DrugSense FOCUS Alert # 191 December 3, 2000

DrugSense FOCUS Alert # 191 December 3, 2000
Posted by FoM on December 03, 2000 at 11:26:08 PT
The Supreme Court Takes A Stand Against Drug War
Source: MapInc.
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled last week that random road blocks for drug searches are unconstitutional. This a relief to drug reformers and anyone interested in maintaining basic civil liberties.Several newspapers editorialized about the decision, and most looked favorably at the ruling. Below is one particularly good editorial from the San Jose Mercury News. 
Many of the other editorials weren't as strong as the Mercury News, but the number of editorials published so far shows that this aspect of the drug war has hit a nerve even with those who aren't given to speaking against the drug war.Please send a letter to one or all of the newspapers where editorials and other articles have been published. Tell editors the Supreme Court did the right thing in putting a stop on the police state tactic of arbitrary drug checkpoints, but note that basic constitutional freedoms are still under assault by other aspects of the drug war.WRITE A LETTER TODAYIt's not what others do it's what YOU do***************************************************************************PLEASE SEND US A COPY OF YOUR LETTER OR TELL US WHAT YOU DID(Letter, Phone, Fax etc.)Please post a copy your letter or report your action to the sent letterlist ( sentlte if you are subscribed, or by E-mailing a copydirectly to MGreer Your letter will then be forwarded to thelist with so others can learn from your efforts and be motivated to followsuitThis is VERY IMPORTANT as it is the only way we have of gauging our impactand effectiveness.**************************************************************************CONTACT INFO:Source: San Jose Mercury News (CA)Contact: letters sjmercury.comEXTRA CREDIT:Please also send your letter to one or several of the following newspapers that printed editorials or other articles about the Supreme Court ruling.US IL: Column: A Rare Victory For The Right To Be Left AloneURL: Thu, 30 Nov 2000Source: Chicago Tribune (IL)US: U.S. Justices Halt Drug RoadblocksURL: Wed, 29 Nov 2000Source: Los Angeles Times (CA)Contact: letters latimes.comUS: Supreme Court Bars Traffic Roadblocks Intended to Check forURL: Wed, 29 Nov 2000Source: New York Times (NY)Contact: letters nytimes.comUS CA: Editorial: Supreme Court Removes A Roadblock to RightsURL: Thu, 30 Nov 2000Source: San Francisco Chronicle (CA)Contact: letters sfchronicle.comUS GA: Editorial: A Win For PrivacyURL: Fri, 01 Dec 2000Contact: letted savannahnow.comUS TX: Editorial: Random RulingURL: Fri, 01 Dec 2000Source: Times Record News (TX)Contact: wilsonc wtr.comUS IN: Editorial: The Right Decision On Indy RoadblocksURL: Wed, 29 Nov 2000Source: Indianapolis Star (IN)Contact: stareditor starnews.comUS IN: Editorial: What Did They Say?URL: Thu, 30 Nov 2000Source: News-Sentinel (IN)Contact: nsletters news-sentinel.comUS CO: Editorial: Drug RoadblocksURL: Thu, 30 Nov 2000Source: Durango Herald, The (US CO)Contact: letters durangoherald.comUS NC: OPED: The Court Got It RightURL: Thu, 30 Nov 2000Source: Goldsboro News-Argus (NC)Contact: news***************************************************************************ARTICLEUS CA: Editorial: Improbable CauseURL: Jane MarcusPubdate: Wed, 29 Nov 2000Source: San Jose Mercury News (CA)Copyright: 2000 San Jose Mercury NewsContact: letters sjmercury.comAddress: 750 Ridder Park Drive, San Jose, CA 95190Fax: (408) 271-3792Website: CAUSEWhen Police Stop Every Vehicle At A Roadblock To Search For Drugs, That Goes To Far, Supreme Court RulesTHERE'S a saying that the U.S. Supreme Court has never run into a police roadblock it didn't like. Checkpoints to intercept drunken drivers? Sure. Stops to verify the licenses and registrations of motorists? Fine. Highway blockades near the border to snatch illegal immigrants? Those are legal too.It looked as if law enforcement agents could use random roadblocks for any reason. Constitutional guarantees against unreasonable searches and seizures didn't appear to protect innocent people who happened to be on the wrong road at the wrong time.But no more. On Tuesday the justices finally put on the brakes. By 6-3, they said the police can't intrude on the privacy of law-abiding drivers