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View Full Version : Incident with the police, Should I send in a complaint letter?


kuhjäger
09-14-2007, 1:13 PM
Background:
I live here in Santa Cruz, and a couple of weeks ago I was returning from the range with my girlfriend and my housemate. We were unable to park infront of my house, and therefore had to park about four houses down.

I took my shotgun out of the car, which was locked, unloaded, and in a locked case, not all that obvious what it was to the untrained eye. Could have been a basoon.

After going two houses, a police cruiser was driving by, saw us, and set out the whoop thing, turned on the lights, jumped out of the car and told me to put down the gun. Within two minutes there were three other cruisers there, and the original officer approached, patted all three of us down, and then asked for our drivers liscences, and took the gun.

He told me that he was going to check if the gun was legal, and had me unlock the case. They then walked over to the car carrying the shotgun, and called in my info and such.

Now an important part of this is the location. Right infront of a halfway house for recovering meth addicts. Now while all these people are trying to get back into socitey, it is not the best thing for them to know, or any of my neighbors to know that I have a gun. And with four police cars with their lights on and a bunch of officers everyone now knows that I had a gun.

So we wait about 20 minutes, and everything is determined to be legit, and I wish them a safe evening.

Now I think that the way that the police officers handled this was wrong, and I would like to write to the police department about it. Because of their actions all my neighbors know I have at least one gun, and know where I live.
Am I right in wanting to complain without filing a formal complaint against SCPD?

WolfMansDad
09-14-2007, 1:19 PM
I would file a complaint. You weren't doing anything illegal or even suspicious, from the sound of it. This is just harassment.

Would they have had good reason to pull you out of your car and check your registration, just to make sure the car wasn't stolen?

You should file a complaint, if not for your own benefit, at least for the benefit of the next law-abiding gun owner they decide to harass.

Bizcuits
09-14-2007, 1:26 PM
This is just harassment.

Harassment would mean they actually sat down and said "hey lets go pick on that guy"... I love how people instantly draw to the "OH MY GOD THIS IS HARASSMENT!"

This was just poor judgement on a cop trying to be proactive instead of reactive.

And yes, If I were you, I would complain, I'd suggest not jumpin on the harassment band wagon when you file the complaint though. Just explain the situation and identify the parties involved "badge#, name, patrol car id#s etc". Be sure you include the fact your case was already locked.

GSequoia
09-14-2007, 1:27 PM
Yes. Harassment is when it happens more than once to the same person or group of persons ;)

AJAX22
09-14-2007, 1:31 PM
Yes. Harassment is when it happens more than once to the same person or group of persons ;)

group of persons...... like gun owners perhapse? :eek:

dfletcher
09-14-2007, 1:33 PM
What do you think the odds are that they'll NOT respond as quickly if one of the meth heads tries to break into you place?

GSequoia
09-14-2007, 1:39 PM
group of persons...... like gun owners perhapse? :eek:

Yes, like gun owners perhaps.

At this point we do not know if that is the common practice of that police department or of it was one overly active officer.

GSequoia
09-14-2007, 1:40 PM
What do you think the odds are that they'll NOT respond as quickly if one of the meth heads tries to break into you place?

If an officer happened to be driving by and saw the tweaker breaking in I bet the responce time would be the same.

Apples to oranges comparing an officer happening to see something and stopping verses a responce to a call.

Wulf
09-14-2007, 1:41 PM
You should file a complaint, if not for your own benefit, at least for the benefit of the next law-abiding gun owner they decide to harass.


You should file a complaint for your own benifit, so that if your house gets robbed, or if you get injured during a break in, or if you have to smoke a tweeker in your entry way, you'll have a nice foundation for a civil suit against the City for making you a target.

JawBone
09-14-2007, 1:42 PM
If an LEO sees you on a public street with a gun on your person, the officer is allowed to check the weapon to see if it is loaded. If you refuse, the LEO can arrest you.

I'd chalk it up to experience. Next time, double park closer to your house and take the gun inside...discreetly wrapped in something not resembling a gun.

Cal. Penal Code 12031(e):

In order to determine whether or not a firearm is loaded for
the purpose of enforcing this section, peace officers are authorized
to examine any firearm carried by anyone on his or her person or in a
vehicle while in any public place or on any public street in an
incorporated city or prohibited area of an unincorporated territory.
Refusal to allow a peace officer to inspect a firearm pursuant to
this section constitutes probable cause for arrest for violation of
this section.

GSequoia
09-14-2007, 1:45 PM
Kinda reminds me of a bit of an ammusing story.

When my ten days was up and I picked up my M44 from Big 5 and brought it home a couple of Redondo Beach Police Officers were at a neighbors door for some reason (doubt it was anything bad...). I felt a bit funny walking up the stairs (apartment building) holding the rifle box and a rifle bag!

(They didn't say anything or even react to it)

pnkssbtz
09-14-2007, 1:48 PM
If an LEO sees you on a public street with a gun on your person, the officer is allowed to check the weapon to see if it is loaded. If you refuse, the LEO can arrest you.

I'd chalk it up to experience. Next time, double park closer to your house and take the gun inside...discreetly wrapped in something not resembling a gun.

The officer did not see a gun. The officer saw a LARGE CASE.

I actually have a rifle case that I use for things other than firearms. I store about 150 figurines in it (it was a cheap case).


Thats like pulling over a car to make sure there are no drugs inside. The cop doesn't see any drugs but sees a vehicle that can be used to convey drugs.



Now if the cop asked "Do you have a gun in that case?" and you said "yes" then that would be different, now the cop knows there is a gun in that case.


What if I had a pelican case and had camera equipment in it?


Case != Gun

megavolt121
09-14-2007, 2:01 PM
Background:
I live here in Santa Cruz, and a couple of weeks ago I was returning from the range with my girlfriend and my housemate. We were unable to park infront of my house, and therefore had to park about four houses down.

I took my shotgun out of the car, which was locked, unloaded, and in a locked case, not all that obvious what it was to the untrained eye. Could have been a basoon.

After going two houses, a police cruiser was driving by, saw us, and set out the whoop thing, turned on the lights, jumped out of the car and told me to put down the gun. Within two minutes there were three other cruisers there, and the original officer approached, patted all three of us down, and then asked for our drivers liscences, and took the gun.

He told me that he was going to check if the gun was legal, and had me unlock the case. They then walked over to the car carrying the shotgun, and called in my info and such.

Now an important part of this is the location. Right infront of a halfway house for recovering meth addicts. Now while all these people are trying to get back into socitey, it is not the best thing for them to know, or any of my neighbors to know that I have a gun. And with four police cars with their lights on and a bunch of officers everyone now knows that I had a gun.

So we wait about 20 minutes, and everything is determined to be legit, and I wish them a safe evening.

Now I think that the way that the police officers handled this was wrong, and I would like to write to the police department about it. Because of their actions all my neighbors know I have at least one gun, and know where I live.
Am I right in wanting to complain without filing a formal complaint against SCPD?

I have dealt with SCPD plenty of times and in each incident they have been 100% professional and courteous.

What is the point of your complaint? Do you want the individual officers reprimanded for treating you this way? Do you want policy change? If you just complain without a formal complaint, nothing will be done and your complaint will be ignored. If you want to file a complaint without formally filing one, write a letter to the editor of the Sentinel and mention something other than firearms, such as illegal search.

CavTrooper
09-14-2007, 2:15 PM
You know, I think it would be really nice if the police were made to "walk the beat" like they did in the old days. Travel the nieghborhoods on foot, meet and greet with the people, just be forced to be more personally interactive. Maybe the bad ones wouldnt be so bad then. Especially new police officers, for the first year or two, dont give them guns, just give them a nightstick and a radio, if they need help call for the armed response units.
It would make for alot nicer police and safer neighborhoods IMHO.

kuhjäger
09-14-2007, 2:18 PM
I have dealt with SCPD plenty of times and in each incident they have been 100% professional and courteous.

What is the point of your complaint? Do you want the individual officers reprimanded for treating you this way? Do you want policy change? If you just complain without a formal complaint, nothing will be done and your complaint will be ignored. If you want to file a complaint without formally filing one, write a letter to the editor of the Sentinel and mention something other than firearms, such as illegal search.

It is not the fact that I was searched that bothers me, it is the manner in which it was conducted. The amount of attention that they attracted was undue in a residential neighborhood. One officer would have been fine, maybe a second car in case i unlocked the case, took out the gun, unlocked it and started to load it(which would have been enough time for the officer to walk back to his car, take out his -15 and blow all of us away). However 4 cars attracts attention, which in dealing with firearms is unnessesary. I have read on other forums that when people know you have guns, that can make you a target for theives trying to make a quick buck to score their next hit.

I asked if we could procede the 50 or so feet to my house, and handle it in the driveway, which was a little more private, and they said no. So instead they stood in the street handling my firearm in plain sight of anyone looking or walking or driving by.

And as a side not, it did make me cough up the cash to get a safe.

CalNRA
09-14-2007, 2:27 PM
I have dealt with SCPD plenty of times and in each incident they have been 100% professional and courteous.

What is the point of your complaint? Do you want the individual officers reprimanded for treating you this way? Do you want policy change? If you just complain without a formal complaint, nothing will be done and your complaint will be ignored. If you want to file a complaint without formally filing one, write a letter to the editor of the Sentinel and mention something other than firearms, such as illegal search.

The point is he was merely carrying a case, and he stopped for carrying something that *could* contain a gun, or a bassoon. It's like if a cop checked ALL the water bottles at the Down Town metro station for booze because they *could* contain Smirnoff.

to the OP:
the SCPDs I have encountered deal with mostly gang members and give out traffic tickets. Then again you see a lot of NRA logos even within the city limits.

And where about was this(west side, harbor area, UC, Branceforte)? you said it was a neighborhood with potentially shady characters? so at the least call the department and ask a higher up what made the first cop whip around and stop you, it would make a little more sense if he believed it could be a theft in progress when a guy with a large case walks down the street that's known to have methheads.

JawBone
09-14-2007, 2:32 PM
The officer did not see a gun. The officer saw a LARGE CASE.

I actually have a rifle case that I use for things other than firearms. I store about 150 figurines in it (it was a cheap case).

Thats like pulling over a car to make sure there are no drugs inside. The cop doesn't see any drugs but sees a vehicle that can be used to convey drugs.

Now if the cop asked "Do you have a gun in that case?" and you said "yes" then that would be different, now the cop knows there is a gun in that case.

What if I had a pelican case and had camera equipment in it?

Case != Gun


I like your reasoning, but the U.S. Supreme Court disagrees with you on the gun case...another reason not to use an obvious one.


"Not all containers and packages found by police during the course of a search will deserve the full protection of the Fourth Amendment. Thus, some containers (for example a kit of burglar tools or a gun case) by their very nature cannot support any reasonable expectation of privacy because their contents can be inferred from their outward appearance."

Arkansas v. Sanders (1979) 442 U.S. 753 fn.13.

...

The gun case here involved was a closed opaque container observed by Officer Burns in plain sight in defendant's automobile. Burns, on the basis of his own personal familiarity with gun cases, identified the case immediately in his mind as being what it was. In any event, a gun case, generally speaking, by its very nature cannot support a reasonable expectation of privacy because its probable contents can be inferred from its outward appearance.

People v. Green (1981) 115 Cal.App.3d 259

kuhjäger
09-14-2007, 2:39 PM
to the OP:
the SCPDs I have encountered deal with mostly gang members and give out traffic tickets. Then again you see a lot of NRA logos even within the city limits.

And where about was this(west side, harbor area, UC, Branceforte)? you said it was a neighborhood with potentially shady characters? so at the least call the department and ask a higher up what made the first cop whip around and stop you, it would make a little more sense if he believed it could be a theft in progress when a guy with a large case walks down the street that's known to have methheads.

It is west side right near laurel. I was stopped infront of a halfway house, and again, I don't have that much problem with them taking a look, it is the manner in which the situation was conducted.

CalNRA
09-14-2007, 2:50 PM
It is west side right near laurel. I was stopped infront of a halfway house, and again, I don't have that much problem with them taking a look, it is the manner in which the situation was conducted.

now it makes sense. Now you know how I think of unreasonable searches, but in this case, I'm on the fense. That area has seen some rough stuff over the years. Were you around when the Mexicans and Salvadorians were shooting each other on a weekly basis? that wasn't too far from there.(my apologies to you if you live on the hill side of mission. I'm assuming you live between Mission and River streets.)

rkt88edmo
09-14-2007, 2:52 PM
If you had a locked case and he wanted to check that before verifying that you indeed lived 4 houses down, that is ridiculous.

CavTrooper
09-14-2007, 2:54 PM
I like your reasoning, but the U.S. Supreme Court disagrees with you on the gun case...another reason not to use an obvious one.

Time to invest in some square guitar cases.

Crazed_SS
09-14-2007, 3:04 PM
I like your reasoning, but the U.S. Supreme Court disagrees with you on the gun case...another reason not to use an obvious one.

I agree with this. If someone's carrying around a gun case, then there's a pretty good chance there's a gun in there. Im thinking if you're that paranoid and want to be inconspicuous, dont use gun cases.. go Desperado style :)

Many people in my condo complex know I have guns, because whenever I go to the range, I'm lugging rifle cases, ammo cans, and everything else with me to the car. Havent been jacked yet. You gotta be pretty bold to break into the house of some guy you just saw loaded 4 guns into the car :)

Then again I guess they could just wait until you left and break in.

milsurpshooter
09-14-2007, 3:06 PM
If an LEO sees you on a public street with a gun on your person, the officer is allowed to check the weapon to see if it is loaded. If you refuse, the LEO can arrest you.

I'd chalk it up to experience. Next time, double park closer to your house and take the gun inside...discreetly wrapped in something not resembling a gun.

you should get a gun safe as well.

CalNRA
09-14-2007, 3:07 PM
Then again I guess they could just wait until you left and break in.

leave the TV on, put a mannequin on the chair nearest the window and leave the light on. Make sure you blinds or drapes have no gap for anyone to peer in. That makes it look like someone is ALWAYS home.

CavTrooper
09-14-2007, 3:08 PM
Looky here.... I like.
http://i31.photobucket.com/albums/c356/gsierra76/G3x1.jpg

BaronW
09-14-2007, 3:12 PM
Time to invest in some square guitar cases.

Indeed. Or maybe trombone? Keep your pistols in soft zipper cases in a locking violin case?

slowfire
09-14-2007, 3:21 PM
I was wondering . . . the police will definately know the location of the halfway houses within their jurisdition, just as they would safe houses for battered and abused wives etc. I know that in the case of a Battered Shelter, they routinely pass by to ensure that nothing is out of place. I was told "imagine if the abusive husband knew where his battered wife and abused children was hiding."

You pull up, probably stopped to look around to see if there were any parking spaces available, then park somewhere further down the street. The initial cruiser sees your actions and then witnesses you grab your case, but to their trained eyes, they know what is in it. They then call for backup.

I agree that it could have been handled by the officers with more tact.
You should start a paper trail.
But I would try to understand the circumstances that would lead the officers to approach the situation the way that they did.

peekay331
09-14-2007, 3:48 PM
It is not the fact that I was searched that bothers me, it is the manner in which it was conducted. The amount of attention that they attracted was undue in a residential neighborhood. One officer would have been fine, maybe a second car in case i unlocked the case, took out the gun, unlocked it and started to load it(which would have been enough time for the officer to walk back to his car, take out his -15 and blow all of us away). However 4 cars attracts attention, which in dealing with firearms is unnessesary. I have read on other forums that when people know you have guns, that can make you a target for theives trying to make a quick buck to score their next hit.

I asked if we could procede the 50 or so feet to my house, and handle it in the driveway, which was a little more private, and they said no. So instead they stood in the street handling my firearm in plain sight of anyone looking or walking or driving by.

And as a side not, it did make me cough up the cash to get a safe.
did you explain your concerns to the officers? either way, i think it's a baseless complaint. if you're that concerned about being discrete, you should have dropped off your gf with the gun closer to your house instead of walking down the street with it.

it's not reasonable to expect officers to be discrete at the cost of their security.

CalNRA
09-14-2007, 3:52 PM
it's not reasonable to expect officers to be discrete at the cost of their security.

a tactful police force can elps the people, earn the respect of the residents and become a part of the community.

an untactful police force creates resentment and fear among the citizens.

tyrist
09-14-2007, 3:58 PM
You can always make a complaint...it is your right but I will tell you that it will not go anywhere and merely generate paperwork that will have to be filled out and interview conducted before it is dispo'd unfounded.

peekay331
09-14-2007, 4:05 PM
a tactful police force can elps the people, earn the respect of the residents and become a part of the community.

an untactful police force creates resentment and fear among the citizens.
and how were the officers untactful in this instance? they searched him for their safety, ran the gun, and gave it back to him when it was clear.

sorry, but asking that they only have 1 or 2 officers there in order not to bring unwanted attention is an unreasonable request. they didn't know what his intentions were, whether he was armed, etc. after all, it's not every day you see some guy carrying a gun in a case walking down the sidewalk in an urban area.

Shane916
09-14-2007, 4:11 PM
I believe the search was reasonable as the officer had probable cause to do so.

xrMike
09-14-2007, 4:29 PM
I'd file a complaint, but that's just how I am.

pnkssbtz
09-14-2007, 4:41 PM
and how were the officers untactful in this instance? they searched him for their safety, ran the gun, and gave it back to him when it was clear.

And now the entire neighborhood knows that he owns a gun, what kind it is and where he lives.

Add in the fact that said neighborhood has a halfway house for recovering HARD CORE DRUG ADDICTS.


He might as well spilled a bag full of $20's all over the pavement and then stuffed back into a sack and continued home.




I would only say the search was reasonable IF and only IF the OP was handling the potential firearm case in a negligent fashion. Of course they didn't know what his intentions where, but if he wasn't threatening anyone how can they claim he was a potential threat thus warranting a search?



As a side note, I own over 8 pistol cases. I have NEVER placed a pistol in any of them. They are solely for storage of miniatures for wargaming. Pistol and rifle cases are the premier method of transporting figurines.

ryang
09-14-2007, 4:58 PM
The guy was walking down a residential sidewalk with an obvious firearms case in hand. Just from that an officer has no way to tell you live two doors down. He calls it in and asks you some questions. Meanwhile backup responds simply because that's procedure, and a second because there were two of you. The fourth could have just been curious and stopped to see what was up.

At that point you are being detained until the officers can verify everything is legit. You're within bounds to ask if everyone can move into your driveway to make it less conspicuous, but they're also within bounds to decline since you might use that opportunity to get away, have a friend waiting in ambush, whatever.

You live near a halfway house and you routinely transport firearms to/from your car in what are obviously firearm cases. Even without police people are going to notice sooner or later. For all you know they already have.

metalhead357
09-14-2007, 5:15 PM
I'd file a complaint, but that's just how I am.



me too.

A simpe.......very simple detention to ask "Whats in the case?" and is it unloaded? and where do you live would have sufficed more than enough. Sounds like Rookie time trying to score points with his commander.:cool:

I'd file the complaint...............

xrMike
09-14-2007, 5:21 PM
A simpe.......very simple detention to ask "Whats in the case?" and is it unloaded? and where do you live would have sufficed more than enough.Yeah, anything more is just throwing your weight (badge) around.

M. Sage
09-14-2007, 5:29 PM
IMO, he should complain. He was doing nothing wrong with no hint of wrongdoing. There was no good reason to detain and search.

Has anybody ever challenged that loaded gun search law before? Seems like it's on shaky ground, Constitutionally.

Indeed. Or maybe trombone? Keep your pistols in soft zipper cases in a locking violin case?

Bah. My range bag is just a backpack, I toss my pistol in it's case, lock the zipper and then toss that into the backpack. Much easier.

metalhead357
09-14-2007, 5:34 PM
Yeah, anything more is just throwing your weight (badge) around.


Not sure if you jest or not:confused:....either way as Sarge says...even that IS pushing it. How hard would it have been to see WHERE the guy was lugging the cases to before approaching him? Or even calling for backup BEFORE the stop if he was really ALL THAT worried about it being guns & illegal activity.....?

And I have virtually nothing good to say about runnijng the car whenst he was heading AWAY from it.....:cool:

pnkssbtz
09-14-2007, 5:41 PM
You know, I see a new loophole to search any bag or container at a whim without a warrant or consent.


Burns, on the basis of his own personal familiarity with gun cases, identified the case immediately in his mind as being what it was. In any event, a gun case, generally speaking, by its very nature cannot support a reasonable expectation of privacy because its probable contents can be inferred from its outward appearance.



*Cop points to a regular backpack...*
"Hey, can I take a look at your pistol case?"

*Cops speaking to judge in court case*
Your Honor, I observed the plaintiff carrying what I, in my "own personal familiarity with" firearm cases, identified as a container that is commonly used to transport firearms. Therefor I feel I was justified in searching what I believed to be the plaintiffs pistol case under 12031(e).

M. Sage
09-14-2007, 5:51 PM
*Cop points to a regular backpack...*
"Hey, can I take a look at your pistol case?"

I suppose it'll just have to be "sure... as soon as I see a warrant" no matter how obviously I'm transporting my gun, then.

pnkssbtz
09-14-2007, 5:56 PM
I suppose it'll just have to be "sure... as soon as I see a warrant" no matter how obviously I'm transporting my gun, then.


PC 12031(e) allows them to verify a firearm is being transported legally and ignores normal search and seizure laws. If a LEO demands it you must comply.

