Monthly Archives: February 2015

10 Rules for Dealing with Police

Most people are unprepared to handle police encounters. Few people understand their constitutional protections. As a result, when stopped by police, many people unknowingly waive many of their rights.  A group called Flex Your Rights has put together informational videos and they have made the videos available on Youtube.  The video and the information echos and reinforces many of the articles I have authored on this blog about invoking your rights and not making statements to police.

The 10 Rules for Dealing With Police

1.  Always be calm and cool.

2.  You always have the right to remain silent.

3.  You have the right to refuse searches.  “I don’t consent to searches.”

4.  Don’t get tricked.  Police may legally lie to you.

5.  Determine if you are free to go. “Are you detaining me or am I free to go?”

6.  Don’t expose yourself!

7.  Don’t run from police.

8.  Never touch a police officer.

9.  Report Police Misconduct. Be a good witness.

10.  You do not have to let them in your home.  “I can’t let you in without a warrant.”

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Highlights from Frankfort

Here is a review of just a few of the things going on in Frankfort:

Senate Bill 79 The Cannabis Freedom Act:  would make the possession of two ounces of marijuana or less a violation punishable by a maximum fine of $75.   It would also make the cultivation of 5 or fewer plants a misdemeanor.

House Bill 141 would establish the Problem and Pathological Gamblers Awareness and Treatment Program.

House Bill 135 is related to driving under the influence and would restructure the existing penalties from a four-tiered structure to a three-tiered structure; expand the look-back window for prior offenses from five years to ten years, and to allow forfeiture of motor vehicles used in a DUI if the operator’s license had been previously suspended.

Expectation Of Privacy Is Not Absolute

Although the word “privacy” is not written in the Constitution, we might all agree that each of us has a right to privacy. The exact size and shape of that right is sometimes not well defined. The most obvious place a person can expect to have privacy is inside their home. The further removed from their home and the more available a place is to the public, the less of an expectation of privacy that a person should have.

While you may enjoy an expectation of privacy in your home, you do not have the same right to privacy in someone else’s home. For example, if the police come to your home to knock and talk you have a right to privacy in your home and you can choose to not speak to them and not allow them inside your home (under normal circumstances). However, if you are visiting your neighbor for dinner and the police come to your neighbor’s home while you are there, your neighbor may allow the police to come inside and search the entire house regardless of your wishes. You would not be able to claim that you had an expectation of privacy in your neighbor’s home.

Not only do you not have much of a right to privacy inside a home that you do not normally reside, you also do not have a right to privacy when you are in public. Also, if something can be seen, smelled, or heard by the public; it is not “private”. Police officers pulling up to your front door may be prohibited from just wandering into your house, but anything that can be sensed by a member of the public from just outside your home is fair game.

In a recent case where the police received an anonymous tip, they were able to discover a meth lab because evidence of the lab was out in the open for the whole world to see. Everything the police needed to begin an investigation was in their plain view:

… An anonymous tip had been received about an address on Richmond Road in Berea, Kentucky. He and Detective Parker responded to the tip. When they pulled up to the residence and into the driveway, Detective White detected a strong chemical
Odor to the north side of the garage, which was attached to the house. He saw a
Plastic bottle that appeared to have been used as an HCl generator in the
Manufacture of methamphetamine. The garage had two doors; one door was
Closed and the other one was open. No one was in the garage when they looked
Inside.

Due to the dangerous situation created by the presence of the chemicals and equipment used to manufacture methamphetamine, the police carried out an extensive search of the premises looking for persons that might be present. During the search, the police discovered a person inside the home who ultimately was arrested and charged with manufacturing methamphetamines. The person did not own or reside in the house, but was merely related to the owner and previous residents.

Because the items and smells the detectives discovered out in the open indicated that illegal activity was afoot and the presence of the chemicals created an emergency situation, they were able to carry out a search. Furthermore, since the person operating the meth lab did not reside in the house, he could not expect to have privacy in the house and did not suffer any violation of his right to privacy. When the drug manufacturer tried to say that he had an expectation of privacy in the home, the court denied his argument because he did not live in the home or own the home. In this case, it is said that the accused did not have “standing” to argue that he had a right to privacy.

The full case is below.

http://opinions.kycourts.net/coa/2013-CA-001163.pdf

 

A Really Strange Super Bowl Ad About The Heroin Epidemic

A strange but poignant Super Bowl ad about heroin ran in the St. Louis market.  We did not see it here in Northern Kentucky but I have posted it below for your review.   The ad was created by the National Council on Alcoholism & Drug Abuse in St. Louis. It aimed to “raise awareness about the heroin and prescription painkiller epidemic in the St. Louis area.”

