Unfortunately, Karl, that's the problem.
I'm going to give you the benefit of what little doubt remains in my mind and say that you are a good cop; that is, one who does not abuse his authority. Not all cops are like you.
David has thrown hypotheticals at you and you responded with hypotheticals.
Let me give you my reality.
Case 1:
I was a Texas lawyer working with a team of four other lawyers to put together a petition to be filed Monday, the last day before the statute of limitations barred our plaintiff from bringing suit. I had worked Friday and Saturday with a few hours sleep on the office floor. I was driving home Saturday night to sleep in my own bed before I returned to spend Sunday and Monday hammering out the last pages of the petition.
I lived an hour from the office and a mile outside the city limits. At 1.30 a.m. I crested the last rise before my home -- I could see my home half a mile away -- and BINGO! the car behind me lights up the Christmas tree lights.
First thing I did was take my foot off the gas. I was coasting. I wondered what the hell I did to get a cop to flash me. I knew I was not speeding. Knowing what I knew as a lawyer, I decided to coast into my driveway. That way -- if the cop was on a power trip and hauled me in -- I would save the expense of paying for a tow and the impound fee. This annoyed Johnny Law who flashed me with his searchlight.
I stopped in my driveway, turned off my engine, and stepped out of my car. I noted that the officer was a city cop (I lived outside a small town) and that he had not flashed any lights until we were beyond the city limits. Politely I asked the reason for the stop.
'You crossed the painted line back there,' he said.
'The center line?'
'No. The white line on the side.'
'I deny it.' FYI, the road beyond the city limits had no shoulder. Had I crossed the 'white line on the side' I would have had wheels in the grass.
Cop said, 'Look, you give me attitude, I'll run you in right now.' Power tripping.
Did I mention that I stood at least 6 inches taller than this cop? Makes a difference in what follows. Shorty was hiding behind his badge and fucking with me 'cause he thought he could.
At the time there were two cop-stop laws: 1) Failure to Signal Lane Change and 2) Failure to Maintain Single Lane (what Shorty alleged I had done). The sole purpose of these laws was to give cops 'PROBABLE CAUSE' to stop a driver to check him for Driving Under the Influence. I call them cop-stop laws because that was -- and is -- their only purpose: to give the cops PC.
Shorty asked me to take a field sobriety test. The penalty for failure to comply with such a request is automatic suspension of your driver's license. So I complied. Passed the fucking test. Shorty asked if he could search my car. I should have said, 'Fuck you. Get a warrant.' But I knew he would. Problem with that was that no judge would be available to sign such a warrant until Monday morning and the cop would 'detain' me and my vehicle until he got the warrant and ran the fucking search.
Oh, by the way, did I mention that my brother-in-law was the local judge???
So I consented to the search. Shorty went through my car. I had a tin of Altoids in the change compartment of my Audi, and Shorty unwrapped every damned one of them.
During this sterling police performance, an officer of the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) showed up. He and I had a polite and respectful discussion.
Finally, Shorty wrote me a ticket for Failure to Maintain Single Lane and we parted company. It was 4 a.m. Shorty wasted 2 and ½ hours of my life.
I got notice of the court date and I went and requested a jury and subpoenaed the DPS officer. Prosecutor dismissed the case. But did not tell me beforehand. I had to lose a day and go to court prepared to chew a cop's ass to shreds before I found out.
#
Case 2:
Another lawyer referred me a case of two misdemeanors: running a stop sign and failure to display a driver's license. Guy needed a lawyer to bail him out, so I did. In Texas, you bail the suspect, you represent the suspect. I bailed him without meeting him. Sent him a representation letter with a court date and a warning: This letter is a contract and gives me the right to represent you; if you do not show up for court, I will plead you guilty. (That way the court releases the bond back to me.)
Guy showed up for court. I asked him his story.
He said, 'It wasn't me.'
Well, one charge was failure to display a driver's license, so this was plausible. I said, 'Can you prove it?'
Guy said, 'Yeah.'
'How?'
'I was not in the country the date the ticket was written. I was on a Caribbean cruise with my girlfriend.' Guy kept records. He had receipts, ship boarding passes, dated photos taken in Jamaica the date of the ticket.
All at home.
I thought, 'This should be dismissed.' I told the client to have a seat and wait until his case is called. When that happened, we went out of the court room to talk with the city prosecutor.
Prosecutor offered his standard deal. He had done this three dozen times before this morning. He did not even look up from his paperwork as he spoke.
I said, 'This one's special.' That got his attention. He looked at me. I asked my client to tell his story. When he finished, I said to the prosecutor, 'Dismissal or trial. Your choice.'
Damned if he didn't call over the cop to look over my client. Cop looked hard at my client and I could see that there was no recognition in his eyes. He asked my client for his driver's license and compared the signature to the signature on the ticket. Cop said, 'The signatures are the same.'
I looked at the signatures. I said, 'No, they're not.'
Cop said to prosecutor, 'It was him.'
Oh, did I mention that my client was Mexican-American and that the cop looked like the poster boy for the local chapter of John Birch?
Prosecutor told my client that he would set the matter for trial and that he was free to leave. I told my client to take direction from me, not the prosecutor, and told him to go straight home, gather his evidence, and return to me at the courthouse. (I had other cases to attend to.)
My client went home, got his evidence, and returned. Sure enough, he had been in Jamaica the day the ticket was written.
I provided copies of exculpatory documents to the prosecutor THAT DAY and asked him to dismiss. Prosecutor said he would show my evidence to his witness -- the cop -- and see if his witness would change his mind. (Yes, this is gross nonfeasance by the prosecutor.)
Four months later, I inquired at the prosecutor's office about the case. New prosecutor assigned. Who knew nothing about the exculpatory evidence. And could not find it.
Two months later, we went to trial. New prosecutor. Newer than last time. Had not seen the exculpatory evidence. Some consternation. Called in the original prosecutor. Who could not find the exculpatory evidence. More consternation. Asked me if I would show him my evidence.
'Sure,' I said. 'You'll see it along with the jury when my witnesses present it from the stand.'
Case dismissed.
Now on this day I really, really wanted this case to go to trial. I had a prejudiced cop that I was going to skewer. I had already made an oral request to the court to have the bailiff standing ready to take the cop into custody for perjury. Twice I had tried to avoid trial, and I was hot and gunning for blood.
Here's my point.
To cops and prosecutors, it was just another day at the office. But to my client, it was a day AWAY from the office. It was lost work, lost income, wasted time. Somebody needed to pay. I thought blood was the appropriate payment.
Understand me: I have known good cops. My godfather was a cop, and I loved that man. I still celebrate his memory every day. But cops are human and like all humans they are corrupted by power.
A good citizen does not automatically comply with a cop's request because 'he has nothing to hide.' Scooter Libby did that. He is serving time in a federal penitentiary.
My own experience with my godfather's cop buddies is that cops divide the world into cops and bad guys. You gotta be one or the other. I know I ain't a cop. Hmmm.
FYI 180 years ago there were no cops. Look it up. That means that the Framers could not have thought about the abuses of power the police are prone to. And I believe they would have been horrified.