to nab a handful of possible drug traffickers.The case involved police officers in Indianapolis setting up big dragnets to ferret out drug dealers. Stemming the flow of narcotics into a city is an important and well-intentioned goal. But to carry it out, the police would detain and question everyone driving by the checkpoints. Motorists didn't get to leave until the officer was convinced that no drugs were hidden in the car.Two innocent people caught up in these blockades sued. To stop them and inspect their cars, the drivers argued, an officer should need a good reason to suspect they've committed a crime. That kind of warrantless search requires at least a suspicion that the individual was breaking the law. The roadblocks allowed the police to skirt that requirement based on a mere fear that drugs might be coming into a neighborhood."If this case were to rest on such a high level of generality," Justice Sandra Day O'Connor wrote for the court, "there would be little check on the authorities' ability to construct roadblocks for almost any conceivable law enforcement purpose."Blockades designed to police the national border or ensure roadway safety - -- such as DUI checkpoints -- are unaffected by Tuesday's decision. The court previously has said the Constitution permits those stops.Instead the ruling is an overdue reminder to law enforcement that innocent people have some constitutional right to be left alone when behind the wheel. And even this conservative court won't allow the war on drugs to change that.******************************************************************************SAMPLE LETTERTo the editor:It is heartening to see the U.S. Supreme Court ruling against random drug checkpoints. For years the drug war has been used to invade the privacy of all citizens. Want a job? You must prove yourself innocent of drug crimes by submitting bodily fluids for analysis. Same thing if you are a student hoping to join in an extracurricular activity. And all students are subject to random searches by drug sniffing dogs, while anyone who travels by bus may find themselves face to face with a law enforcement officer who "requests" to search their personal belongings.Since many illegal drug users look and act just like people who don't use illegal drugs, those would protect us from ourselves need to check out everyone. While making people prove their innocence may catch some drug users, it also allows authorities to scrutinize citizens without any cause. The war on drugs is a also a war on personal privacy.Stephen YoungIMPORTANT: Always include your address and telephone numberPlease note: If you choose to use this letter as a model please modify itat least somewhat so that the paper does not receive numerous copies of thesame letter and so that the original author receives credit for his/her work.----------------------------------------------------------------------------ADDITIONAL INFO to help you in your letter writing efforts3 Tips for Letter Writers Writers Style Guide****************************************************************************TO SUBSCRIBE, DONATE, VOLUNTEER TO HELP, OR UPDATE YOUR EMAIL SEE UNSUBSCRIBE SEE***************************************************************************Prepared by Stephen Young - Alert SpecialistMark GreerExecutive DirectorDrugSense: MGreer mapinc.orgDrugSense is working to encourage accuracy, honesty, and common sensein matters involving the failed, expensive, and destructive "War on Drugs."Get Involved - Learn about the Issueshttp://www.drugsense.orgContribute - Help us Help Reform Information - Learn how to Make a Difference help us help reform. Send drug-related news to editor mapinc.orgSee for details===NOW YOU CAN DONATE TO DRUGSENSE ONLINE AND IT'S TAX DEDUCTIBLEDrugSense provides many services to at no charge BUT THEY ARE NOT FREETO PRODUCE.We incur many costs in creating our many and varied services. If youare able to help by contributing to the DrugSense effort visit ourconvenient donation web site at********************* Just DO It!! **********************************Mark GreerExecutive DirectorDrugSense: MGreer mapinc.org FOCUS Alert #190 November 18, 2000 MapInc. Archives: 
Home Comment Email Register Recent Comments Help

Post Comment

Name: Optional Password: 
Comment: [Please refrain from using profanity in your message]
Link URL: 
Link Title: