Bluegrass Festival To Sue Over Roadside Checks

Bluegrass Festival To Sue Over Roadside Checks
Posted by FoM on May 09, 2001 at 11:48:49 PT
By Matt Joyce, Herald Staff Writer
Source: Durango Herald
Organizers of the Telluride Bluegrass Festival plan to file a lawsuit in federal court against several Southwest Colorado law enforcement agencies over an alleged highway "checkpoint" that coincided with last year’s festival.Jason Slade Spillman, an attorney for Planet Bluegrass – the business that puts on the festival – said a June 14 and 15 "checkpoint" on Colorado Highway 145 last year violated the constitutional rights of those stopped and unfairly targeted the Telluride Bluegrass Festival’s business.
The operation deprived those stopped from their Fourth Amendment protection from unreasonable search and seizure, he said.Attorneys for the law enforcement agencies said Tuesday that the operation was completely legal, and that it did not violate anybody’s constitutional rights. They objected to the word "checkpoint," saying the operation only stopped drivers who violated traffic laws."A checkpoint is when you stop cars for a particular purpose, like an alcohol checkpoint," said Joe Olt, district attorney for the 22nd Judicial District. "I don’t see any violation of the Fourth Amendment here."The operation resulted in eight felony arrests for possession of either psilocybin mushrooms or large amounts of marijuana. Three people had their cars impounded, including one who was carrying more than 2 pounds of marijuana packaged for resale.Law enforcement officers also doled out 13 citations for people in possession of smaller amounts of marijuana or drug paraphernalia and wrote 10 traffic citations.Dolores, Montezuma and La Plata counties, the cities of Durango and Cortez, and the 22nd Judicial District Drug Task Force will likely be named in the lawsuit, Spillman said.Durango has been named because one Durango Police officer participated in the operation, said Earl Rhodes, a Grand Junction attorney representing the city.U.S. District Court Magistrate Craig B. Shaffer on Friday denied Planet Bluegrass’ petition to find out the names and addresses of all law enforcement officials and agencies involved with the operation.The failed petition also sought to find out why the "drug interdiction checkpoints" were conducted on Highway 145 in Dolores County on the days they were conducted.Spillman said that Planet Bluegrass will file the lawsuit within six weeks, before the next festival starts June 21.It will also seek a court injunction to stop any similar operations this summer, he said.Olt said he did not know whether law enforcement agencies were planning a similar operation for this year. Robert Liechty, a Denver attorney representing Dolores and La Plata counties, also said he did not know.Dolores County Sheriff Jerry Martin on Tuesday declined to comment on the matter.Spillman said on Tuesday that a November ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court, Indianapolis v. Edmond, outlawed drug interdiction checkpoints.He said that law enforcement agencies named the operation "Catch 22."Signs warned oncoming traffic of a "narcotic checkpoint," which caused some vehicles to make illegal U-turns, he said."It essentially refers to ‘You’re damned if you do, you’re damned if you don’t,’" he said.The title of the operation could not be confirmed Tuesday. Liechty said the operation included signs that indicated some sort of drug checkpoint ahead.Spillman said it was no coincidence that the operation took place at the same time as the festival.In June 2000, Martin responded to the controversy around the operation. He said it only made sense to conduct the operation when there’s the greatest chance for drugs to pass through."Any administrator with any thinking ability would target a time when the possibility of a drug flow on a roadway would be at its highest," Martin said.Complete Title: Telluride Bluegrass Festival To Sue Over Roadside Checks Source: Durango Herald, The (US CO)Author: Matt Joyce, Herald Staff WriterPublished: May 9, 2001Copyright: 2001 The Durango Herald Website: letters durangoherald.comRelated Articles & Web Site:Telluride Bluegrass Festival Roadblocks Struck Down Strikes Down Drug Checkpoints
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Comment #6 posted by Melchizedek on May 10, 2001 at 11:23:55 PT
road block
you think Telluride is bad,Try going to Reggae on the River outside of Garberville california.the CHP sets up a mobile narc wagon outside of the Main entrance of the Concert site
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Comment #5 posted by kaptinemo on May 10, 2001 at 05:16:17 PT:
The ACLU Bustcard...don't leave home without it!
Once more, in the interests of preserving your dwindling rights:The ACLU Bustcard: carry a small tape recorder in your shirt pocket and activate it before you speak with Officer Boot.Or: have a cell phone set to speed dial an old-style tape answering machine at home. The kind that can record for at least 30 minutes.Follow the directions on the Bustcard and under no circumstances give permission for your person or your vehicle to be searched. Clam up when they try to get chummy. Mention that 'your lawyer' has told you not to allow searches without warrants. Minimal information, soldier, you are facing the enemy: name, rank and service number! So long as you have made it plain that you do not agree to the search and stand on your 4th Amendment rights, anything they find after illegally searching you or your vehicle can be thrown out as 'fruit of the poisoned tree'. Which is why the recording is so important; in cases where the judge is a 'good buddy' of the cops, and might be tempted to lean on the cop's side in the event of ipse dixit (cop's word against yours) you will have the edge.Know yer damn' rights!
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Comment #4 posted by freedom fighter on May 09, 2001 at 20:11:38 PT
You made me think man!If anyone, (god forbid this), ever comes up to that kind of situation, just stop right in the middle of the lane causing huge traffic jam, meanwhile, explain to others what is going on. Put your car hood up and unplug some plug while you are pretending to figure out what is wrong with your stupid car.. Imagine a traffic jam caused by a stalled car in the middle of a road while officerjackboots are 200 feet away... 200,300,500 cars, oops, sorry sir, my car broke down can you help me push it off??Piss the d*&k out of them, would'nt it?? ":)\/ff
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Comment #3 posted by inca on May 09, 2001 at 16:20:44 PT
Unwarranted & Unreasonable
 I'm afraid that if I ever drive into one of these "checkpoints" I will ask the officer(s)"Am I wanted as a witness,a suspect, or an accomplice in any crime?" When they inform me that I am not I will simply drive on. They will no doubt chase me down but I will fight it tooth and nail. It is a shame that some people have no regard of our precious constitution. Fascism is upon us. We must resist with all of our courage & conviction. 
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Comment #2 posted by freetheherb on May 09, 2001 at 14:23:04 PT
tyrany in the US
this is another example of police and governmental tyranny against the saddens me to think our constitution is no longer the norm..our "rights" are so very little in the face of the babylon establishment...
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Comment #1 posted by Cuzn Buzz on May 09, 2001 at 13:12:46 PT:
Typical.Todays law enforcers seek was to "get around" the law so that they may continue to harrass people.We need to keep up with who is doing what because retribution is called for and the day is a coming!
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