Posted by: antares | Dec 12, 2007 6:30:08 PM

". . . the being behind the mirrored shades is human."
Unfortunately, Karl, that's the problem.
I'm going to give you the benefit of what little doubt remains in my mind and say that you are a good cop; that is, one who does not abuse his authority. Not all cops are like you.
David has thrown hypotheticals at you and you responded with hypotheticals.
Let me give you my reality.
Case 1:
I was a Texas lawyer working with a team of four other lawyers to put together a petition to be filed Monday, the last day before the statute of limitations barred our plaintiff from bringing suit. I had worked Friday and Saturday with a few hours sleep on the office floor. I was driving home Saturday night to sleep in my own bed before I returned to spend Sunday and Monday hammering out the last pages of the petition.
I lived an hour from the office and a mile outside the city limits. At 1.30 a.m. I crested the last rise before my home -- I could see my home half a mile away -- and BINGO! the car behind me lights up the Christmas tree lights.
First thing I did was take my foot off the gas. I was coasting. I wondered what the hell I did to get a cop to flash me. I knew I was not speeding. Knowing what I knew as a lawyer, I decided to coast into my driveway. That way -- if the cop was on a power trip and hauled me in -- I would save the expense of paying for a tow and the impound fee. This annoyed Johnny Law who flashed me with his searchlight.
I stopped in my driveway, turned off my engine, and stepped out of my car. I noted that the officer was a city cop (I lived outside a small town) and that he had not flashed any lights until we were beyond the city limits. Politely I asked the reason for the stop.
'You crossed the painted line back there,' he said.
'The center line?'
'No. The white line on the side.'
'I deny it.' FYI, the road beyond the city limits had no shoulder. Had I crossed the 'white line on the side' I would have had wheels in the grass.
Cop said, 'Look, you give me attitude, I'll run you in right now.' Power tripping.
Did I mention that I stood at least 6 inches taller than this cop? Makes a difference in what follows. Shorty was hiding behind his badge and fucking with me 'cause he thought he could.
At the time there were two cop-stop laws: 1) Failure to Signal Lane Change and 2) Failure to Maintain Single Lane (what Shorty alleged I had done). The sole purpose of these laws was to give cops 'PROBABLE CAUSE' to stop a driver to check him for Driving Under the Influence. I call them cop-stop laws because that was -- and is -- their only purpose: to give the cops PC.
Shorty asked me to take a field sobriety test. The penalty for failure to comply with such a request is automatic suspension of your driver's license. So I complied. Passed the fucking test. Shorty asked if he could search my car. I should have said, 'Fuck you. Get a warrant.' But I knew he would. Problem with that was that no judge would be available to sign such a warrant until Monday morning and the cop would 'detain' me and my vehicle until he got the warrant and ran the fucking search.
Oh, by the way, did I mention that my brother-in-law was the local judge???
So I consented to the search. Shorty went through my car. I had a tin of Altoids in the change compartment of my Audi, and Shorty unwrapped every damned one of them.
During this sterling police performance, an officer of the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) showed up. He and I had a polite and respectful discussion.
Finally, Shorty wrote me a ticket for Failure to Maintain Single Lane and we parted company. It was 4 a.m. Shorty wasted 2 and ½ hours of my life.
I got notice of the court date and I went and requested a jury and subpoenaed the DPS officer. Prosecutor dismissed the case. But did not tell me beforehand. I had to lose a day and go to court prepared to chew a cop's ass to shreds before I found out.
#
Case 2:
Another lawyer referred me a case of two misdemeanors: running a stop sign and failure to display a driver's license. Guy needed a lawyer to bail him out, so I did. In Texas, you bail the suspect, you represent the suspect. I bailed him without meeting him. Sent him a representation letter with a court date and a warning: This letter is a contract and gives me the right to represent you; if you do not show up for court, I will plead you guilty. (That way the court releases the bond back to me.)
Guy showed up for court. I asked him his story.
He said, 'It wasn't me.'
Well, one charge was failure to display a driver's license, so this was plausible. I said, 'Can you prove it?'
Guy said, 'Yeah.'
'How?'
'I was not in the country the date the ticket was written. I was on a Caribbean cruise with my girlfriend.' Guy kept records. He had receipts, ship boarding passes, dated photos taken in Jamaica the date of the ticket.
All at home.
I thought, 'This should be dismissed.' I told the client to have a seat and wait until his case is called. When that happened, we went out of the court room to talk with the city prosecutor.
Prosecutor offered his standard deal. He had done this three dozen times before this morning. He did not even look up from his paperwork as he spoke.
I said, 'This one's special.' That got his attention. He looked at me. I asked my client to tell his story. When he finished, I said to the prosecutor, 'Dismissal or trial. Your choice.'
Damned if he didn't call over the cop to look over my client. Cop looked hard at my client and I could see that there was no recognition in his eyes. He asked my client for his driver's license and compared the signature to the signature on the ticket. Cop said, 'The signatures are the same.'
I looked at the signatures. I said, 'No, they're not.'
Cop said to prosecutor, 'It was him.'
Oh, did I mention that my client was Mexican-American and that the cop looked like the poster boy for the local chapter of John Birch?
Prosecutor told my client that he would set the matter for trial and that he was free to leave. I told my client to take direction from me, not the prosecutor, and told him to go straight home, gather his evidence, and return to me at the courthouse. (I had other cases to attend to.)
My client went home, got his evidence, and returned. Sure enough, he had been in Jamaica the day the ticket was written.
I provided copies of exculpatory documents to the prosecutor THAT DAY and asked him to dismiss. Prosecutor said he would show my evidence to his witness -- the cop -- and see if his witness would change his mind. (Yes, this is gross nonfeasance by the prosecutor.)
Four months later, I inquired at the prosecutor's office about the case. New prosecutor assigned. Who knew nothing about the exculpatory evidence. And could not find it.
Two months later, we went to trial. New prosecutor. Newer than last time. Had not seen the exculpatory evidence. Some consternation. Called in the original prosecutor. Who could not find the exculpatory evidence. More consternation. Asked me if I would show him my evidence.
'Sure,' I said. 'You'll see it along with the jury when my witnesses present it from the stand.'
Case dismissed.
Now on this day I really, really wanted this case to go to trial. I had a prejudiced cop that I was going to skewer. I had already made an oral request to the court to have the bailiff standing ready to take the cop into custody for perjury. Twice I had tried to avoid trial, and I was hot and gunning for blood.
Here's my point.
To cops and prosecutors, it was just another day at the office. But to my client, it was a day AWAY from the office. It was lost work, lost income, wasted time. Somebody needed to pay. I thought blood was the appropriate payment.
Understand me: I have known good cops. My godfather was a cop, and I loved that man. I still celebrate his memory every day. But cops are human and like all humans they are corrupted by power.
A good citizen does not automatically comply with a cop's request because 'he has nothing to hide.' Scooter Libby did that. He is serving time in a federal penitentiary.
My own experience with my godfather's cop buddies is that cops divide the world into cops and bad guys. You gotta be one or the other. I know I ain't a cop. Hmmm.
FYI 180 years ago there were no cops. Look it up. That means that the Framers could not have thought about the abuses of power the police are prone to. And I believe they would have been horrified.

