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The Constitution Does Not Matter in Arkansas

Old 08-12-08, 09:17 AM
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The Constitution Does Not Matter in Arkansas

No Rights

Ark. city neighborhood under 24-hour curfew

Associated Press - August 10, 2008 8:34 PM ET

HELENA-WEST HELENA, Ark. (AP) - Helena-West Helena Mayor James Valley says he ordered a round-the-clock curfew and heavy police patrol in a ten-block section of town because the neighborhood was "under siege with repeated gunfire, loitering, drug dealing and other general mayhem."

Valley ordered the emergency curfew Thursday, effective immediately. It was still in place today. He said it would remain in place as long as the problems persist or until the city council can come up with a long-term plan at its August 19th meeting.

Thursday night, 18 to 20 police officers carrying M-16 rifles, shotguns and night-vision scopes patrolled the "curfew zone." They arrested about eight people and confiscated drugs and loaded weapons.

Under Valley's order, officers do not tolerate loitering or "hanging out." Officers can stop and investigate all foot traffic, bicycle, horseback, mo-ped, motorcycle, riding mower, golf cart or other means of transportation.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Arkansas says the curfew is "blatantly unconstitutional" and has demanded that Valley lift the order immediately.
This is just crazy. Basically if you are walking down the road, the cops can stop, search, and detain you for no reason. Sounds like a great place to live. There are some other articles talking about this also. This has to be a violation of peoples rights. More Info
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Old 08-12-08, 09:22 AM
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Damn, I thought I'd be okay on a segway until it said "other means of transportation."
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Old 08-12-08, 09:30 AM
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i wonder what the law abiding members of that community think of this. they may well be pleased the criminal element are finally being targetted.
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Old 08-12-08, 09:30 AM
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Arkansas isn't the only place:

http://www.dailysentinel.com/news/co...rd_Curfew.html

Civil libertarians angered by Hartford teen curfew
By SUSAN HAIGH
Associated Press Writer

HARTFORD, Conn. — Hartford's latest measure aimed at stemming gang violence is being criticized by civil libertarians.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Connecticut was mulling whether to file a legal challenge against the city's monthlong 9 p.m. juvenile curfew scheduled to begin Thursday.

ACLU staff attorney David McGuire said juvenile curfews violate the fundamental rights of innocent people. They place an entire demographic "under house arrest for the inappropriate actions of a few," he said.

Hartford attorney Jon Schoenhorn, who successfully challenged a similar curfew in Vernon, Conn., with the ACLU in 2003, said Hartford's curfew ordinance is unconstitutional and the city is blatantly violating the civil rights of minors.

"I can't believe they'd be that stupid to try and dust off a statute. It's sort of like trying to prosecute people for adultery or something," he said. "It's been fully litigated and they can't do it. That's all there is."

City officials announced the curfew Monday after a spate of violence including a weekend shooting that left one man dead and six young people wounded.

"We must do this because we cannot and will not tolerate innocent people, especially children, to be victims," Mayor Eddie Perez said.

The shooting erupted Saturday evening after the annual West Indian Day parade in the city's North End. Police said 21-year-old Ezekiel Roberts was killed, a 7-year-old boy was shot in the head and a 15-month-old was shot in the left leg. Four teens also were shot.

Roberts was affiliated with local gangs and was the intended target of the shooting, police told The Hartford Courant. No arrests had been made. There were two other shootings in the city, resulting in four other shooting victims.

The violence prompted Perez and Police Chief Daryl K. Roberts to announce several new public safety measures on Monday, including the beefed-up curfew.

It will run for 30 days begins Thursday, Perez said. No one under 18 will be allowed on the streets after 9 p.m. without a parent or guardian, and violators will be taken to one of two locations where they will be kept until their parents or guardians pick them up.

Perez said first-time offenders will receive a warning. Second-time offenders will face a fine and must appear in community court.

Hartford's regular curfew allows police to only issue citations to anyone younger than 18 on the streets after 9 p.m., according to the city's Web site. Many U.S. cities have permanent curfews, but they often are less restrictive than Hartford's temporary measure.

Perez said the city's curfew ordinance has been in place since 1977 but there hasn't been a need to enforce it until now. Much of the past violence, he said, was isolated, with specific individuals targeted.

"This is not something we take likely, but given the incident of this weekend, we need to take firm action and this is the kind of action that's required in order to ensure the safety of our residents," he said. "But this is aimed at helping young people in our city. This is not an attempt to be punitive."