(As previously posted by JawBone)
Cal. Penal Code 12031(e):

In order to determine whether or not a firearm is loaded for
the purpose of enforcing this section, peace officers are authorized
to examine any firearm carried by anyone on his or her person or in a
vehicle while in any public place or on any public street in an
incorporated city or prohibited area of an unincorporated territory.
Refusal to allow a peace officer to inspect a firearm pursuant to
this section constitutes probable cause for arrest for violation of
this section.

GSequoia
09-14-2007, 6:06 PM
Given the proximity to a halfway house and the amount of addicts and likely felons there I'd call this justified. For all the cop knew you were going to clean up after somebody testified against you or your favorite dealer.

If I were in that area I would carry my weapons in a more inconspicuous manor due to the element that I know hangs around halfway houses (I'm not even remotely saying that everybody in a halfway house is bad or cannot become a good citizen again, I'm saying there is always a percentage that are only there to fulfill their court order).

icormba
09-14-2007, 6:20 PM
Given the proximity to a halfway house and the amount of addicts and likely felons there I'd call this justified. For all the cop knew you were going to clean up after somebody testified against you or your favorite dealer.

If I were in that area I would carry my weapons in a more inconspicuous manor due to the element that I know hangs around halfway houses (I'm not even remotely saying that everybody in a halfway house is bad or cannot become a good citizen again, I'm saying there is always a percentage that are only there to fulfill their court order).


I agree... walking right next to the halfway house? Even I would think that was suspicious. Also... having a guitar case for your guns could invite MORE unwanted guests to your house considering that many guitars could probably be sold for more money? not that I know all that much about guitars? The occupants of said halfway house are not stupid... they know you have something of worth in that case whatever it might be.

In this situation, I might have asked the officers if they could possibly open it somewhere else... outside of the public view? Then again, I wasn't there... so...
Or even before the cops had a chance to stop you, I probably would have had/asked my guests to transport said stuff into my home while I dropped them off right in front... then parked the car? Again, it's so hard to say "If I where you... blah blah blah" not even knowing what your area looks like. In general... your situation sucks & I feel for ya!

M. Sage
09-14-2007, 6:26 PM
PC 12031(e) allows them to verify a firearm is being transported legally and ignores normal search and seizure laws. If a LEO demands it you must comply.

(As previously posted by JawBone)

I saw that and have known about it for a while. However, I don't see how we can have our 4A rights legislated away. I don't have the money to fight it, but I'm still willing to try. ;)

Fjold
09-14-2007, 6:43 PM
I can see that 12031(e) gives an officer the right to check that any firearm is unloaded but once that is determined, what right does the officer have to detain the person and the firearm while he runs the gun's serial number to see if it's stolen?

jdberger
09-14-2007, 7:02 PM
How about this?

Write up a letter expressing your concern to the local watch commander. Send a copy to the Chief and to the original officer.

Make it clear that you are not filing a formal complaint, just that you think that the public search was a poor judgement call and that you are hoping for a little more discretion on their part in the future. Explain that you realize that the police have to walk a delicate line between the civil rights of the citizens and officer safety and enforcement. Thank them for their attention to the matter and for their professionalism and service to the community.

I'm betting you get some sort of reply. And at least you made them aware of the situation.

pnkssbtz
09-14-2007, 7:05 PM
How about this?

Write up a letter expressing your concern to the local watch commander. Send a copy to the Chief and to the original officer.

Make it clear that you are not filing a formal complaint, just that you think that the public search was a poor judgement call and that you are hoping for a little more discretion on their part in the future. Explain that you realize that the police have to walk a delicate line between the civil rights of the citizens and officer safety and enforcement. Thank them for their attention to the matter and for their professionalism and service to the community.

I'm betting you get some sort of reply. And at least you made them aware of the situation.

I would try this first. Like jdberger, you might have a better shot at a response. If this fails THEN file formal complaint.

metalhead357
09-14-2007, 7:14 PM
I would try this first. Like jdberger, you might have a better shot at a response. If this fails THEN file formal complaint.


If it twerr' me.... I could live with going that route.

sunborder
09-14-2007, 8:34 PM
If an LEO sees you on a public street with a gun on your person, the officer is allowed to check the weapon to see if it is loaded. If you refuse, the LEO can arrest you.

He didn't see him with a gun. He saw him with a locked black case. No PC to detain. Clearly a 4th amendment violation. End of story.

sunborder
09-14-2007, 8:49 PM
If an LEO sees you on a public street with a gun on your person, the officer is allowed to check the weapon to see if it is loaded. If you refuse, the LEO can arrest you.

He didn't see him with a gun. He saw him with a locked black case. No PC to detain. Clearly a 4th amendment violation. End of story.

ETA: The statute states that there is no expectation of PRIVACY pertaining to those cases. It doesn't say that seeing a case such as that is PC for a detention. Also, the law to check whether a firearm is loaded or not does not state the officer can simply walk up to anyone without cause and ask to see any firearms they are carrying. Otherwise the cops could walk down the street and ask EVERYONE (they felt like) to inspect their guns, whether they had them or not, and search them, even over protest, to insure that they were in compliance.

socalguns
09-14-2007, 11:00 PM
I agree, clearly an illegal search, and with the flashing lights

Wulf
09-15-2007, 8:34 AM
I can see that 12031(e) gives an officer the right to check that any firearm is unloaded but once that is determined, what right does the officer have to detain the person and the firearm while he runs the gun's serial number to see if it's stolen?

Excellent point. I'd like to see that question answered. On what basis would a person be detained beyond that. Unloaded gun and no other basis for believing a crime is or was committed, the officer should be at the end of his legal rope. Removing the gun from the case and detaining for any longer than necessary to witness an empty chamber wouldn't seem to be justified under 12031.

xrMike
09-15-2007, 8:42 AM
Not sure if you jest or not:confusedI was just agreeing with you. :cool:

metalhead357
09-15-2007, 11:50 AM
I was just agreeing with you. :cool:

Ah thank you:) The one bad thing of *just reading* and not hearing the tone in which it twuz delivered;)

dwtt
09-15-2007, 12:47 PM
It's kuhjager's right to be able to file a complaint against the police when he feels he was mistreated. That's all there is to it.

In some countries, people won't even think about talking back to the police, even if they are innocent of any crimes because they might disappear for good.

Rob P.
09-15-2007, 12:51 PM
12031(e) allows the officer to check if the weapon is unloaded. it DOES NOT give the officer the authority to search your closed locked cases even if they ARE gun cases. This is 2 distinctly different things - one to check the gun and one to search an area beyond the chamber of the gun (ie the inside of a locked container).

The serial number check was unlawful because there was no PC to believe that the firearm was stolen. The detention to check the serial number was excessive given that the check itsefl was unlawful = false arrest or violation of civil rights under color of authority.

Next time tell the officer NOTHING outside of identifying yourself. Do not admit to ANYTHING and NEVER hand over a key or combination to a locked container without a warrant being presented. A gun in a locked case seized by an officer does not allow for forcing the locks as exigent circumstances. There's nothing the officer needs to immediately do to secure the firearm because it's already secured. He can wait for a warrant and to get one of those he has to give his PC. "He refuses to open the gun case" or "I suspect he has a gun in the case and 12031(e) allows me to check it" isn't good enough because there has to be probable cause that you are committing a public offense. Carrying a GUN CASE is not against the law.

