Five Minutes Five Issues: United States, Charges Dropped, Search Warrant, Schedule One, Jefferson’s Day
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The Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity welcomes you to Five Minutes Five Issues.
Starting in five four three two one.
Hello, I am Adam Dick, a Ron Paul Institute senior fellow.
In the July 4 episode of the Ron Paul Liberty Report, Ron Paul explained that early on people would say “the United States are.” Later, people instead said “the United States is.” Changing from using “are” to using “is,” Paul explains, accompanied moving away from viewing the states as “Free and Independent States”— what they were termed in the Declaration of Independence.
Steven Nelson reported Friday at the Washington Examiner that US prosecutors are dropping all charges against the remaining 39 defendants from among more than 230 people arrested in protests in Washington, DC on Donald Trump’s presidential inauguration day. Nelson explains:
The decision follows two unsuccessful trials in which jurors either acquitted or deadlocked on charges against members of a largely black-clad anti-capitalism march. Other cases were dropped after a judge found prosecutors improperly withheld evidence.Nelson also relates some of the pressure exerted to secure guilty pleas. Nelson writes:
Prosecutors sought to force plea deals through use of tough felony charges that by statute could have brought more than 70 years in prison. Twenty people pleaded guilty to a single misdemeanor count of rioting in exchange for a year on probation.Issue three.
The Iowa Supreme Court, in deciding the case of Iowa v. Ingram last week, found greater protection against warrantless “inventory searches” of vehicles under the state Constitution’s search and seizure provision than the US Supreme Court has found under the US Constitution’s similarly-worded Fourth Amendment provision. The court’s opinion contrasts the state’s “recent caselaw” emphasizing the “robust character” of the state’s constitutional protection with recent US Supreme Court decisions that “generally have sought to minimize the scope of individual protection under the Fourth Amendment.” The opinion criticizes the US Supreme Court’s recent “revisionist trend” that involves neglecting the “warrant requirement expressly contained in the Fourth Amendment” while promoting “a free-floating and open-ended concept of ‘reasonableness’” to justify warrantless searches.
Police often conduct inventory searches of vehicles being impounded — upon a driver’s arrest or in other circumstances, such as in the Iowa case where police determined the vehicle’s registration had expired. The search can uncover evidence of a crime. In the Iowa case, the driver was arrested after police claimed they found a bag containing an illegal drug and drug paraphernalia in the warrantless inventory search.
The Iowa court rejected the US Supreme Court’s deference to local police policy regarding warrantless inventory searches. It also criticized the US Supreme Court protecting wide discretion in stops and arrests of drivers for minor traffic violations. The Iowa Supreme Court declared:
An essentially unregulated legal framework allowing wide police discretion in stopping, arresting, and conducting warrantless inventory searches of the driver’s automobile amounts to a general warrant regime that is anathema to search and seizure law.Issue four.
A Senate Appropriations Committee report accompanying legislation providing appropriations for the Department Health and Human Services (S 3158) directs the National Institute on Drug Abuse to "provide a short report on the barriers to research that result from the classification of drugs and compounds as Schedule 1 substances." Schedule 1 carries the most restrictions in the US government’s Controlled Substances Act. The report released last week also expresses concern that Schedule 1 restrictions "effectively limit the amount and type of research that can be conducted on certain Schedule 1 drugs, especially marijuana or its component chemicals and certain synthetic drugs."
Tom Angell notes at Forbes that the committee also included similar language in its report accompanying last year’s version of the appropriations bill.
In an editorial this week, Fox News Senior Judicial Analyst and Ron Paul Institute Advisory Board Member Andrew Napolitano pointed out a difference between now and when Declaration of Independence drafter Thomas Jefferson lived. Napolitano writes:
In Jefferson’s day, the voters knew all that the government did, and it knew nothing about them. Today government operates largely in secrecy, and it knows our every move and captures our every communication.-----
That’s a wrap.
Transcripts of Five Minutes Five Issues episodes, including links to related information, are at the Ron Paul Institute blog.
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