Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2002/12/07

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Subject: Re: [Leica] The Police and the Constitution
From: S Dimitrov <>
Date: Sat, 07 Dec 2002 12:03:25 -0800
References: <> <>

Damn spel check; make that statutes

At the kind of events, or activities, that I cover there is usually a
lawyer, if not a team. More often than not, they will be there with a
book of statuettes to point to the boys in blue what the legal rights
Lately, the DoJ, has been having its own observers on the ground, in
causal uniform, with a DoJ patch on their shirts and hats. This was an
outcome of the persistent tense relations between the LAPD and the
But I don't want anybody to think that I'm anti police from my
commentaries. In my case I've seen them hold the line between a melee to
an outright meltdown, without the use of force, that is nothing short of
miraculous. The LAPD Labor Detail in particular, is a model used by the
rest of the country. Their ability to mediate on the spot and diffuse a
situation, I'm beginning to think, is worthy of a photographic essay.
Slobodan Dimitrov

Marc James Small wrote:
> The US Supreme Court has, on at least several occasions, held that the
> police have the right to ask you your name and for identification, day or
> night, without the need for probable cause that you are involved in any
> improper activity.  And, if you have identification, you are required to
> show this to them, be it as little as an envelope with your address on it.
> Beyond that, the muddy waters start moiling and roiling.  The above is
> FEDERAL law;  many states have tighter standards but none can have ones
> more favorable to the police than the Federal standards.
> If a police officer asks you to stop, you must generally do so.  (At four
> in the morning, an anonymous voice blaring out of the dark to "halt!" could
> probably be ignored but I'd not go much further than that.)
> But, beyond that, a police officer needs to have "probable cause" to stop
> you save for a reasonably established road-block.  If a crime has been
> committed, or is reasonably believed to be in progress, the police may stop
> everyone until they can identify them.
> The Supreme Court detests the police's distinction between "detained" and
> "arrested".  If you are not free to leave, you are under arrest, whether or
> not those magic words are uttered by Sergeant Murphy or Lieutenant Arsat or
> whoever.  The police will splutter and moan, and the local courts will find
> a work-around to protect the image of the Force but, in the end, if you
> cannot leave, you are under arrest.
> I am not aware of any "24-hour rule", at least here in Virginia.  Here, if
> you are arrested, you must be charged "in a reasonable time";  our local
> courts normally accord the police two to four hours to get to a magistrate
> and to swear out the warrant.  And, if you are drunk or on drugs, you can
> be held until you have sobered up, normally six hours or so.  But that is it.
> The standards are simply set out, but their application in a given set of
> circumstances is much tougher, as Brian has repeated set out.  One thing to
> bear in mind is that the Courts, including the US Supreme Court, will
> always give the police a LOT more leeway at 3 in the morning than they have
> at 3 in the afternoon, though all Courts deny doing so and become upset if
> you argue this before them, even if you then win the case.
> So, a public event at 12 noon is under a far more stringent standard to be
> observed by the minions of the law than would be a chance encounter on a
> back alley-way at 2:22 in the AM.
> Marc
>  FAX:  +276/343-7315
> Cha robh bąs fir gun ghrąs fir!
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In reply to: Message from "Austin Franklin" <> (RE: [Leica] Is this believable?)
Message from Marc James Small <> ([Leica] The Police and the Constitution)