Surrender the weapon case, say you want an attorney present before any further investigation or questioning, and then SHUT UP!

Diablo
09-15-2007, 3:01 PM
File a complaint. It probably won't go anywhere, but you'll do the right thing.

Turbinator
09-15-2007, 5:44 PM
I would try this first. Like jdberger, you might have a better shot at a response. If this fails THEN file formal complaint.

I'll vote for this. Guys, I really don't see why we have to put up with searches if we otherwise are law abiding citizens. I really don't see why a black case is automatic grounds for search - even if the law has provisions to allow our peace officers to do so. Just because they can, doesn't always necessarily mean they should.

Turby

socalguns
09-15-2007, 7:23 PM
just because there is a law on the books, doesn't mean its constitutional :)

oaklander
09-15-2007, 7:58 PM
Hopefully,

You got their names. I would email ALL the following people with a formal complaint. Also, call the HQ and find out who the supervisor is for the officers that stopped you. Email that person too. Finally, email the chief of police and the city counsel.

ALSO - (I can help you with this - PM me) - find out who handles internal affairs:

EDIT: PM me a detailed account of what happened, and I'll write the letter for you.

EDIT: Also - call this number and get their fax number - your complaint should be emailed and faxed - (831)420-5800

Internal Affairs
To ensure that the integrity of the department is maintained, the Professional Standards Unit conducts extensive, impartial, objective investigations of all allegations of employee misconduct. These investigations are reviewed by the Chief of Police and the designated City Auditor to determine possible employee misconduct or revisions of department procedures.

East Beat
Lt. Mark Sanders
Wednesday through Saturday
7:00 a.m.- 5:00 p.m.
(831) 420-5842
msanders@ci.santa-cruz.ca.us

Central Beat/Downtown Beat
Lt. Rick Martinez
Wednesday through Saturday
4:00 p.m. - 2:00 a.m.
(831) 420-5856
rmartinez@ci.santa-cruz.ca.us

Beach Beat
Lt. Lee Sepulveda
Wednesday through Saturday
7:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
(831) 420-5859
lsepulveda@ci.santa-cruz.ca.us

West Beat
Lt. Colleen McMahon
Sunday through Wednesday
4:00 p.m. - 2:00 a.m.
(831) 420-5857
cmcmahon@ci.santa-cruz.ca.us

Investigation Section Commander
Lt. Rudy Escalante
Monday through Friday
8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
(831) 420-5823
rescalante@ci.santa-cruz.ca.us
Administration Lieutenant
Lt. Steve Clark
Monday through Friday
8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.
(831) 420-5810
sclark@ci.santa-cruz.ca.us

oaklander
09-15-2007, 8:00 PM
Santa Cruz city council:

809 Center Street, Room 10
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
(831) 420-5020
e-mail: citycouncil@ci.santa-cruz.ca.us

Email submitted to citycouncil@ci.santa-cruz.ca.us is public record. All City Council email that is general correspondence will be forwarded to individual Councilmembers, City departments as appropriate, and placed in the Central Branch Library Reference Desk for 3 months for public review. All City Council email that pertains to an agenda item will be placed with that agenda item and distributed with the agenda packet, which includes public review at the Central Branch Library.

oaklander
09-15-2007, 8:01 PM
Email THIS person as well:

Independent Police Auditor
City Government

Robert H. Aaronson
3565 El Camino Real
Palo Alto, CA 94306
(650) 565-8800
e-mail: PoliceAuditor@ci.santa-cruz.ca.us

In January of 2003, the City Council created the position of an Independent Police Auditor. The auditor is charged with providing independent reviews of the citizen complaint process and with reviewing and making recommendations regarding Police Department policies and practices.

oaklander
09-15-2007, 8:04 PM
Chief of police = Howard Skerry

hskerry@ci.santa-cruz.ca.us

City manager:

Richard C. Wilson, City Manager
809 Center Street, Room 10
Santa Cruz, California 95060
(831) 420-5010
Fax: (831) 420-5011
e-mail citymgr@ci.santa-cruz.ca.us

DIG
09-15-2007, 9:48 PM
I'd probably file a complaint too. It doesn't sound like it will go anywhere but if I recall correctly, even (minor) complaints go in that particular leo's file. It might be brought up by his senior during review. That might be annoying for that individual later down the road. Good luck with what ever you pursue.

slowfire
09-15-2007, 10:24 PM
Background:
I live here in Santa Cruz, and a couple of weeks ago I was returning from the range with my girlfriend and my housemate.

Now I think that the way that the police officers handled this was wrong, and I would like to write to the police department about it.

Am I right in wanting to complain without filing a formal complaint against SCPD?


Time-wise it might be a little too late.
You have every right to notify the officer's Superiors if you felt that you were treated unjustly when you were complying to everything that the
officer(s) were requesting of you. I personally prefer JDBerger's earlier post where he suggest to "express your concern" rather than lodge a formal complaint. Some of the other advise that you are receiving seem a little too aggressive IMO.
It seems to me that instead of trying to help you solve this at the officer's supervisor's level, people want YOU to go beyond that and bring the entire city hall into it.
Do what you feel is necessary and correct, we've all seen what happens to the guy that is egged on by the crowd.

ShooterMcGavin
09-15-2007, 11:06 PM
If an LEO sees you on a public street with a gun on your person, the officer is allowed to check the weapon to see if it is loaded. If you refuse, the LEO can arrest you.

I'd chalk it up to experience. Next time, double park closer to your house and take the gun inside...discreetly wrapped in something not resembling a gun.


+1 on that. The cop surely knows the drug addict factor in the area. Drugs and guns tend to go together. If the situation was different, say it wasn't you, but someone else who decided to shoot someone over drugs, and the cop didn't stop, then the community would be up in arms because the police "drove right on by and didn't even do anything."

No bagging on you, but all of us as gun owners need to think about stuff like this to elminate the possibiity of drawing unneccesary attention to ourselves.

There's my 2 cents.

CavTrooper
09-16-2007, 6:44 AM
+1 on that. The cop surely knows the drug addict factor in the area. Drugs and guns tend to go together. If the situation was different, say it wasn't you, but someone else who decided to shoot someone over drugs, and the cop didn't stop, then the community would be up in arms because the police "drove right on by and didn't even do anything."

No bagging on you, but all of us as gun owners need to think about stuff like this to elminate the possibiity of drawing unneccesary attention to ourselves.

There's my 2 cents.

Because all drug addicts and criminals carry thier guns in locked cases, right?

I dont think this will go anywhere when you complain but Id do it anyways, just to put that LEO on the radar.

eta34
09-16-2007, 7:25 AM
12031(e) allows the officer to check if the weapon is unloaded. it DOES NOT give the officer the authority to search your closed locked cases even if they ARE gun cases. This is 2 distinctly different things - one to check the gun and one to search an area beyond the chamber of the gun (ie the inside of a locked container).

The serial number check was unlawful because there was no PC to believe that the firearm was stolen. The detention to check the serial number was excessive given that the check itsefl was unlawful = false arrest or violation of civil rights under color of authority.