Posted by: antares | Dec 12, 2007 6:30:49 PM

Sorry, as someone from "the other side" (ie: living in the merkaz) I think you're being a bit paranoid. I think tensions were running very high during disengagement, many ugly things happened, I think for legitimate security reasons (you conveniently left out the nails and oil spewed on the roads, burning tires, etc. courtesy of settler demonstrations) but I don't think the tensions are anywhere near they were before. Honestly, unless you're trying to retake Chomesh, I don't think the police really care all that much about you.

I have friends who live in Alon Shvut, Elazar, and Efrat and none of them have complained of "the fuzz on their backs" or any kind of racial profiling ever. I don't recall seeing any police hanging out at the tzomet in Gilo, taking down license plate numbers of cars coming int. If they're so concerned about you, why wouldn't they do that?

Basically, I think you should give the conspiracy theories a rest.

Posted by: Abbi | Dec 12, 2007 8:32:54 PM

Don't get a sticker! The idea does not make much sense from a practical viewpoint. If there is a real danger of a terrorist coming through, then EVERYONE should be checked. If there is no real danger, then NOONE should be checked. How will a sticker make a real difference, security wise? It will only be used to to our detriment. I can just see a time in the future when the they will limit the people allowed into Yesha to those with stickers on their cars. Then what? Your parents/friends/delivery men will not be able to drive freely to your yishuv.

Trust your gut on this one David. You would not hesitate if it were really "just a sticker".

Posted by: westbankmama | Dec 12, 2007 9:19:13 PM

". . . the being behind the mirrored shades is human."
Unfortunately, Karl, that's the problem.
I'm going to give you the benefit of what little doubt remains in my mind and say that you are a good cop; that is, one who does not abuse his authority. Not all cops are like you.
David has thrown hypotheticals at you and you responded with hypotheticals.
Let me give you my reality.
Case 1:
I was a Texas lawyer working with a team of four other lawyers to put together a petition to be filed Monday, the last day before the statute of limitations barred our plaintiff from bringing suit. I had worked Friday and Saturday with a few hours sleep on the office floor. I was driving home Saturday night to sleep in my own bed before I returned to spend Sunday and Monday hammering out the last pages of the petition.
I lived an hour from the office and a mile outside the city limits. At 1.30 a.m. I crested the last rise before my home -- I could see my home half a mile away -- and BINGO! the car behind me lights up the Christmas tree lights.
First thing I did was take my foot off the gas. I was coasting. I wondered what the hell I did to get a cop to flash me. I knew I was not speeding. Knowing what I knew as a lawyer, I decided to coast into my driveway. That way -- if the cop was on a power trip and hauled me in -- I would save the expense of paying for a tow and the impound fee. This annoyed Johnny Law who flashed me with his searchlight.
I stopped in my driveway, turned off my engine, and stepped out of my car. I noted that the officer was a city cop (I lived outside a small town) and that he had not flashed any lights until we were beyond the city limits. Politely I asked the reason for the stop.
'You crossed the painted line back there,' he said.
'The center line?'
'No. The white line on the side.'
'I deny it.' FYI, the road beyond the city limits had no shoulder. Had I crossed the 'white line on the side' I would have had wheels in the grass.
Cop said, 'Look, you give me attitude, I'll run you in right now.' Power tripping.
Did I mention that I stood at least 6 inches taller than this cop? Makes a difference in what follows. Shorty was hiding behind his badge and fucking with me 'cause he thought he could.
At the time there were two cop-stop laws: 1) Failure to Signal Lane Change and 2) Failure to Maintain Single Lane (what Shorty alleged I had done). The sole purpose of these laws was to give cops 'PROBABLE CAUSE' to stop a driver to check him for Driving Under the Influence. I call them cop-stop laws because that was -- and is -- their only purpose: to give the cops PC.
Shorty asked me to take a field sobriety test. The penalty for failure to comply with such a request is automatic suspension of your driver's license. So I complied. Passed the fucking test. Shorty asked if he could search my car. I should have said, 'Fuck you. Get a warrant.' But I knew he would. Problem with that was that no judge would be available to sign such a warrant until Monday morning and the cop would 'detain' me and my vehicle until he got the warrant and ran the fucking search.
Oh, by the way, did I mention that my brother-in-law was the local judge???
So I consented to the search. Shorty went through my car. I had a tin of Altoids in the change compartment of my Audi, and Shorty unwrapped every damned one of them.
During this sterling police performance, an officer of the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) showed up. He and I had a polite and respectful discussion.
Finally, Shorty wrote me a ticket for Failure to Maintain Single Lane and we parted company. It was 4 a.m. Shorty wasted 2 and ½ hours of my life.
I got notice of the court date and I went and requested a jury and subpoenaed the DPS officer. Prosecutor dismissed the case. But did not tell me beforehand. I had to lose a day and go to court prepared to chew a cop's ass to shreds before I found out.
#
Case 2:
Another lawyer referred me a case of two misdemeanors: running a stop sign and failure to display a driver's license. Guy needed a lawyer to bail him out, so I did. In Texas, you bail the suspect, you represent the suspect. I bailed him without meeting him. Sent him a representation letter with a court date and a warning: This letter is a contract and gives me the right to represent you; if you do not show up for court, I will plead you guilty. (That way the court releases the bond back to me.)
Guy showed up for court. I asked him his story.
He said, 'It wasn't me.'
Well, one charge was failure to display a driver's license, so this was plausible. I said, 'Can you prove it?'
Guy said, 'Yeah.'
'How?'
'I was not in the country the date the ticket was written. I was on a Caribbean cruise with my girlfriend.' Guy kept records. He had receipts, ship boarding passes, dated photos taken in Jamaica the date of the ticket.
All at home.
I thought, 'This should be dismissed.' I told the client to have a seat and wait until his case is called. When that happened, we went out of the court room to talk with the city prosecutor.
Prosecutor offered his standard deal. He had done this three dozen times before this morning. He did not even look up from his paperwork as he spoke.
I said, 'This one's special.' That got his attention. He looked at me. I asked my client to tell his story. When he finished, I said to the prosecutor, 'Dismissal or trial. Your choice.'
Damned if he didn't call over the cop to look over my client. Cop looked hard at my client and I could see that there was no recognition in his eyes. He asked my client for his driver's license and compared the signature to the signature on the ticket. Cop said, 'The signatures are the same.'
I looked at the signatures. I said, 'No, they're not.'
Cop said to prosecutor, 'It was him.'
Oh, did I mention that my client was Mexican-American and that the cop looked like the poster boy for the local chapter of John Birch?
Prosecutor told my client that he would set the matter for trial and that he was free to leave. I told my client to take direction from me, not the prosecutor, and told him to go straight home, gather his evidence, and return to me at the courthouse. (I had other cases to attend to.)
My client went home, got his evidence, and returned. Sure enough, he had been in Jamaica the day the ticket was written.
I provided copies of exculpatory documents to the prosecutor THAT DAY and asked him to dismiss. Prosecutor said he would show my evidence to his witness -- the cop -- and see if his witness would change his mind. (Yes, this is gross nonfeasance by the prosecutor.)
Four months later, I inquired at the prosecutor's office about the case. New prosecutor assigned. Who knew nothing about the exculpatory evidence. And could not find it.
Two months later, we went to trial. New prosecutor. Newer than last time. Had not seen the exculpatory evidence. Some consternation. Called in the original prosecutor. Who could not find the exculpatory evidence. More consternation. Asked me if I would show him my evidence.
'Sure,' I said. 'You'll see it along with the jury when my witnesses present it from the stand.'
Case dismissed.
Now on this day I really, really wanted this case to go to trial. I had a prejudiced cop that I was going to skewer. I had already made an oral request to the court to have the bailiff standing ready to take the cop into custody for perjury. Twice I had tried to avoid trial, and I was hot and gunning for blood.
Here's my point.
To cops and prosecutors, it was just another day at the office. But to my client, it was a day AWAY from the office. It was lost work, lost income, wasted time. Somebody needed to pay. I thought blood was the appropriate payment.
Understand me: I have known good cops. My godfather was a cop, and I loved that man. I still celebrate his memory every day. But cops are human and like all humans they are corrupted by power.
A good citizen does not automatically comply with a cop's request because 'he has nothing to hide.' Scooter Libby did that. He is serving time in a federal penitentiary.
My own experience with my godfather's cop buddies is that cops divide the world into cops and bad guys. You gotta be one or the other. I know I ain't a cop. Hmmm.
FYI 180 years ago there were no cops. Look it up. That means that the Framers could not have thought about the abuses of power the police are prone to. And I believe they would have been horrified.