The video has a light hearted sounding song with very serious and dark lyrics.  NCADA council director Howard Weissman told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that nearly 2,300 young people in the region have died from heroin use since 2007.

 

Here in northern Kentucky, we have our own heroin epidemic to deal with; as thousands are petitioning Kentucky lawmakers to pass past due legislation to address the heroin issues.  A group called Northern Kentucky Hates Heroin has been leading the way.

A story in the Enquirer set out the events that are taking place in Frankfort:

More than 130 Northern Kentucky residents, gripped by a nationwide heroin epidemic that has hit their community too many times, descended Tuesday on the Kentucky Capitol demanding action from the state Legislature.

“Now is the time,” said Charlotte Wethington, a recovery advocate and mother of Matthew “Casey” Wethington, who died at 23 in 2002 from a heroin overdose.

The Northern Kentucky residents – sisters, mothers, fathers, grandparents and recovering addicts – were moved by Jessica Padgett, a Campbell County resident whose brother died in 2011 from suicide after struggling with heroin addiction, to demand change on the first day of the 2015 Kentucky legislative session.

They just might get it. Gov. Steve Beshear surprised the group by showing up at the rotunda and promising help from the state.

“We are going to make sure that the Legislature will not leave this town until we’ve passed comprehensive legislation on heroin,” Beshear said, eliciting a roar from the crowd.

The governor’s vow was welcomed by the families, whose emotions ranged from disappointment to outrage last year when the lawmakers left Senate Bill 5, known simply as “the heroin bill,” unaddressed.

“I love what he said,” said Kimberly Wright of Cold Spring, whose daughter is recovering from heroin addiction and lost a stepsister to heroin. “I am hopeful. But we’ve heard promises before.”

Parents and relatives with posters plastered with photos of their children who died from heroin overdoses lined up in the rotunda after carrying the posters through the Capitol, holding them up for anyone who would glance at them to see.

Rhonda Dupuy of Grant County stood silently, tears streaming, clutching a framed photo of son Coty Glass, who died at 22 from heroin.

“We had an appointment for Vivitrol (a medicine-assisted treatment) on May 27. There was a holdup for insurance,” Dupuy said softly. Her son died May 25 of a heroin overdose.

Mary Hunt of Union held out a framed photo of her brother-in-law Kevin Lipscomb, a paratrooper whom, she said, suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and died of a heroin overdose June 5.

“He was alone,” she said.

Since then, Hunt and nearly every family member who went to Frankfort on Tuesday, has been supporting other families and advocating for treatment for heroin addicts in Kentucky.

Several said they’ve had their limit of the stories about Kentucky residents dying from heroin overdoses and other health complications.

“We can’t do another year,” Hunt said. “How many people have lost their lives because (legislators) can’t agree on something?”

Present, too, were members of NKY Hates Heroin, the family of Nicholas Specht, who died at 30 from an overdose in the bathroom of his family’s Fort Thomas home. Eric Specht, Nicholas’ father, told the crowd in the rotunda he did not have naloxone to try to save his son. The drug blocks opiate receptors, forcing overdose victims into immediate withdrawal and restoring breathing if administered soon after overdose.

“I didn’t know what naloxone was,” Eric Specht said. And the first responders to his home did not have the drug, because Kentucky law doesn’t allow police to carry it.

That needs to change, the family members agreed.

Pennie Tackett, whose son has been in recovery for nine months, was angry.

She carried a sign demanding needle-exchange allowance in Kentucky.

“HIV is coming,” she said.

Her son suffered from an abscess from a dirty needle.

Padgett handed petitions with more than 2,000 signatures favoring House Bill 195 to Rep. Tom Burch, D-Jefferson County, whose bill calls for treatment, expansion of the overdose-reversal drug naloxone and needle-exchange allowance – an issue that divided some lawmakers in Frankfort last year.

The families demanded compassion from legislators.

“This is not about politics. It’s about people who are dying from this epidemic,” Wethington said in the Rotunda.

The families and recovering addicts from the Grateful Life Center in Erlanger and Brighton Recovery Center in Florence were buoyed by Beshear’s promise of legislation this session to address the heroin epidemic.

But they are not giving up their fight. Padgett addressed them after Beshear departed.

“This is the beginning,” she said. “There is strength in numbers.”

You can read the full Enquirer story and watch video related to the event here.