Next time tell the officer NOTHING outside of identifying yourself. Do not admit to ANYTHING and NEVER hand over a key or combination to a locked container without a warrant being presented. A gun in a locked case seized by an officer does not allow for forcing the locks as exigent circumstances. There's nothing the officer needs to immediately do to secure the firearm because it's already secured. He can wait for a warrant and to get one of those he has to give his PC. "He refuses to open the gun case" or "I suspect he has a gun in the case and 12031(e) allows me to check it" isn't good enough because there has to be probable cause that you are committing a public offense. Carrying a GUN CASE is not against the law.

Surrender the weapon case, say you want an attorney present before any further investigation or questioning, and then SHUT UP!


Actually, there is recent case law that states that if a LEO sees what he believes is a gun case, he has the authority to open it and inspect the weapon. I posted this several months ago. IF the LEO believed that the OP was carrying a gun case, he was well within the law to open it and inspect the weapon. I don't agree with this case law decision, but that is what we have to deal with.

M. Sage
09-16-2007, 8:08 AM
What about the law itself, though? Merely possessing a gun or gun case isn't probable cause that a crime has been, is, or will be committed. How can that not be a violation of 4A rights?

Something I hadn't thought about really until this thread.

IMO, this law is something that needs a day in court.

eta34
09-16-2007, 8:13 AM
Again, this is a CASE law decision that came down several months back. Essentially, it allows the LEO who sees a gun case to inspect it. It has had its day in court already. I believe it was a 9th Circuit decision, but I am not sure. I saw it on a legal update DVD at work. I will try to find the case citation when I go back on Thursday.

RRangel
09-16-2007, 8:27 AM
Again, this is a CASE law decision that came down several months back. Essentially, it allows the LEO who sees a gun case to inspect it. It has had its day in court already. I believe it was a 9th Circuit decision, but I am not sure. I saw it on a legal update DVD at work. I will try to find the case citation when I go back on Thursday.

Now the question is what constitutes a gun case?

M. Sage
09-16-2007, 8:27 AM
Ok, thanks.

If it's 9th Circus, I wouldn't be surprised. They seem to have a different copy of the Constitution than the rest of the country....

JawBone
09-16-2007, 9:11 AM
Since this continues to be disputed, I will cite again to People v. Green, which I briefly cited to on page 3. This is a California State Appellate decision. In sum, in public, you have no "reasonable expectation of privacy" in a gun or a gun case. Because you have no expectation, you have no 4th Amendment Protection and no warrant is necessary to search. They do not need probable cause, reasonable suspicion or need to be searching incident to arrest.

I don't agree with it, but unless you want to pay the lawyer fees for refusing the search (and giving them probable cause to arrest you), you should be aware of it.

[Officer] Burns then started walking to the other officer's police vehicle in order to use its radio. As he passed defendant's vehicle, he noticed on the front seat thereof a closed black opaque case which, based on his own personal familiarity with such cases, he immediately recognized as being a gun case.

Burns, without checking with defendant and without a search warrant as well, opened the passenger door of defendant's vehicle, picked up the case, which he found to be completely closed by a zipper, felt something in the case, unzipped it and uncovered a .32 caliber revolver, which he then saw to contain four .32 caliber bullets in its chambers. During this seizure of the revolver in plain sight the other individual, who had been in defendant's car, was either outside of it or away from it. Burns, following the seizure of the revolver and of its ammunition, arrested both defendant and the other individual for violation of Penal Code section 12031 (unlawful carrying of a loaded firearm in a vehicle on a city street).

Defendant moved before trial, pursuant to Penal Code section 1538.5, subdivision (a)(1), to suppress as evidence the gun case, the gun and the bullets. The trial court denied the motion on the ground that the police had identified the gun case as such before seizing it. Defendant's appeal from such denial lies.

DISCUSSION

The gun case here involved was a closed opaque container observed by Officer Burns in plain sight in defendant's automobile. Burns, on the basis of his own personal familiarity with gun cases, identified the case immediately in his mind as being what it was. In any event, a gun case , generally speaking, by its very nature cannot support a reasonable expectation of privacy because its probable contents can be inferred from its outward appearance. (Arkansas v. Sanders (1979) 442 U.S. 753) It is not entitled to the full protection of the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution and presumably likewise not to that degree of protection from its California constitutional counterpart, article I, section 13, either. This being the case, we hold that under the circumstances here presented Officer Burns was constitutionally privileged to seize and open the gun case without a search warrant authorizing him to do so.

Once Officer Burns had the revolver before him in plain sight, he could by visually examining only its exterior see that it was loaded and, therefore, that it was contraband under the aforementioned Penal Code section 12031. Under this circumstance of plain sight his immediate arrest then of appellant and his companion for violation of this section was lawful because any prior request for inspection of the firearm, as mandated by subdivision (e) of the section, to determine whether it was loaded, had become unnecessary. Thus the police seizure of the loaded revolver and of the bullets therefrom under this circumstance was likewise constitutionally and legally privileged. Accordingly the suppression motion was properly denied.

I do believe that the serial number search, without consent, was unlawful, but as we should all know by now, police are skilled in obtaining consent. From his description, I don't know whether or not the OP gave consent to the serial number check in this instance or not.

Remember to ask this phrase after every question you answer or don't answer from an LEO - "Am I free to go?"

Regardless, the LEO in this instance sounds like he was pushing the envelope. His behavior did not need to be so confrontational, a simple "Sir, may I check your weapon to see if it is loaded or not?" would have sufficed. But as for whether the case search would hold up under the law?

Lesson for the day - don't carry your guns, in public in "gun cases" (and yes, who knows what that means?) and if you carry gun cases on the back seat of your car cover them unless you want to risk being searched.

pnkssbtz
09-16-2007, 11:49 AM
So, as I said, what is to stop a cop from pointing at your NON-GUN CASE bag and saying "can I inspect your gun to make sure it safe?"

Since "In his experience" people use (insert non-gun case bag here) for transporting firearms, he can thus get by needing a warrant to search a bag.


The definition of a "Gun Case" rests solely on the officers discretion.

metalhead357
09-16-2007, 3:13 PM
Again, this is a CASE law decision that came down several months back. Essentially, it allows the LEO who sees a gun case to inspect it. It has had its day in court already. I believe it was a 9th Circuit decision, but I am not sure. I saw it on a legal update DVD at work. I will try to find the case citation when I go back on Thursday.


Been around a LOT longer than a few months....remember learning that one back in hunter safety 25+ years ago; same thing with/through fish/game.....albeit its if YOU ADMIT you have a gun inside a vehicle:rolleyes: but the principle is still the same. You DONT have the right to say no to a safety check............. But not even asking; just seeing the alleged gun case and going off~ still seems a bit extreme.

eta34
09-16-2007, 3:47 PM
This case has nothing to do with admitting a gun is in the vehicle. If the officer sees an articulable gun case, he gets to open the case. Recent decision, not 25 years old.

Crazed_SS
09-16-2007, 4:19 PM
Now the question is what constitutes a gun case?

A case designed for holding guns?

Probably something like this..
http://www.casesbypelican.com/pelican_gun_cases.htm

metalhead357
09-16-2007, 4:20 PM
This case has nothing to do with admitting a gun is in the vehicle. If the officer sees an articulable gun case, he gets to open the case. Recent decision, not 25 years old.


Well No Duh:p....Hence why I said but the principle is still the same what I was/am referring to is the basis for THAT decison...namely that the ability for an officer to perform a Safety check for an UNloaded firearm has been around for a lonnnnnnnnnng time...upon which I think most can assume this recent case has its 'foundation' in that principle...............