Posted by: HLK | Dec 12, 2007 9:19:28 PM

". . . the being behind the mirrored shades is human."
Unfortunately, Karl, that's the problem.
I'm going to give you the benefit of what little doubt remains in my mind and say that you are a good cop; that is, one who does not abuse his authority. Not all cops are like you.
David has thrown hypotheticals at you and you responded with hypotheticals.
Let me give you my reality.
Case 1:
I was a Texas lawyer working with a team of four other lawyers to put together a petition to be filed Monday, the last day before the statute of limitations barred our plaintiff from bringing suit. I had worked Friday and Saturday with a few hours sleep on the office floor. I was driving home Saturday night to sleep in my own bed before I returned to spend Sunday and Monday hammering out the last pages of the petition.
I lived an hour from the office and a mile outside the city limits. At 1.30 a.m. I crested the last rise before my home -- I could see my home half a mile away -- and BINGO! the car behind me lights up the Christmas tree lights.
First thing I did was take my foot off the gas. I was coasting. I wondered what the hell I did to get a cop to flash me. I knew I was not speeding. Knowing what I knew as a lawyer, I decided to coast into my driveway. That way -- if the cop was on a power trip and hauled me in -- I would save the expense of paying for a tow and the impound fee. This annoyed Johnny Law who flashed me with his searchlight.
I stopped in my driveway, turned off my engine, and stepped out of my car. I noted that the officer was a city cop (I lived outside a small town) and that he had not flashed any lights until we were beyond the city limits. Politely I asked the reason for the stop.
'You crossed the painted line back there,' he said.
'The center line?'
'No. The white line on the side.'
'I deny it.' FYI, the road beyond the city limits had no shoulder. Had I crossed the 'white line on the side' I would have had wheels in the grass.
Cop said, 'Look, you give me attitude, I'll run you in right now.' Power tripping.
Did I mention that I stood at least 6 inches taller than this cop? Makes a difference in what follows. Shorty was hiding behind his badge and fucking with me 'cause he thought he could.
At the time there were two cop-stop laws: 1) Failure to Signal Lane Change and 2) Failure to Maintain Single Lane (what Shorty alleged I had done). The sole purpose of these laws was to give cops 'PROBABLE CAUSE' to stop a driver to check him for Driving Under the Influence. I call them cop-stop laws because that was -- and is -- their only purpose: to give the cops PC.
Shorty asked me to take a field sobriety test. The penalty for failure to comply with such a request is automatic suspension of your driver's license. So I complied. Passed the fucking test. Shorty asked if he could search my car. I should have said, 'Fuck you. Get a warrant.' But I knew he would. Problem with that was that no judge would be available to sign such a warrant until Monday morning and the cop would 'detain' me and my vehicle until he got the warrant and ran the fucking search.
Oh, by the way, did I mention that my brother-in-law was the local judge???
So I consented to the search. Shorty went through my car. I had a tin of Altoids in the change compartment of my Audi, and Shorty unwrapped every damned one of them.
During this sterling police performance, an officer of the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) showed up. He and I had a polite and respectful discussion.
Finally, Shorty wrote me a ticket for Failure to Maintain Single Lane and we parted company. It was 4 a.m. Shorty wasted 2 and ½ hours of my life.
I got notice of the court date and I went and requested a jury and subpoenaed the DPS officer. Prosecutor dismissed the case. But did not tell me beforehand. I had to lose a day and go to court prepared to chew a cop's ass to shreds before I found out.
#
Case 2:
Another lawyer referred me a case of two misdemeanors: running a stop sign and failure to display a driver's license. Guy needed a lawyer to bail him out, so I did. In Texas, you bail the suspect, you represent the suspect. I bailed him without meeting him. Sent him a representation letter with a court date and a warning: This letter is a contract and gives me the right to represent you; if you do not show up for court, I will plead you guilty. (That way the court releases the bond back to me.)
Guy showed up for court. I asked him his story.
He said, 'It wasn't me.'
Well, one charge was failure to display a driver's license, so this was plausible. I said, 'Can you prove it?'
Guy said, 'Yeah.'
'How?'
'I was not in the country the date the ticket was written. I was on a Caribbean cruise with my girlfriend.' Guy kept records. He had receipts, ship boarding passes, dated photos taken in Jamaica the date of the ticket.
All at home.
I thought, 'This should be dismissed.' I told the client to have a seat and wait until his case is called. When that happened, we went out of the court room to talk with the city prosecutor.
Prosecutor offered his standard deal. He had done this three dozen times before this morning. He did not even look up from his paperwork as he spoke.
I said, 'This one's special.' That got his attention. He looked at me. I asked my client to tell his story. When he finished, I said to the prosecutor, 'Dismissal or trial. Your choice.'
Damned if he didn't call over the cop to look over my client. Cop looked hard at my client and I could see that there was no recognition in his eyes. He asked my client for his driver's license and compared the signature to the signature on the ticket. Cop said, 'The signatures are the same.'
I looked at the signatures. I said, 'No, they're not.'
Cop said to prosecutor, 'It was him.'
Oh, did I mention that my client was Mexican-American and that the cop looked like the poster boy for the local chapter of John Birch?
Prosecutor told my client that he would set the matter for trial and that he was free to leave. I told my client to take direction from me, not the prosecutor, and told him to go straight home, gather his evidence, and return to me at the courthouse. (I had other cases to attend to.)
My client went home, got his evidence, and returned. Sure enough, he had been in Jamaica the day the ticket was written.
I provided copies of exculpatory documents to the prosecutor THAT DAY and asked him to dismiss. Prosecutor said he would show my evidence to his witness -- the cop -- and see if his witness would change his mind. (Yes, this is gross nonfeasance by the prosecutor.)
Four months later, I inquired at the prosecutor's office about the case. New prosecutor assigned. Who knew nothing about the exculpatory evidence. And could not find it.
Two months later, we went to trial. New prosecutor. Newer than last time. Had not seen the exculpatory evidence. Some consternation. Called in the original prosecutor. Who could not find the exculpatory evidence. More consternation. Asked me if I would show him my evidence.
'Sure,' I said. 'You'll see it along with the jury when my witnesses present it from the stand.'
Case dismissed.
Now on this day I really, really wanted this case to go to trial. I had a prejudiced cop that I was going to skewer. I had already made an oral request to the court to have the bailiff standing ready to take the cop into custody for perjury. Twice I had tried to avoid trial, and I was hot and gunning for blood.
Here's my point.
To cops and prosecutors, it was just another day at the office. But to my client, it was a day AWAY from the office. It was lost work, lost income, wasted time. Somebody needed to pay. I thought blood was the appropriate payment.
Understand me: I have known good cops. My godfather was a cop, and I loved that man. I still celebrate his memory every day. But cops are human and like all humans they are corrupted by power.
A good citizen does not automatically comply with a cop's request because 'he has nothing to hide.' Scooter Libby did that. He is serving time in a federal penitentiary.
My own experience with my godfather's cop buddies is that cops divide the world into cops and bad guys. You gotta be one or the other. I know I ain't a cop. Hmmm.
FYI 180 years ago there were no cops. Look it up. That means that the Framers could not have thought about the abuses of power the police are prone to. And I believe they would have been horrified.

