Archives for: December 2012, 14

12/14/12

Permalink 03:10:13 pm, by fourth, 254 words, 340 views   English (US)
Categories: General

Two articles on drones

The Hill: Drone-makers push feds on test flights by Kevin Bogardus and Keith Laing:

Lobbyists for the booming drone industry are pushing the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to stop delaying action on a plan that will open up U.S. skies to unmanned vehicles.

The agency has yet to select six test sites that will be used to gauge the safety of drone flights, despite a mandate to do just that under the FAA reauthorization bill that passed earlier this year. That has led to pressure from the Association of Unmanned Vehicles Systems International (AUVSI) and lawmakers on Capitol Hill to get the process moving.

ComputerWorld: Tendency of law enforcement to adopt new technology without considering its impact on privacy and civil liberties 'unacceptable' to one expert by Taylor Armerding:

Drones are not just for spying and targeted assassinations in Iraq, Afghanistan and other war zones. They are also being used extensively for surveillance in the U.S.

The fact of domestic drone surveillance is not new. There have been numerous reports of Customs and Border Protection using Predator drones to monitor the nation's borders, and that multiple branches of the military are authorized to fly drones in the U.S.

But the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) provided evidence last week of how extensive that use is, not only by the federal government but by local law enforcement as well, with a posting of several thousand pages of drone license records, along with a new map that tracks the location of those domestic flights.

Permalink 06:08:11 am, by fourth, 556 words, 1358 views   English (US)
Categories: General

DC: Window tint stop and movement at dashboard didn't add up to RS for Long frisk of car

Defendant’s car was stopped for too much tint, and the officer noted the car was rocking as he approached and there was movement toward the dashboard. When he got to the window he saw that the driver and passenger had switched, which they ultimately admitted because the original driver had no license. The officer got them out and handcuffed them and then did a Long frisk of the car finding cocaine in the steering wheel. The court finds the Long frisk without factual justification because, as dangerous as a traffic stop can be, this one showed all along that it wasn’t risky and reasonable suspicion did not develop. Jackson v. United States, 56 A.3d 1206 (D.C. 2012):

The same is true here: there is a logical gap between Mr. Jackson’s movement of his hands along the dashboard and the conclusion that police were confronting someone dangerous, and under our case law, “the ambiguous movement in this case cannot be the decisive fact justifying a frisk that was otherwise unwarranted.” Powell, 649 A.2d at 1091 (Farrell, J., concurring); see also Page, 298 A.2d at 237 (“Furtive movements standing alone would hardly warrant a search[.]”). The overall calculus of factors in this case unquestionably varies from that in Spinner, and Spinner’s holding that the search there violated the Fourth Amendment by no means dictates a like conclusion here. ... Yet our view that the predominant factor in the trial court's analysis in this case suffers from the same flaw as the gesture at issue in Spinner--namely, that it lacked specific indicia that it had something to do with grabbing or concealing a weapon--nevertheless becomes dispositive where the additional circumstances do not “reasonably warrant the officers in believing that the suspect is dangerous and the suspect may gain immediate control of weapons.” Long, 463 U.S. 1032, 1049-50 (citation and internal quotation marks omitted).

...

Officer Norris’s observation that the van was rocking when he pulled it over was the other factor besides the movement of Mr. Jackson’s hands on the dash that the trial court mentioned as having heightened the officer's suspicion. ... [W]e cannot ignore the reality that Officer Norris’s concerns about the rocking van were largely dispelled when he immediately saw that the occupants had switched places and understood why the van had been rocking. Given these circumstances, and given that there is nothing about people switching places in a car that inherently suggests these people are armed and dangerous, we do not view this factor as meaningfully reinforcing the lawfulness of the search for weapons under Terry.

It is beyond question that police officers face untold dangers when they conduct traffic stops. Our task, however, is to evaluate the individualized articulable facts supporting reasonable suspicion in this case, and we would fail in that task if we were to quote Stanfield’s unbridled language and perfunctorily conclude that the van’s window tinting gave rise to reasonable suspicion in this case without checking that impulse against the facts of this case. ...

The stop in this case lacked many of the hallmarks of a particularly dangerous situation. The offense for which the officer stopped the van—illegal window tinting—was a minor one that prompted Officer Nelson to give Mr. Jackson only a verbal warning and to explain the law to him. ...

There is a dissent.

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"If it was easy, everybody would be doing it. It isn't, and they don't."
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Williams v. Nix, 700 F. 2d 1164, 1173 (8th Cir. 1983) (Richard Sheppard Arnold, J.), rev'd Nix v. Williams, 467 US. 431 (1984).

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