Sorry for derrrrr' confusion:)

As noted he was NOT in the vehicle nor did the cop apparently SEE him exit the vehicle...and yet the vehicle was check too....making this whole situation arguably one for a nice test case...... had it gone badly ((THANKFULLY it did not;)))

JawBone
09-16-2007, 4:23 PM
So, as I said, what is to stop a cop from pointing at your NON-GUN CASE bag and saying "can I inspect your gun to make sure it safe?"

Since "In his experience" people use (insert non-gun case bag here) for transporting firearms, he can thus get by needing a warrant to search a bag.

The definition of a "Gun Case" rests solely on the officers discretion.

Well, I suppose he could try it, but doubtful it would hold up in court - any good defense attorney is going to ask one question, "Officer, in your experience, how many times when you have searched a backpack have you found a gun?" Answer: Ummm. Not very often." Court: "Evidence suppressed."

Ask him the same question about a gun case and he is going to say, "Every time." If he says every time with a backpack, the lawyer should be able to make him look like an idiot fairly easily.

The pelican case would be a good one to try in court, as they regularly hold many different types of valuable equipment (cameras, computers, etc.). I have a feeling we are talking about your average Big-5 rifle/pistol case here. You know the ones in the "shape" of a rifle or pistol.

The court also mentions a bag of burglar tools gets the same treatment, I have no idea what one of those looks like.

Also note that the court said the Officer doesn't even need to ASK!?...because you must "consent." (sort of like mandatory volunteering??) So the "remain silent" trick ain't going to fly. They are going to get the bolt cutters from the trunk and cut the lock off and open it.

Essentially the Court treats gun cases in public like your curbside garbage. Cops don't need a warrant/probable cause/exigent circumstances because you have given up your 4th amendment rights in that item.

M. Sage
09-16-2007, 4:26 PM
Cops don't need a warrant/probable cause/exigent circumstances because you have given up your 4th amendment rights in that item.

Odd, I don't remember waiving my 4A rights pertaining to my guns or gun cases.

JawBone
09-16-2007, 4:27 PM
As noted he was NOT in the vehicle nor did the cop apparently SEE him exit the vehicle...and yet the vehicle was check too....

Are you talking about the OP? I don't see where he said the vehicle was searched?

JawBone
09-16-2007, 4:28 PM
Odd, I don't remember waiving my 4A rights pertaining to my guns or gun cases.

Right, the legislature waived that for you.

M. Sage
09-16-2007, 4:35 PM
Hmm..

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

I also don't recall telling them they could do that, which would be the same as waiving them myself. Strange... I can't see where they're authorized to waive my rights for me in the above quote.

Maybe I really should just hit http://uhaul.com and get out of this hole....

ETA: I just decided that I'm going to start carrying around an empty gun case, just so if an officer gets asked in court "how often do you find guns in cases like this..." he gets shafted.

JawBone
09-16-2007, 4:41 PM
Hmm..

I also don't recall telling them they could do that, which would be the same as waiving them myself. Strange... I can't see where they're authorized to waive my rights for me in the above quote.

Maybe I really should just hit http://uhaul.com and get out of this hole....

The US Supreme Court backs this one up, so you have to switch countries/start your own.

They have allowed warrantless searches for several things - As I said, your curbside garbage, your luggage at the airpot being sifted through, your luggage at the airport being sniffed by dogs, and let's not forget the latest and greatest - wiretaps on the citizenry - NO WARRANTS NEEDED.

Giovani X
09-16-2007, 4:42 PM
Get a Fender guitar case and lock your gun in it. Now He needs PC. A long black case marked from a guitar builder would not be suspect to search for weapons under the law unless he or someone saw you place one in there, now if he askes you to open it, he must have a reasonable doubt that you have stowed a weapon in the case. It sounds like a bad judgment call on the officers part. I would send notice to the supervisor that you were searched in plain view of a halfway house and that the occupants in some cases are fellons, now if they saw this they know you are a gun owner, and that you keep them in your house. It could be construded that your 14 amendment rights were violated in plain view of the public you live in, leaving neighbors, and observers to think they have a gun weilding potential danger next door. It could be seen by some that the officer defamed your character publicly and could result in problems with neighbors. Sounds like an appology is in order.

Crazed_SS
09-16-2007, 4:44 PM
Hmm..



I also don't recall telling them they could do that, which would be the same as waiving them myself. Strange... I can't see where they're authorized to waive my rights for me in the above quote.

Maybe I really should just hit http://uhaul.com and get out of this hole....

ETA: I just decided that I'm going to start carrying around an empty gun case, just so if an officer gets asked in court "how often do you find guns in cases like this..." he gets shafted.

You're ignoring a key word there..

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against UNREASONABLE searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

You may disagree, but for many people (including the courts) it is reasonable to assume there is a gun in a GUN case.

Just like it is reasonable to assume their is a camera in a camera case, a laptop in a laptop case, or a guitar in a guitar case. Like I said.. if you want to keep attention off your guns, dont carry them in a GUN case.

Make yourself a Desperado cause.. apparently it isnt that hard.. http://www.instructables.com/id/EGDMK8QF1U9XS0U/ :)

I might try it out one day..

M. Sage
09-16-2007, 4:50 PM
@ SS: Sure it's reasonable to assume a gun is in a case. But is it reasonable to assume the gun is loaded? Not really. Why would you assume that? If the gun's not loaded or stolen or in the possession of a prohibited person, there's no crime. Is it reasonable to assume that any of those conditions exist?

The US Supreme Court backs this one up, so you have to switch countries/start your own.

They have allowed warrantless searches for several things - As I said, your curbside garbage, your luggage at the airpot being sifted through, your luggage at the airport being sniffed by dogs, and let's not forget the latest and greatest - wiretaps on the citizenry - NO WARRANTS NEEDED.

This one in particular?

Curbside garbage is different: you've discarded it - you don't have to discard it. Airport security is different: you waive your rights by entering an area you know is secured and search is a condition of entry - you don't have to go there. Warrantless wiretaps: an obvious and blatant violation. Those responsible for that one should stand in front of a wall, because it's the highest treason imaginable.

Neither of the first two is the same, on any level, as walking down the street with legally-owned and legally-possessed property. The only one similar is the last one: it's a violation of 4A rights, and I can't believe that any court could disagree... or I wouldn't be able to until I became aware of the 9th Circuit.

In the first two, you have a choice to avoid the searches - they're implied consent.

JawBone
09-16-2007, 5:02 PM
... they're implied consent.

And the state says that by carrying your gun in a public place (in a gun case or openly) you have given implied consent to this search...(i.e. do you "have" to carry your gun in public anymore than you "have" to go to the airport?)

I agree with you here, I think it should be an unconstitutional search when cased.

The excuse they gave to pass this law is officer safety and 12031(e) was passed in the late 60's and we all know how some reactionary laws were passed during that time. (cough, Gun Control Act of 1968).

I'm just trying to get the word out so people can deal appropriately when confronted.

M. Sage
09-16-2007, 5:13 PM
And the state says that by carrying your gun in a public place (in a gun case or openly) you have given implied consent to this search...(i.e. do you "have" to carry your gun in public anymore than you "have" to go to the airport?)

Well, unless they want me practicing in my backyard... :p Might upset the neighbors a touch.