Posted by: HLK | Dec 12, 2007 9:20:36 PM

". . . the being behind the mirrored shades is human."
Unfortunately, Karl, that's the problem.
I'm going to give you the benefit of what little doubt remains in my mind and say that you are a good cop; that is, one who does not abuse his authority. Not all cops are like you.
David has thrown hypotheticals at you and you responded with hypotheticals.
Let me give you my reality.
Case 1:
I was a Texas lawyer working with a team of four other lawyers to put together a petition to be filed Monday, the last day before the statute of limitations barred our plaintiff from bringing suit. I had worked Friday and Saturday with a few hours sleep on the office floor. I was driving home Saturday night to sleep in my own bed before I returned to spend Sunday and Monday hammering out the last pages of the petition.
I lived an hour from the office and a mile outside the city limits. At 1.30 a.m. I crested the last rise before my home -- I could see my home half a mile away -- and BINGO! the car behind me lights up the Christmas tree lights.
First thing I did was take my foot off the gas. I was coasting. I wondered what the hell I did to get a cop to flash me. I knew I was not speeding. Knowing what I knew as a lawyer, I decided to coast into my driveway. That way -- if the cop was on a power trip and hauled me in -- I would save the expense of paying for a tow and the impound fee. This annoyed Johnny Law who flashed me with his searchlight.
I stopped in my driveway, turned off my engine, and stepped out of my car. I noted that the officer was a city cop (I lived outside a small town) and that he had not flashed any lights until we were beyond the city limits. Politely I asked the reason for the stop.
'You crossed the painted line back there,' he said.
'The center line?'
'No. The white line on the side.'
'I deny it.' FYI, the road beyond the city limits had no shoulder. Had I crossed the 'white line on the side' I would have had wheels in the grass.
Cop said, 'Look, you give me attitude, I'll run you in right now.' Power tripping.
Did I mention that I stood at least 6 inches taller than this cop? Makes a difference in what follows. Shorty was hiding behind his badge and fucking with me 'cause he thought he could.
At the time there were two cop-stop laws: 1) Failure to Signal Lane Change and 2) Failure to Maintain Single Lane (what Shorty alleged I had done). The sole purpose of these laws was to give cops 'PROBABLE CAUSE' to stop a driver to check him for Driving Under the Influence. I call them cop-stop laws because that was -- and is -- their only purpose: to give the cops PC.
Shorty asked me to take a field sobriety test. The penalty for failure to comply with such a request is automatic suspension of your driver's license. So I complied. Passed the fucking test. Shorty asked if he could search my car. I should have said, 'Fuck you. Get a warrant.' But I knew he would. Problem with that was that no judge would be available to sign such a warrant until Monday morning and the cop would 'detain' me and my vehicle until he got the warrant and ran the fucking search.
Oh, by the way, did I mention that my brother-in-law was the local judge???
So I consented to the search. Shorty went through my car. I had a tin of Altoids in the change compartment of my Audi, and Shorty unwrapped every damned one of them.
During this sterling police performance, an officer of the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) showed up. He and I had a polite and respectful discussion.
Finally, Shorty wrote me a ticket for Failure to Maintain Single Lane and we parted company. It was 4 a.m. Shorty wasted 2 and ½ hours of my life.
I got notice of the court date and I went and requested a jury and subpoenaed the DPS officer. Prosecutor dismissed the case. But did not tell me beforehand. I had to lose a day and go to court prepared to chew a cop's ass to shreds before I found out.
#
Case 2:
Another lawyer referred me a case of two misdemeanors: running a stop sign and failure to display a driver's license. Guy needed a lawyer to bail him out, so I did. In Texas, you bail the suspect, you represent the suspect. I bailed him without meeting him. Sent him a representation letter with a court date and a warning: This letter is a contract and gives me the right to represent you; if you do not show up for court, I will plead you guilty. (That way the court releases the bond back to me.)
Guy showed up for court. I asked him his story.
He said, 'It wasn't me.'
Well, one charge was failure to display a driver's license, so this was plausible. I said, 'Can you prove it?'
Guy said, 'Yeah.'
'How?'
'I was not in the country the date the ticket was written. I was on a Caribbean cruise with my girlfriend.' Guy kept records. He had receipts, ship boarding passes, dated photos taken in Jamaica the date of the ticket.
All at home.
I thought, 'This should be dismissed.' I told the client to have a seat and wait until his case is called. When that happened, we went out of the court room to talk with the city prosecutor.
Prosecutor offered his standard deal. He had done this three dozen times before this morning. He did not even look up from his paperwork as he spoke.
I said, 'This one's special.' That got his attention. He looked at me. I asked my client to tell his story. When he finished, I said to the prosecutor, 'Dismissal or trial. Your choice.'
Damned if he didn't call over the cop to look over my client. Cop looked hard at my client and I could see that there was no recognition in his eyes. He asked my client for his driver's license and compared the signature to the signature on the ticket. Cop said, 'The signatures are the same.'
I looked at the signatures. I said, 'No, they're not.'
Cop said to prosecutor, 'It was him.'
Oh, did I mention that my client was Mexican-American and that the cop looked like the poster boy for the local chapter of John Birch?
Prosecutor told my client that he would set the matter for trial and that he was free to leave. I told my client to take direction from me, not the prosecutor, and told him to go straight home, gather his evidence, and return to me at the courthouse. (I had other cases to attend to.)
My client went home, got his evidence, and returned. Sure enough, he had been in Jamaica the day the ticket was written.
I provided copies of exculpatory documents to the prosecutor THAT DAY and asked him to dismiss. Prosecutor said he would show my evidence to his witness -- the cop -- and see if his witness would change his mind. (Yes, this is gross nonfeasance by the prosecutor.)
Four months later, I inquired at the prosecutor's office about the case. New prosecutor assigned. Who knew nothing about the exculpatory evidence. And could not find it.
Two months later, we went to trial. New prosecutor. Newer than last time. Had not seen the exculpatory evidence. Some consternation. Called in the original prosecutor. Who could not find the exculpatory evidence. More consternation. Asked me if I would show him my evidence.
'Sure,' I said. 'You'll see it along with the jury when my witnesses present it from the stand.'
Case dismissed.
Now on this day I really, really wanted this case to go to trial. I had a prejudiced cop that I was going to skewer. I had already made an oral request to the court to have the bailiff standing ready to take the cop into custody for perjury. Twice I had tried to avoid trial, and I was hot and gunning for blood.
Here's my point.
To cops and prosecutors, it was just another day at the office. But to my client, it was a day AWAY from the office. It was lost work, lost income, wasted time. Somebody needed to pay. I thought blood was the appropriate payment.
Understand me: I have known good cops. My godfather was a cop, and I loved that man. I still celebrate his memory every day. But cops are human and like all humans they are corrupted by power.
A good citizen does not automatically comply with a cop's request because 'he has nothing to hide.' Scooter Libby did that. He is serving time in a federal penitentiary.
My own experience with my godfather's cop buddies is that cops divide the world into cops and bad guys. You gotta be one or the other. I know I ain't a cop. Hmmm.
FYI 180 years ago there were no cops. Look it up. That means that the Framers could not have thought about the abuses of power the police are prone to. And I believe they would have been horrified.

