Commentary: recent police action a threat to personal liberty

| Mar 7, 2017 | Firm News

It’s hard to imagine virtually any resident of Arkansas or any other state not having a bit of a problem with a police officer who simply approaches and asks for identification, absent any reason whatever to suspect that a criminal act has been — or is about to be — committed.

Because this is true: Americans treasure their personal liberty, which is safeguarded in multiple ways by laws that have evolved over generations and centrally relate to the country’s unique historical experience that honors individual rights.

We openly note that on a page of our website at Robertson, Oswalt, Nony & Associates discussing search-and-seizure issues in the criminal law realm, stating that, “What separates the United States from other countries is that our Constitution protects private citizens from public intrusion.”

As staunch defense practitioners, we honor that legacy every day through the best-effort advocacy we bring to bear on behalf of individuals involved in police interactions that are rendered suspect or questionable by troublesome behavior surrounding searches and seizures of evidence.

Most defense attorneys are busy on that score, for this reason: The explicit “probable cause” requirement embedded in the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution, which serves to check unreasonable police actions, is far from being scrupulously adhered to by law enforcers.

In fact, constitutional lines that prominently mark the acceptable limits of police conduct are often crossed, with individuals’ personal liberties being compromised in the process.

A recent story that focuses centrally upon multiple — and arguably concerning — issues arising from a warrantless search of a plane full of passengers conducted by customs agents lacking probable cause centrally examines those constitutional boundaries,

Its author finds the police action described therein to be troubling and suggestive of behavior that, if left unchecked, will serve to progressively chip away collectively at individual freedoms in the future.

We’ll take a look at that story in our next blog post.

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