All I've gotta say is: this needs to be fought. It's a law that's obviously in the wrong, obviously attacks our freedoms, and obviously goes against the letter and intent of the Fourth Amendment.

metalhead357
09-16-2007, 5:43 PM
Are you talking about the OP? I don't see where he said the vehicle was searched?


You're right... I read toooooo much into~He told me that he was going to check if the gun was legal, and had me unlock the case. They then walked over to the car carrying the shotgun, and called in my info and such.

//there Metalhead goes again Asssssuming things again:rolleyes:///// teach me to re-read the original post after a couple of pages of other posts...//grumble//

Pvt. Cowboy
09-16-2007, 7:01 PM
It is not the fact that I was searched that bothers me, it is the manner in which it was conducted. The amount of attention that they attracted was undue in a residential neighborhood.

Sorry this happened to you, but to anyone that reads the numerous incidents dealing with police encounters from members' personal testimony on this board alone, it should be abundantly clear that your rights pretty much end wherever the policeman says they do. If you push the issue, plan on spending thousands of dollars pleading your case either in legal defense or useless gestures that will never change departmental policy.

As a long time friend to several police officers whose behind-the-scenes stories have thoroughly jaded me on respect for organized law enforcement, I can tell you that any complaints made against a patrol officer in the line of duty go straight to the trashcan after the briefest review. In fact, they sometimes even gather around and laugh at your complaint letters. Many chiefs even believe that if an officer has no complaints, he's not doing his job.

As a side note, also recognize that you live in one of the most over-policed civic areas in the most over-policed state in the union. I recommend that you move some place less violent, less populated, more remote, and subscribes to old-fashioned values. Santa Cruz is none of those things.

eta34
09-16-2007, 7:39 PM
Sorry this happened to you, but to anyone that reads the numerous incidents dealing with police encounters from members' personal testimony on this board alone, it should be abundantly clear that your rights pretty much end wherever the policeman says they do. If you push the issue, plan on spending thousands of dollars pleading your case either in legal defense or useless gestures that will never change departmental policy.

As a long time friend to several police officers whose behind-the-scenes stories have thoroughly jaded me on respect for organized law enforcement, I can tell you that any complaints made against a patrol officer in the line of duty go straight to the trashcan after the briefest review. In fact, they sometimes even gather around and laugh at your complaint letters. Many chiefs even believe that if an officer has no complaints, he's not doing his job.

As a side note, also recognize that you live in one of the most over-policed civic areas in the most over-policed state in the union. I recommend that you move some place less violent, less populated, more remote, and subscribes to old-fashioned values. Santa Cruz is none of those things.

And as an ACTIVE LEO, I can tell you that this is not the case, despite the second-hand info that is being set forth. I have worked for three departments and have received complaints at all three. In addition, I have seen complaints filed on other officers. Some complaints were completely bogus and the products of lies (such as beating a black man and calling him the n-word, despite the entire incident being video/audio taped). Others were valid complaints and those officers received the appropriate discipline. Most departments take complaints very seriously and investigate them accordingly.

Also remember, we are afforded the same due process as you are. Simply because a citizen says we did something, does not mean it happened. Furthermore, much like a typical criminal case, it has to be proven. There are instances in criminal cases as well as officer complaints where the "defendant" is guilty, but there is no way to prove the guilt, and he walks.

oaklander
09-16-2007, 8:04 PM
Agreed. From personal experience (being on the complaining end), I can tell you that these are taken very seriously.

And as an ACTIVE LEO, I can tell you that this is not the case, despite the second-hand info that is being set forth. I have worked for three departments and have received complaints at all three. In addition, I have seen complaints filed on other officers. Some complaints were completely bogus and the products of lies (such as beating a black man and calling him the n-word, despite the entire incident being video/audio taped). Others were valid complaints and those officers received the appropriate discipline. Most departments take complaints very seriously and investigate them accordingly.

Also remember, we are afforded the same due process as you are. Simply because a citizen says we did something, does not mean it happened. Furthermore, much like a typical criminal case, it has to be proven. There are instances in criminal cases as well as officer complaints where the "defendant" is guilty, but there is no way to prove the guilt, and he walks.

tjcoker
09-16-2007, 9:24 PM
I don't know what you look like, but if I saw a guy with a gun case in front of a known recovery house I'd be suspicious too.

M. Sage
09-16-2007, 9:28 PM
Lol, I just re-read 12031(e). It says refusal is probable cause for arrest, but as long as your gun isn't loaded, you still haven't violated 12031, and can't be convicted of anything. There's no penalty for refusal, just PC for arrest. Got all worked up about something that's practically nothing. :sleeping:

tjcoker
09-16-2007, 9:30 PM
This guy is just trying to get backing to file a complaint.


And now the entire neighborhood knows that he owns a gun, what kind it is and where he lives.

Add in the fact that said neighborhood has a halfway house for recovering HARD CORE DRUG ADDICTS.


He might as well spilled a bag full of $20's all over the pavement and then stuffed back into a sack and continued home.




I would only say the search was reasonable IF and only IF the OP was handling the potential firearm case in a negligent fashion. Of course they didn't know what his intentions where, but if he wasn't threatening anyone how can they claim he was a potential threat thus warranting a search?



As a side note, I own over 8 pistol cases. I have NEVER placed a pistol in any of them. They are solely for storage of miniatures for wargaming. Pistol and rifle cases are the premier method of transporting figurines.

JawBone
09-16-2007, 9:39 PM
Lol, I just re-read 12031(e). It says refusal is probable cause for arrest, but as long as your gun isn't loaded, you still haven't violated 12031, and can't be convicted of anything. There's no penalty for refusal, just PC for arrest. Got all worked up about something that's practically nothing. :sleeping:

OK, then you have to realize now that you are under arrest they can do a "search incident to arrest" which means they can expand their search to everything within your "immediate control." (another fun undefined term).

...but as long as you are ok with that -- go for it.

N6ATF
09-16-2007, 11:26 PM
ETA: I just decided that I'm going to start carrying around an empty gun case, just so if an officer gets asked in court "how often do you find guns in cases like this..." he gets shafted.

You may disagree, but for many people (including the courts) it is reasonable to assume there is a gun in a GUN case.

Better yet, get a videocamera case and paint on it:
Nothing in here! /flip side/ Not even a gun!

Then carry that around, empty of course.

Katana
09-17-2007, 12:57 PM
I would write to Chief Skerry, respectfully addressing your concerns about the way the situation was handled, without mentioning the legality of it.

Chief Skerry is a fair man with a good sense of right and wrong.

Fjold
09-17-2007, 1:34 PM
I would write to Chief Skerry, respectfully addressing your concerns about the way the situation was handled, without mentioning the legality of it.

Chief Skerry is a fair man with a good sense of right and wrong.

I don't know the Chief but if you go that route I would be curious to see what he says about the officer detaining you and your firearm to run the serial number.

M. Sage
09-17-2007, 5:38 PM
OK, then you have to realize now that you are under arrest they can do a "search incident to arrest" which means they can expand their search to everything within your "immediate control." (another fun undefined term).

...but as long as you are ok with that -- go for it.

I know. But at least it'd give me a good reason to call the ACLU. :p

I stay legal. They'd have nothing to convict me on unless they decided to fabricate or plant evidence.

....then again... this is California...