Hartford officials said they will be forming a special team with state prosecutors to sharpen authorities' focus on solving shootings, punishing shooters and deterring such crimes.

Perez, himself a former gang member, said the city will be asking the state to increase supervision of people on probation and creating a "Most Watched List" of suspects wanted for crimes or known to be associated with illegal activities.

Rep. Kenneth Green, a Hartford Democrat who marched in Saturday's parade, said he hopes the shootings will renew efforts to address the underlying causes of the violence, such as joblessness, lack of parental oversight and anger management issues among youths.

"It's a bigger picture than just a curfew," he said.

Hartford officials have been struggling to curb violence in the city of 125,000. State troopers are continuing to patrol city streets with local police.

In June, the city's former deputy mayor was beaten and robbed while walking to breakfast, and a surveillance camera recorded cars zooming around a 78-year-old pedestrian who was laying helpless in the street after being struck by a speeding car.

No arrests have been made in those incidents, which prompted Chief Roberts to suggest that the city lost its moral compass
It's a shame really that crime has grown so rampant and unchecked that we're seeing this type of policing. Still, what can be done otherwise?
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Old 08-12-08, 09:40 AM
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I'm surprised no one in that community is claiming racism....oh wait....

Mayor James Valley
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Old 08-12-08, 10:54 AM
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Is this really unconstitutional? I mean, certainly it would be if it were for life, but if it is a police effort/public safety thing, does it really go against the constitution? And while we don't have one, aren't teen curfews relatively common? Or at least not uncommon.
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Old 08-12-08, 11:00 AM
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Originally Posted by kvrdave
Is this really unconstitutional? I mean, certainly it would be if it were for life, but if it is a police effort/public safety thing, does it really go against the constitution? And while we don't have one, aren't teen curfews relatively common? Or at least not uncommon.
The state isn't supposed to inhibit the free movement of people. Teen curfews are a red herring, as they are minors.
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Old 08-12-08, 11:02 AM
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Originally Posted by kvrdave
but if it is a police effort/public safety thing, does it really go against the constitution?

If that were the rule, pretty much anything the police does would be constitutional.
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Old 08-12-08, 11:04 AM
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The ACLU has always had a problem with any type of curfew. But juvenile curfews are quite common and have been upheld in Federal court time and time again.

They arrested about eight people and confiscated drugs and loaded weapons.
Sounds like it's working.
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Old 08-12-08, 11:26 AM
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Not quite on point, but we might as well keep all our complaints about the growing police state in one thread:

City Would Photograph Every Vehicle Entering Manhattan and Sniff Out Radioactivity

By AL BAKER
Published: August 11, 2008

The Police Department is working on a plan to track every vehicle that enters Manhattan to strengthen the city’s guard against a potential terror attack, the department’s chief spokesman said.

The proposal — called Operation Sentinel — relies on integrating layers of technologies, some that are still being perfected. It calls for photographing, and scanning the license plates of, cars and trucks at all bridges and tunnels and using sensors to detect the presence of radioactivity.

Data on each vehicle — its time-stamped image, license plate imprint and radiological signature — would be sent to a command center in Lower Manhattan, where it would be indexed and stored for at least a month as part of a broad security plan that emphasizes protecting the city’s financial district, the spokesman, Paul J. Browne, said. If it were not linked to a suspicious vehicle or a law enforcement investigation, it would be eliminated, he said.

“Our main objective would be to, through intelligence, find out about a plot before it ever got to a stage where a nuclear device or a dirty bomb was coming our way,” Mr. Browne said. “This provides for our defense after a plot has already been launched and a device is on its way.”

The proposal is one element of a 36-page plan for security, mainly focused on the site of ground zero, that Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly and his counterterrorism bureau commanders have shared with the director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

For months, Mr. Kelly and his command staff have been urging the creation of a London-style surveillance system for the financial district that relies on license plate readers, movable roadblocks and 3,000 public and private security cameras below Canal Street, all linked to a coordination center at 55 Broadway. Known as the Lower Manhattan Security Initiative, the center is to open in September.

At the same time, a federal Securing the Cities program is going forward: The police are creating links with law enforcement agencies within a 50-mile radius around the city. That plan includes outfitting officers with radiation detectors to stop a nuclear or radiological threat as far from the target as possible.