Posted by: HLK | Dec 12, 2007 9:21:59 PM

I have gotten several emails from people saying they are having trouble with my spam filter. If you've had a problem, please drop m a note at treppenwitz @ gmail . com (just remove the spaces).

Posted by: treppenwitz | Dec 12, 2007 9:25:38 PM

". . . the being behind the mirrored shades is human."
Unfortunately, Karl, that's the problem. I'm going to give you the benefit of what little doubt remains in my mind and say that you are a good cop; that is, one who does not abuse his authority. Not all cops are like you.
David has thrown hypotheticals at you and you responded with hypotheticals. Let me give you my reality.
Case 1:
I was a Texas lawyer working with a team of four other lawyers to put together a petition to be filed Monday, the last day before the statute of limitations barred our plaintiff from bringing suit. I had worked Friday and Saturday with a few hours sleep on the office floor. I was driving home Saturday night to sleep in my own bed before I returned to spend Sunday and Monday hammering out the last pages of the petition. I lived an hour from the office and a mile outside the city limits. At 1.30 a.m. I crested the last rise before my home -- I could see my home half a mile away -- and BINGO! the car behind me lights up the Christmas tree lights.
First thing I did was take my foot off the gas. I was coasting. I wondered what the hell I did to get a cop to flash me. I knew I was not speeding. Knowing what I knew as a lawyer, I decided to coast into my driveway. That way -- if the cop was on a power trip and hauled me in -- I would save the expense of paying for a tow and the impound fee. This annoyed Johnny Law who flashed me with his searchlight.
I stopped in my driveway, turned off my engine, and stepped out of my car. I noted that the officer was a city cop (I lived outside a small town) and that he had not flashed any lights until we were beyond the city limits. Politely I asked the reason for the stop.
'You crossed the painted line back there,' he said.
'The center line?'
'No. The white line on the side.'
'I deny it.' FYI, the road beyond the city limits had no shoulder. Had I crossed the 'white line on the side' I would have had wheels in the grass.
Cop said, 'Look, you give me attitude, I'll run you in right now.' Power tripping.
Did I mention that I stood at least 6 inches taller than this cop? Makes a difference in what follows. Shorty was hiding behind his badge and fucking with me 'cause he thought he could.
At the time there were two cop-stop laws: 1) Failure to Signal Lane Change and 2) Failure to Maintain Single Lane (what Shorty alleged I had done). The sole purpose of these laws was to give cops 'PROBABLE CAUSE' to stop a driver to check him for Driving Under the Influence. I call them cop-stop laws because that was -- and is -- their only purpose: to give the cops PC.
Shorty asked me to take a field sobriety test. The penalty for failure to comply with such a request is automatic suspension of your driver's license. So I complied. Passed the fucking test.
Shorty asked if he could search my car. I should have said, 'Fuck you. Get a warrant.' But I knew he would. Problem with that was that no judge would be available to sign such a warrant until Monday morning and the cop would 'detain' me and my vehicle until he got the warrant and ran the fucking search.
Oh, by the way, did I mention that my brother-in-law was the local judge???
So I consented to the search. Shorty went through my car. I had a tin of Altoids in the change compartment of my Audi, and Shorty unwrapped every damned one of them.
During this sterling police performance, an officer of the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) showed up. He and I had a polite and respectful discussion.
Finally, Shorty wrote me a ticket for Failure to Maintain Single Lane and we parted company. It was 4 a.m. Shorty wasted 2 and ½ hours of my life.
I got notice of the court date and I went and requested a jury and subpoenaed the DPS officer. Prosecutor dismissed the case. But did not tell me beforehand. I had to lose a day and go to court prepared to chew a cop's ass to shreds before I found out.

(to be continued)

