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View Full Version : Some infringement on constitutional rights is OK?


stag1500
08-13-2008, 8:50 AM
This is pretty disturbing article. It seems like the police state is alive and well.

http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5jypHZNgftqxSfgX2MymtfD-6oIIwD92H96M00


Crime-ridden Arkansas town expands 24-hour curfew
By JON GAMBRELL – 8 hours ago

HELENA-WEST HELENA, Ark. (AP) — Officers armed with military rifles have been stopping and questioning passers-by in a neighborhood plagued by violence that's been under a 24-hour curfew for a week.

On Tuesday, the Helena-West Helena City Council voted 9-0 to allow police to expand that program into any area of the city, despite a warning from a lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union of Arkansas that the police stops were unconstitutional.

Police Chief Fred Fielder said the patrols have netted 32 arrests since they began last week in a 10-block neighborhood in this small town on the banks of the Mississippi River long troubled by poverty. The council said those living in the city want the random shootings and drug-fueled violence to stop, no matter what the cost.

"Now if somebody wants to sue us, they have an option to sue, but I'm fairly certain that a judge will see it the way the way the citizens see it here," Mayor James Valley said. "The citizens deserve peace, that some infringement on constitutional rights is OK and we have not violated anything as far as the Constitution."

The area under curfew, in what used to be a West Helena neighborhood, sits among abandoned homes and occupied residences in disrepair.

White signs on large blue barrels warn those passing by that the area remains under curfew by order of Mayor James Valley. The order was scheduled to end at 3 p.m. Tuesday, but Valley said the city council's vote would allow police to have the same powers across Helena-West Helena.

Among the curfew operation's arrests, 10 came from felony charges, including the arrest of two people carrying both drugs and weapons, Fielder said. The police chief said the officers in the field carry military-style M-16 or M-4 rifles, some equipped with laser sights. Other officers carry short-barrel shotguns. Many dealing crack cocaine and marijuana in the city carry pistols and AK-47 assault rifles, he said.

"We've had people call us, expressing concern for their children," Fielder said. "They had to sleep on the floor, because of stray bullets."

Fielder said officers had not arrested anyone for violating the curfew, only questioned people about why they were outside. Those without good answers or acting nervously get additional attention, Fielder said.

However, such stops likely violate residents' constitutional rights to freely assemble and protections against unreasonable police searches, said Holly Dickson, a lawyer for the ACLU of Arkansas who addressed the council at its packed Tuesday meeting. Because of that, Dickson said any convictions coming from the arrests likely would be overturned.

"The residents of these high-crime areas are already victims," she said. "They're victims of what are happening in the neighborhoods, they're victims of fear. But for them to be subject to unlawful stops and questioning ... that is not going to ultimately going to help this situation."

The council rejected Dickson's claims, at one point questioning the Little Rock-based attorney if she'd live in a neighborhood they described as under siege by wild gunfire and gangs.

"As far as I'm concerned, at 3 o'clock in the morning, nobody has any business being on the street, except the law," Councilman Eugene "Red" Johnson said. "Anyone out at 3 o'clock shouldn't be out on the street, unless you're going to the hospital."

The curfew is the second under the mayor's watch since the rival cities of Helena and West Helena merged in 2006. That year, Valley set a nightly citywide curfew after a rash of burglaries and other thefts.

Police in Hartford, Conn., began enforcing a nightly curfew for youths after recent violence, including a weekend shooting that killed a man and wounded six young people.

Helena-West Helena, with 15,000 residents at the edge of Arkansas' eastern rice fields and farmland, is in one of the nation's poorest regions, trailing even parts of Appalachia in its standard of living.

In the curfew area, those inside the homes in the watch area peered out of door cracks Tuesday as police cruisers passed. They closed the doors afterward.

bohoki
08-13-2008, 8:53 AM
last i checked the only constitutional peace we are allowed is of the grave

__________________
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GenLee
08-13-2008, 9:06 AM
Unbelievably disturbing. :mad:

BigBamBoo
08-13-2008, 9:15 AM
................

thomasanelson
08-13-2008, 10:06 AM
He who relinquishes liberty for temporary safety deserves neither.

M. Sage
08-13-2008, 12:21 PM
Wow. That's the very definition of martial law!! Can a city council declare martial law??? :confused:

nobody_special
08-13-2008, 12:28 PM
The Supreme Court has taken a liking to "interest-balancing" arguments against Constitutional rights. See, for example:

US v. Martinez-Fuerte
National Treasury Employees Union v. Von Raab (http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/cgi-bin/getcase.pl?navby=case&court=US&vol=428&invol=543)
This recent ruling (http://www.reuters.com/article/topNews/idUSN0619904520080807?feedType=RSS&feedName=topNews&sp=true) (not SCOTUS)
That is not an exhaustive list...

bobbarker
08-13-2008, 12:34 PM
Amen Thomas Nelson. This is completely ridiculous. I sincerely hope they do get sued.

5968
08-13-2008, 1:53 PM
Some infringement on constitutional rights is OK. I mean, those in power surely would not abuse power...

Seriously, this is some scary stuff.

Mssr. Eleganté
08-13-2008, 3:41 PM
Um, wouldn't a 24-hour curfew mean that nobody could leave their house at any time? This is not a curfew. This is a 24-hour suspension of the Fourth Amendment.