Operation Sentinel would combine strategies from the security initiative and Securing the Cities and use them at choke points into Manhattan.

Mr. Browne could not say when the program would be completed, though the Lower Manhattan initiative is expected to be in place by 2010. “This is just a planning document,” he said of the proposal. “It’s a vision of how it will work if all the components come together.”

He said he could not predict what the city’s law enforcement leaders would do after the Bloomberg administration leaves at the end of 2009. But he said that Mr. Kelly was concerned that a more robust security system be in place before the World Trade Center area opens for business again.

“The importance of protecting the nation’s financial center will remain,” Mr. Browne said. “And the ability to protect an urban center from a dirty bomb or a nuclear device will also remain.”

Since early 2007, the police have been using technology to read license plates and to check the information against databases, including one for stolen cars. Similarly, they are using closed-circuit TV and radiation-detection equipment in various counterterrorism operations.

For instance, the department owns portable radiation vehicles — known as TRACS, for Tactical Radiation Acquisition and Characterization System — that can detect radiological agents like cesium or cobalt and differentiate between dangerous ones and ones used in products like smoke detectors or medical devices.

Operation Sentinel would synchronize the three forms of technology — photographs, license plate readers and radiation detectors — in one system.

But there are hurdles. The costs of the project, and its feasibility, have not been fully determined. The Lower Manhattan Security Initiative is a $90 million program; the Securing the Cities program is being paid for with federal money, including $40 million earmarked in the 2008 fiscal year 2008 and $30 million expected the following year. Also, tracking many thousands of vehicles and people every day raises alarm with civil libertarians.

However, Steven Emerson, executive director of the Investigative Project on Terrorism in Washington, a nonprofit research organization that investigates terror groups worldwide, said that the tactics would not invade people’s privacy and that they were critically important, given plots to attack Lower Manhattan.

“It is one tool of ensuring that if there is somebody on a terrorist watch list or someone driving erratically, or if a pattern develops that raises suspicions, it gives them an opportunity to investigate further and — if need be — track down the drivers or the passengers,” he said. “The bottom line is they can’t frisk everybody coming into Manhattan; they cannot wand everyone, as they do at airports. This is a passive collection of data that is not as personally invasive as what they do at airports.”

Operation Sentinel calls for the cameras, license plate readers and radiological scanners to be deployed at seven vehicle crossings: the Brooklyn-Battery, Holland, Lincoln and Queens-Midtown Tunnels, and the George Washington, Henry Hudson and Triborough Bridges.

Mr. Browne said the plan was to include every crossing, including the smaller bridges connecting the Bronx and Upper Manhattan like the Willis Avenue and Macombs Dam Bridges.

A major challenge is to develop technology to discern the radiological signature of vehicles across several lanes at a toll plaza, where many enter at once, and to have the ability to align that data with the correct closed-circuit image and license plate.

“That is the principal challenge they are looking to resolve,” Mr. Browne said.
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/12/ny...on&oref=slogin

I know if I'm driving in my car, I have no reasonable expectation of privacy as to my license plate. At the same time, this really rubs me the wrong way.
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Old 08-12-08, 11:29 AM
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So curfews after the Rodney King trial were unconstitutional?
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Old 08-12-08, 11:34 AM
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Originally Posted by kvrdave
So curfews after the Rodney King trial were unconstitutional?
Since there was a riot involved, the curfew was allowed in order to restore peace and order in the city. Don't know if it was unconstitutional or not.
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Old 08-12-08, 11:36 AM
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Originally Posted by covenant
Sounds like it's working.
So?
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Old 08-12-08, 12:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Burnt Thru
i wonder what the law abiding members of that community think of this. they may well be pleased the criminal element are finally being targetted.
I agree, they probably are pleased, but do we really want a society where you can be stopped at any moment and asked for "your papers"?
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Old 08-12-08, 12:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Numanoid
I agree, they probably are pleased, but do we really want a society where you can be stopped at any moment and asked for "your papers"?
No. But if it is for a limited time with a specific purpose because of rampant crime (like the riots), I don't think I have a problem with it.

Does make me wonder. Do you give a hard withdrawal date for the curfew or does that just make thugs wait? Similar to the thoughts in Iraq, I suppose. I don't know.
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Old 08-12-08, 01:05 PM
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Originally Posted by wendersfan
So?
it was the right decision?