Posted by: antares | Dec 13, 2007 1:41:04 AM

Case 2:
Another lawyer referred me a case of two misdemeanors: running a stop sign and failure to display a driver's license. Guy needed a lawyer to bail him out, so I did. In Texas, you bail the suspect, you represent the suspect. I bailed him without meeting him. Sent him a representation letter with a court date and a warning: This letter is a contract and gives me the right to represent you; if you do not show up for court, I will plead you guilty. (That way the court releases the bond back to me.)
Guy showed up for court.
I asked him his story.
He said, 'It wasn't me.'
Well, one charge was failure to display a driver's license, so this was plausible. I said, 'Can you prove it?'
Guy said, 'Yeah.'
'How?'
'I was not in the country the date the ticket was written. I was on a Caribbean cruise with my girlfriend.' Guy kept records. He had receipts, ship boarding passes, dated photos taken in Jamaica the date of the ticket.
All at home.
I thought, 'This should be dismissed.' I told the client to have a seat and wait until his case was called. When that happened, we went out of the court room to talk with the city prosecutor.
Prosecutor offered his standard deal. He had done this three dozen times before this morning. He did not even look up from his paperwork as he spoke.
I said, 'This one's special.' That got his attention. He looked at me. I asked my client to tell his story. When he finished, I said to the prosecutor, 'Dismissal or trial. Your choice.'
Damned if he didn't call over the cop to look over my client. Cop looked hard at my client and I could see that there was no recognition in his eyes. He asked my client for his driver's license and compared the signature to the signature on the ticket.
Cop said, 'The signatures are the same.'
I looked at the signatures. I said, 'No, they're not.'
Cop said to prosecutor, 'It was him.'
Oh, did I mention that my client was Mexican-American and that the cop looked like the poster boy for the local chapter of John Birch?
Prosecutor told my client that he would set the matter for trial and that he was free to leave. I told my client to take direction from me, not the prosecutor, and told him to go straight home, gather his evidence, and return to me at the courthouse. (I had other cases to attend to.)
My client went home, got his evidence, and returned. Sure enough, he had been in Jamaica the day the ticket was written.
I provided copies of exculpatory documents to the prosecutor THAT DAY and asked him to dismiss. Prosecutor said he would show my evidence to his witness -- the cop -- and see if his witness would change his mind. (Yes, this is gross nonfeasance by the prosecutor.)
Four months later, I inquired at the prosecutor's office about the case. New prosecutor assigned. Who knew nothing about the exculpatory evidence. And could not find it.
Two months later, we went to trial. New prosecutor. Newer than last time. Had not seen the exculpatory evidence. Some consternation. Called in the original prosecutor. Who could not find the exculpatory evidence. More consternation. Asked me if I would show him my evidence.
'Sure,' I said. 'You'll see it along with the jury when my witnesses present it from the stand.'
Case dismissed.
Now on this day I really, really wanted this case to go to trial. I had a prejudiced cop that I was going to skewer. I had already made an oral request to the court to have the bailiff standing ready to take the cop into custody for perjury. Twice I had tried to avoid trial, and I was hot and gunning for blood.
Here's my point.
To cops and prosecutors, it was just another day at the office. But to my client, it was a day AWAY from the office. It was lost work, lost income, wasted time. Somebody needed to pay. I thought blood was the appropriate payment.
Understand me: I have known good cops. My godfather was a cop, and I loved that man. I still celebrate his memory every day. But cops are human and like all humans they are corrupted by power.
A good citizen does not automatically comply with a cop's request because 'he has nothing to hide.' Scooter Libby did that. He is serving time in a federal penitentiary.
Oh, did I mention that near my home some guy had been posing as a cop, stopping women on deserted streets, and raping them?
My own experience with my godfather's cop buddies is that cops divide the world into cops and bad guys. You gotta be one or the other. I know I ain't a cop. Hmmm.
FYI 180 years ago there were no cops. Look it up. That means that the Framers could not have thought about the abuses of power the police are prone to. And I believe they would have been horrified.

Posted by: antares | Dec 13, 2007 2:00:48 AM

Antares,

I'm going to give you the benefit of what little doubt remains in my mind and say that you are a good cop; that is, one who does not abuse his authority.

Thank you for the vote of confidence, I appreciate that. Seriously.

I'll reply to a few specific points in a moment, but first I'd like to answer your posts as a whole. I do realize that there are LEOs out there that are dirty. To them, the ends justify the means. However, I've been in this business for almost eleven years, where I've worked for three different agencies....state, local and Federal. I've had close contacts with other agencies at those same levels, everything from limited dealings with the FBI down to extensive contacts at the county and municipal level. I have worked with and known a lot of cops in my career. There were some that shouldn't have been in the job due to various reason, but I don't know any that were what I would consider corrupt. Are they out there? Sure. The LAPD officers that thumped Rodney King were dirty. The New Orleans Police Department is notorious for being dirty, just look what happened with them after Katrina. But that kind of behavior isn't the norm. Not even close.

Also, as I read your comments, the thought came to me that I've heard all this before. Different scenarios but a common theme. I won't doubt your integrity and call BS on your stories, I don't know what happened in those cases since I wasn't there. You have the benefit of the doubt. But understand that I've heard these things many, many times before, told about officers that I know, and have had similar stories told about me. You're a criminal defense attorney, you see things in a different way that I, a witness for the state, would. In the first scenario, I do wonder what your demeanor was during that stop. After all, you seem to have been fatigued and anxious to get home.

Now, to some specific points.

David has thrown hypotheticals at you and you responded with hypotheticals. Let me give you my reality.

My hypothetical situations are based on real experiences. I use my real name here, so I don't want to go into specifics about actual incidents.

I decided to coast into my driveway. That way -- if the cop was on a power trip and hauled me in -- I would save the expense of paying for a tow and the impound fee. This annoyed Johnny Law who flashed me with his searchlight.

Not a good move. You're supposed to stop as soon as it's safe to do so. Failure to do so is Fleeing to Elude in Florida and the other states have similar statutes. When people don't immediately pull over for a marked unit when it's obviously safe to do so, that raises the stress level because now we're wondering what's going on. Is the driver about to run? Is he trying to hide a weapon or contraband before stopping? Is he buying time while trying to think up a plan to escape or to kill us? Depending on how long it took for you to stop, he may have been on an adrenaline rush and prepared for the worst. I've known two guys who were shot to death during traffic stops, the threat and the stress is real. Next time, just pull over.

At the time there were two cop-stop laws: 1) Failure to Signal Lane Change and 2) Failure to Maintain Single Lane (what Shorty alleged I had done). The sole purpose of these laws was to give cops 'PROBABLE CAUSE' to stop a driver to check him for Driving Under the Influence. I call them cop-stop laws because that was -- and is -- their only purpose: to give the cops PC.

The purpose of those laws is to prevent traffic crashes. Have you never had someone startle you or almost hit you by changing lanes without signaling or by swerving into your lane? I have, many times.

Shorty asked if he could search my car. I should have said, 'Fuck you. Get a warrant.' But I knew he would. Problem with that was that no judge would be available to sign such a warrant until Monday morning and the cop would 'detain' me and my vehicle until he got the warrant and ran the fucking search.

How would he be able to 'detain' you without arresting you, which would require PC? Also, is the profanity necessary? It hurts your argument.

I had to lose a day and go to court....

Well, FWIW, I've had to go to court on my day off, only to find that the guy pled or paid the fine that very morning. And I don't get OT, I have to comp that time. Not the same as losing time from work, but it still sucks. And the courts aren't supposed to let people do that at the last minute, but they do. Such is life.

Oh, did I mention that my client was Mexican-American and that the cop looked like the poster boy for the local chapter of John Birch?

At least you didn't call the cop a cracker (cheap shot aimed at our host). :)

Two months later, we went to trial. New prosecutor. Newer than last time. Had not seen the exculpatory evidence. Some consternation. Called in the original prosecutor. Who could not find the exculpatory evidence. More consternation. Asked me if I would show him my evidence.

Welcome to my world. Try prosecuting cases when the State Attorney's Office has a revolving door and the local law firms are poaching Assistant State Attorneys as fast as new ones can be hired. I even helped prosecute a case once because the poor ASA had a stack of case files belonging to another ASA dumped on her desk on a Friday and the trial was on Monday. She barely had time to read the files before trial, so she told me to just go for it. We won. :)

My own experience with my godfather's cop buddies is that cops divide the world into cops and bad guys. You gotta be one or the other. I know I ain't a cop. Hmmm.

It is easy to withdraw from society and hang out only with our own kind. But it's not as common as it used to be. I socialize with many people outside of my profession, as do my cop buddies.

FYI 180 years ago there were no cops. Look it up.

Sheriffs and Constables have been around in some form since the Middle Ages. The term Sheriff comes from the English 'Shire Reeve', the chief law enforcement officer and King's representative in an English county (shire). The first true police force was formed in Paris in the Seventeenth Century.

