So, I’ve been pulled over a few times in my life. Not many, but a few. And I’ve also been in a couple of cars that got pulled over. And let me tell you, if you were actually doing something wrong, the officer doesn’t make any small talk, just straight into “I clocked you doing 70 in a 55.” The only time I’ve ever gotten the “do you know why I pulled you over?” was the time when I wasn’t doing anything wrong, and I got let go even though he insisted to the end that I was doing 87 in a 70 (white privilege at work).

“Do you know why I pulled you over?” is a trap. It means there’s a good chance the officer doesn’t actually have a good reason to ticket you, and is trying to get you to waive your 5th Amendment rights and incriminate yourself. If you make a guess, that’s a confession of guilt.

But there’s another trap, that I’ve heard of but haven’t yet experienced. It’s “do you know how fast you were going?” With that one, they’re hoping you’ll say no, because then they can name whatever speed they want – you just said you didn’t know how fast you were going, if you deny the speed they name then you’re lying to them.


James Duane is one of my professors. In 2008, he recorded a lecture about why you should never, under any circumstances, talk to the police, vouched for by a police officer. It’s gotten over 6,000,000 views now, for good reason; he’s a pretty rad guy.

This is a charming excerpt which you may enjoy. The full video is about 45 minutes long, but is well worth watching or listening to if you’re interested in the topic.

anonymous asked:

What Article and Section of the Constitution explicitly proves that a temporary travel ban for non-resident, non-green-card-holding individuals is unconstitutional? No one's been able to answer that. Can you?

The 5th Amendment prohibits deprivation of property without due process of law. Even if the applicants themselves do not have any due process rights, U.S. citizen family members or U.S.-based employers or institutions with which the applicant is affiliated may have a constitutional interest in the non-resident individual’s admission. I’d refer you to Kerry v. Din, 135 S. Ct. 2128, 2139 (2015) (Kennedy, J., concurring in judgment); id. at 2142 (Breyer, J., dissenting); Kleindienst v. Mandel, 408 U.S. 753, 762-65 (1972). I would also note that longstanding immigration law forbids discrimination on the basis of nationality for immigrant visas.

The Equal Protection component of the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment, since the executive order:

1. discriminates against people based on their country of origin;

2. was motivated by Donald Trump wanting to keep out Muslims (given his multiple, very public statements to this effect – see http://fortune.com/2016/06/28/donald-trump-muslim-ban/); and

3. has a disparate effect on individuals who practice Islam.

It also violates the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. § 1152(a)(1)(A), which forbids discrimination based on a person’s race, nationality, place of birth, or place of residence when issuing visas. Here’s some great reading on this case and the various arguments: https://www.aclu.org/cases/darweesh-v-trump.

RIGHT TO REMAIN SILENT The court ruled that a suspect’s failure to answer a police officer’s questions before an arrest may be used against the suspect at trial.

The Supreme Court has long said the Fifth Amendment’s protection against self-incrimination applies after arrest and at trial. But it had never decided, in the words of a 1980 decision, “whether or under what circumstances pre-arrest silence” in the face of questioning by law enforcement personnel is entitled to protection.

The case decided Monday, Salinas v. Texas, No. 12-246, arose from the 1992 murder of two brothers, Juan and Hector Garza, in Houston. Among the evidence the police found were discarded shotgun shells.

The police questioned Genovevo Salinas, who was said to have attended a party at the Garzas’ apartment. Mr. Salinas answered questions for almost an hour but would not say if a shotgun the police had taken from his home would match the recovered shells.

At trial, a prosecutor commented on Mr. Salinas’s silence about the shells. “An innocent person,” the prosecutor told the jury, “is going to say: ‘What are you talking about? I didn’t do that. I wasn’t there.’ He didn’t respond that way. He didn’t say, ‘No, it’s not going to match up.’ ”

Mr. Salinas was convicted and sentenced to 20 years in prison.

SENTENCING The court overruled a 2002 decision that had required judges to impose mandatory minimum sentences even if they were not supported by jury findings.


Teacher disciplined for informing kids of 5th amendment rights

High school teacher John Dryden from Illinois faces disciplinary action from his school district for informing kids they had the right to not answer questions on a school survey. The questions were about the kids’ tobacco, drug, and alcohol use, and answering them might have incriminated the kids. The Resident (aka Lori Harfenist) discusses the story.

Why Should I Care That No Ones Reading Dzhokhar Tsarnaev His Miranda Rights?

When the law gets bent out of shape for him, it’s easier to bend out of shape for the rest of us. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev will not hear his Miranda rights before the FBI questions him Friday night. He will have to remember on his own that he has a right to a lawyer, and that anything he says can be used against him in court, because the government wont tell him. This…

American 'Kill List'

So here is some more information on how one ends up on the list of Americans to be killed by order of the president: Secret panel can put Americans on “kill list’. Here is my favorite part…

Officials confirmed that a second American, Samir Khan, was killed in the drone attack that killed Awlaki. Khan had served as editor of Inspire, a glossy English-language magazine used by AQAP as a propaganda and recruitment vehicle.

But rather than being specifically targeted by drone operators, Khan was in the wrong place at the wrong time, officials said. Ruppersberger appeared to confirm that, saying Khan’s death was "collateral,” meaning he was not an intentional target of the drone strike.

So the second American killed was just ‘collateral’ which means he was basically guilty through association. Glad that got cleared up, I would hate for there to be any controversy on the second death.

Apple's Fingerprint ID May Mean You Can't 'Take the Fifth' | Wired Opinion | Wired.com

While there’s a great deal of discussion around the pros and cons of fingerprint authentication, no one’s focusing on the *legal* effects of moving from PINs to fingerprints. Because the constitutional protection of the Fifth Amendment may not apply when it comes to fingerprints (things that reflect who we are) as opposed to passwords and PINs (things we need to know).

(this was posted on September 12th; I just saw it now)

Watch on physys.tumblr.com

Don’t talk to the police. 

Wow this is incredibly educational. It’s not necessarily that police officers are bad, it’s that our law system is such that you can’t legally help yourself by making statements, but you CAN hurt yourself. Yikes. I think everyone should watch this. Don’t be put off by the length.  For good measure they bring in a former cop that gives his side of the story and it is just as good.

This is scary as hell. Even if you are innocent and say something like “I was not there” it can still end up being used against you if someone else makes a small mistake or something. So watch this if you are innocent and watch this if you are guilty.

A few points about justice in America:

• Dispersing protests and creating “free speech zones” directly violates the 1st Amendment.
• Warrantless home searches and wiretapping directly violate the 4th Amendment.
• “Stop and frisk” methods directly violate the 4th Amendment.
• Getting confessions by beating or terrifying suspects directly violates the 5th Amendment.
• Killing any suspect when a person’s life is not immediately in danger–yes, even when a suspect is fleeing–directly violates the 5th Amendment.
• Asset forfeiture, the common practice of seizing property in drug arrests, directly violates the 5th Amendment.
• Prolonged imprisonment before trial directly violates the 6th Amendment.
• Setting bail that is too high for a defendant to pay, guaranteeing they are kept in prison awaiting trial for a bailable offense, directly violates the 8th Amendment.

So, yeah, we’re not doing too well these days with that whole Bill Of Rights thing.