The U. S. Supreme Court has ruled that "[t]he right to walk the streets, or to meet publicly with one's friends for a noble purpose or for no purpose at all—and to do so whenever one pleases—is an integral component of life in a free and ordered society. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that this right may be legitimately curtailed when a community has been ravaged by flood, fire, or disease, or when its safety and welfare are otherwise threatened.

From:
Papachristou v. City of Jacksonville, 405 US 156, 164, 31 L. Ed. 2d 110, 92 S. Ct 839 (1972).
Zemel v. Rusk, 381 U.S. 1, 85 S. Ct. 1271, 14 L. Ed. 2d 179 (1965)




Game, set, match.

Last edited by covenant; 08-12-08 at 01:23 PM.
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Old 08-12-08, 01:17 PM
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Originally Posted by covenant
it was the right decision?


Just because an action has a desirable effect, that does not necessarily mean that any trampling of rights that occurs in the process is OK.

edit: ...and then you posted the Supreme Court analysis after I started with my response. But I like the Dr. Cox video so much!

Last edited by jdodd; 08-12-08 at 01:20 PM.
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Old 08-12-08, 01:20 PM
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Originally Posted by jdodd

Just because an action has a desirable effect, that does not necessarily mean that any trampling of rights that occurs in the process is OK.
Please note the Supreme Court quote I added to my previous post...kthxbye!
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Old 08-12-08, 01:30 PM
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Originally Posted by covenant
it was the right decision?

The U. S. Supreme Court has ruled that "[t]he right to walk the streets, or to meet publicly with one's friends for a noble purpose or for no purpose at all—and to do so whenever one pleases—is an integral component of life in a free and ordered society. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that this right may be legitimately curtailed when a community has been ravaged by flood, fire, or disease, or when its safety and welfare are otherwise threatened.

From:
Papachristou v. City of Jacksonville, 405 US 156, 164, 31 L. Ed. 2d 110, 92 S. Ct 839 (1972).
Zemel v. Rusk, 381 U.S. 1, 85 S. Ct. 1271, 14 L. Ed. 2d 179 (1965)




Game, set, match.

You realize that the second sentence is from Zemel, which predates Papchristou.
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Old 08-12-08, 01:34 PM
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Papachristou v. City of Jacksonville was a case about vagrancy and Zemel v. Rusk was one about a prohibition to travel to Cuba.
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Old 08-12-08, 01:41 PM
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Originally Posted by wendersfan
Papachristou v. City of Jacksonville was a case about vagrancy and Zemel v. Rusk was one about a prohibition to travel to Cuba.

Yep. AFAIK there is no SCt case that has squarely addressed neighborhood or juvenile curfews.

However, I have a pretty good idea of how the current Court would view a narrowly tailored curfew law.
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Old 08-12-08, 02:12 PM
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Originally Posted by jdodd

Just because an action has a desirable effect, that does not necessarily mean that any trampling of rights that occurs in the process is OK.
Which is why I have been against quarantines for outbreaks of diseases.
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Old 08-12-08, 02:18 PM
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Originally Posted by kvrdave
Is this really unconstitutional? I mean, certainly it would be if it were for life, but if it is a police effort/public safety thing, does it really go against the constitution? And while we don't have one, aren't teen curfews relatively common? Or at least not uncommon.
If they are suppressing the motions of law abiding citizens, then yes. By the way, I have no issue with teen curfews, they are not 18, and have no good business being out late at night.
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Old 08-12-08, 02:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Red Dog
You realize that the second sentence is from Zemel, which predates Papchristou.
Regardless. It was cited by the California Court of Appeals as justification for the curfew following the Rodney King beating trial.


"Rioting, looting and burning," the California court wrote, "pose a similar threat to the safety and welfare of a community, and provide a compelling reason to impose a curfew." "The right to travel is a hollow promise when members of the community face the possibility of being beaten or shot by an unruly mob if they attempt to exercise this right," the court continued, and "[t]emporary restrictions on the right… are a reasonable means of reclaiming order from anarchy so that all might exercise their constitutional rights freely and safely"
.

Now, is the situation in this Arkansas neighborhood as dire as the LA riots?
I doubt it....it just depends how the Mayor articulates how safety and welfare are being threatened in his case.

Last edited by covenant; 08-12-08 at 02:35 PM.
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Old 08-12-08, 02:37 PM
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A California Court of Appeals ruling isn't binding or controlling precedent anywhere but California, and it isn't even the highest level court in California.
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