That means that the Framers could not have thought about the abuses of power the police are prone to.

The Framers thought a lot about the possible abuses of the government, and law enforcement officers are representatives of government. As I showed above, law enforcement existed in their time and the occasional abuses of police authority that do occur would not have surprised them.

And I believe they would have been horrified.

What would horrify them would be to take them into a law library and show them the Code of Federal Regulations and then let them read some of the case law that's come out of the Supreme Court over the last fifty years.

Posted by: Karl Newman | Dec 13, 2007 7:20:19 AM

westbankmama is correct. further to her point, non-resident services, deliveries, vendors etc. will be stuck sitting in checkpoint hell, enough to cause them to stop coming altogether. This actually happened in a trial balloon case, I believe it was somewhere near Karnei Shomron. While I support two-lane entrances such as they have in the gated communities of South Florida, I am against the citizen-tagging that ultimately will do more harm than good.

Posted by: yonah | Dec 13, 2007 9:52:14 AM

Karl Newman... Thanks for humoring me. I know beyond a doubt that you are a good cop... a boy scout of a law enforcement officer... but you are making most of your assumptions based on all LEOs adhering to the same standard of conduct and restraint as you hold yourself. Sadly, while certainly not the norm, there are too many stories of abuse floating around for many people to react to citizen contacts such as you've described with relaxed good humor. Most people would consider themselves good, safe drivers but that doesn't mean we don't sweat the moment we spot you in your crown vic driving behind us on the thruway. And if you remain behind us for too long even the most law-abiding driver is likely to feel the sweat starting to trickle down his/her back. Just the way it is. Again, I appreciate you giving me/us a peek at things from a cop's POV.

tnspr569... No, I think the terrorists are better at profiling than even the police. :-)

Maya... I think the yellow star might be too extreme an analogy, but yes, there is a hint of that kind of 'selectzia'.

Lee... I know we kind of got side tracked here on the whole probable cause issue, but what you've just described is exactly my point; the struggle between the two sides. SO long as there is a tug of war between the citizens and the government over where the balance of power rests... and neither side feels they have completely won or lost... then the system works for both. Sort of. Over here we many aren't even allowed to pick up the robe without being hauled in for questioning (or worse).

Jennifer ... Spoken like a woman who grew up in the US during a particularly turbulent era. :-)

Mark Patterson... I've already addressed the issue with the sticker's being too transportable and vulnerable to theft.

Max Power... I promise you that even if all the lanes were working the merge would be far easier than the current lines we have to suffer in.

Jack... That is really the point. Many police don't realize the power they hold. Sadly other do and abuse it.

Abbi... That oil, nails and burning tires thing was one day and one tiny group of destructive kids. Now that you have the benefit of a year plus to look at the disengagement, you have to admit that it was resisted with extreme non-violence compared to, say, Amona. As to being from the 'other side', you need to travel the same roads that we do to understand the way many feel at the mercy of the government's whims.

westbankmama... OK, but what does my putting the sticker in my car have to do with vendors and visitors being stopped. They are two separate but equally troubling issues.

antares... I think just about everyone has a story or two to tell about brushes with authority that felt just a tad like abuse. But as I said earlier, Karl is not that cop. I read your story and felt myself getting angry just thinking about the injustices, but I prefer to learn from someone like Karl than simply confront him with my tales of confrontation with 'the man' (of which my youth has more than one!).

yonah... What do you know, you're an ex-Asst. District Attorney! :-)

Posted by: treppenwitz | Dec 13, 2007 4:10:34 PM

Karl
It's 1 a.m. here. I don't have the time to respond to you on treppenwitz to the depth that I would like to.
I believe that you and I will always disagree. But I respect you.
FYI David asked me to go easy on you, so I did.
As a cop, you think posting your 'real name' on a website anybody can access is fine. As a lawyer, I disagree. (I read Vernor Vinge's 'True Names' when it was first published.) Besides, I use 'antares' so extensively that the odds are 3-to-2 that if you see that pseudonym elsewhere (for example, Sandmonkey), it is me.
Anyway, I don't want to hijack David's blog with a personal exchange between us. If you want to contact me directly, I give David permission to release my eaddress to you.
Live long and prosper.
PS But you are wrong and you know it.

Posted by: antares | Dec 13, 2007 6:03:07 PM

yonah- I heard that they also want to implement a transponder-based system, where residents would receive RF transponders for their vehicles, allowing them to use express lanes, and forcing all other traffic to wait in a huge line to be checked. Charming, no?

Posted by: tnspr569 | Dec 13, 2007 7:50:00 PM

Shalom, sorry I'm not reading through all these comments and thereby perhaps missing more response to my idea.

"First of all, the reason they created a sticker and not an ID card is to prevent its transportability/lendibility."

I think we can learn from the disabled stickers, that are laminated and transportable for some reason (I cannot think of one).

If the municipality will be a little creative, they can make the license plate number bigger therefore easier to read (tho this can rule out the loaner idea I had), different colors, shapes, etc, so if a car/sticker is stolen, the guards can be warned to keep an eye open for the parameter in question. Of course, again, with so many stolen cars, they would soon basically be on watch for all stickers:-), so we're close to being back to where we started.

Bottom line, intelligence types can chime in and clarify that these stickers are more for waving through traffic than finding or isolate terrorists.

Here in Maale Adumim, the stickers were extremely easy to get, and if you really wanted, you could get two or three or more.

Posted by: Gidon Ariel | Dec 14, 2007 12:59:37 PM

"Bush's run-away-freight train known as the 'Patriot Act'"? Perhaps you missed that part of the U.S. Constitution that gives legislative power to Congress, not the Executive.

Posted by: Bob | Dec 16, 2007 1:07:56 AM

Oh yes, I do have one other remark. It seems to me that if these tags were truly intended to merely expedite your passage through check points (as a government claims), they would be electronic toll tags commonly used in the U.S. highways, not the motoring equivalent of a yellow star worn on the sleeve.

Posted by: Bob | Dec 16, 2007 1:22:51 AM

Bob, that's a good idea, but the army has not gotten to that tech stage at the checkpoints yet. It is obviously a _much_ more expensive solution (chip for each car as opposed to sticker, reader for each checkpoint as opposed to bored miluimnik)

Posted by: Gidon Ariel | Dec 16, 2007 1:34:50 AM

One problem with the stickers is that they *decrease* overall security. Any security system with a slow, detailed way through and a fast, easy way through will only entice potential attackers to spoof the fast way through.

The general principle is that if there is a high-security path through a system and a low-security path, the terrorists will do their best to exploit the low-security path. (see http://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2007/01/clear_registere.html for a discussion of this principle in a different case).

In this case, that means that there would be an increased incentive for terrorists to steal a car with a sticker and use that car to cross the checkpoint with all their bombs!

This consideration would argue against the sticker program at all.

That being said, for a daily commuter for whom the sticker would provide a significant convenience/reduction of commute time, it probably wouldn't be worth worrying too much about the government using these stickers for ill in the future -- if that time ever were to come, it would be a simple matter to remove the sticker with a razor blade and go back to sticker-less driving.

Posted by: Almost Jerusalem | Dec 16, 2007 11:35:15 AM

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