Cato
08-13-2008, 4:31 PM
What's going on there? When martial law has to be imposed on a town in peace time, it sounds like the majority of the residents are gangbangers. The cops having military grade weapons makes me think the town is plagued with zombies.

cybersurveyor
08-13-2008, 6:29 PM
What's going on there? When martial law has to be imposed on a town in peace time, it sounds like the majority of the residents are gangbangers. The cops having military grade weapons makes me think the town is plagued with zombies.

Time to call in the Zombie Squad.... http://zombiehunters.org/index.php


"With a median income of $19,896 for a household, the city is one of the poorest in the nation." - Wikipedia

In fact Arkansas is ranked 49th in per capita income being beaten only by Mississippi... Thank GOD for the Clinton Legacy or they'd really be up sh!!!!!!!!!t creek....

Proof that socialism works?

javalos
08-13-2008, 6:57 PM
Some infringements is never okay, obviously we have someone that needs to be fired from his job because its gone to his head.

TheDM
08-13-2008, 7:02 PM
Wow. That's the very definition of martial law!! Can a city council declare martial law??? :confused:

My Guess is... yes, but only once ;)

Nevermore
08-13-2008, 7:40 PM
"With a median income of $19,896 for a household, the city is one of the poorest in the nation." - Wikipedia

In fact Arkansas is ranked 49th in per capita income being beaten only by Mississippi...
Heh. This reminds me of Annapolis:

Jake Huard: Look, I don't get it. Why are you still here?
Twins: You want to know why I stay in this room?
Jake Huard: Yeah.
Twins: Cause Jake, you're my Mississippi.
Jake Huard: I'm your what?
Twins: People who live in Arkansas, you know what their favorite state is?
Jake Huard: No.
Twins: Mississippi. Cause Mississippi's the only thing that keeps Arkansas from being the worst state in the whole country.
Jake Huard: I'm Mississippi.
Twins: Well you sure as hell ain't California. Listen, Cole and Whitaker are so busy tryin' to run you out they forgot about me. As a matter of fact, they've forgotten about every other plebe in this whole company. That's why I stay in this room Jake. Cause if Mississippi quits, then all of a sudden Arkansas is the worst state in the whole country.

Shotgun Man
08-13-2008, 8:06 PM
Welcome to GWB's America.

CA_Libertarian
08-13-2008, 8:29 PM
"The citizens deserve peace, that some infringement on constitutional rights is OK and we have not violated anything as far as the Constitution."

OK, let's break this down and analyze it:

A. The citizens deserve peace.
B. Some infringements of rights is OK
C. We [the government officials] have not violated anything as far as the Constitution.

I agree that "A" is true. Unfortunately, the same tyrants that caused the problem are trying to fix the problem - by force.

"B" depends on your definition of "OK." Do we mean "OK" with the courts or "OK" among decent, honest, and moral human beings? I find myself in disagreement with the courts in most civil rights cases.

"C" is laughable. Gotta give the guy credit for that recovery though. Mid-sentence he made a U-turn from "it's OK for us to violate rights" to "we aren't violating rights."


Now, let us all consider this: what would you do if this was your neighborhood? Don't tell me what I want to hear - don't say what you would want to do. Start thinking about that. Until I read this I didn't think tyranny existed this blatantly in the U.S. If these thugs go unpunished, expect to see it happen A LOT MORE. Start making plans; this sort of thing may be coming to your neighborhood next.

nobody_special
08-13-2008, 8:37 PM
Now, let us all consider this: what would you do if this was your neighborhood? Don't tell me what I want to hear - don't say what you would want to do. Start thinking about that. Until I read this I didn't think tyranny existed this blatantly in the U.S. If these thugs go unpunished, expect to see it happen A LOT MORE. Start making plans; this sort of thing may be coming to your neighborhood next.

I'd be talking to my neighbors about organizing a watch, in order to protect the neighborhood against criminals. (And by criminals, I mean both the homicidal gang member kind, and the oppressive government kind.)

I'd probably try talking to the police and local politicians as well, but in the situation described I wouldn't expect much in the way of results... in which case, the next step would be a phone call to a lawyer.

Theseus
08-13-2008, 8:52 PM
The problem is that these people have more important things in their lives to worry about than a corrupt and overreaching government. These are the exact people that rely on the government and allow the government to abuse their power.

Now, if the police did this in my neighborhood I would tell then exactly what they can do with their questions. I will take care of the bangers myself...Amazing how well I can see with a pair of night vision binoculars.

Out at 3 AM? Yeah. . . I couldn't sleep so I thought I would get some fresh air. . . Papers? I don't have my papers. . nor do I have the yellow star sewn on my shirt sleeve.

RomanDad
08-13-2008, 9:17 PM
Note to Self: Cancel vacation to West Helena Arkansas.

anthonyca
08-13-2008, 9:40 PM
This makes me angry but not suprized. What really makes me angry is I was talking about this sort of thing today and they guys at lunch were laughing then making jokes about conspiracy theory and how I am an alarmist. I reminded one of the guys about how he was stopped by the police in his work van and how they AGRISIVLY questioned him and tried to pin a purse snatching on him. He changed his tone real quick and got extremely angry when he remembered how he felt. We MUST not let this happen in the greatest country in the world. Stop the welfare state creating these criminals and punish the ones who deserve it. It is a small number of people who commit crimes over and over. I am just preaching to the chiror here but man it makes me angry that more people dont see where we are headed. They are sooooo ignorant and know nothing about history and the fall of nations. I will keep my opinions and state the facts and let them call me crazy.