General Warrants

On Thursday night, I drove to the gas station and was listening to a show on C-SPAN radio about NSA data gathering phone metadata. A lawyer (not sure who she was) said that it was illegal, and cited that the American Revolution was largely fought over the use of “general warrants” by the British – i.e. fishing expeditions to find evidence of any breach of the law, without probable cause.

A few minutes later I was pulled over by a cop, who told me that one of my tail lights was out. He then made me wait for 10 minutes while he went back to his car and tried to dig up evidence of anything he could charge me with. Eventually he gave up and issued me a warning for the tail light.

About Tony Heller

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27 Responses to General Warrants

  1. Gail Combs says:

    He was looking for outstanding warrants.

    When my semi was stolen I located the thief three times. The cops would do nothing. They finally got him several years later at a traffic violation stop. Of course by this time all the evidence had gone stone cold dead and the case was dismissed

  2. Andy DC says:

    I was pulled over recently for driving with my handicapped placard hanging from my rear view mirror. Same BS, made me wait at least 20 minutes until the trooper made the astounding discovery that my registration had expired. I never received the renewal notice. Then wasted a day in court getting the matter resolved. These MD State Troopers are awful.

    • Gail Combs says:

      It is not just MD.
      Always be very careful towards the end of the month when the boys in blue are scrambling to get their quotas filled. (They have to make up for all the hours they spent snoozing and downing donuts.) {:>D

    • B says:

      I wonder what they do for all that time when driving. When I’ve been stopped while bicycling or walking they take my name, slave number, and/or address via body mic to central command and they get the info back quite quickly, seconds to maybe a minute.

      Perhaps they are studying the vehicle or running the vehicle hoping to find some bureaucratic paperwork issue to exploit?

    • rishrac says:

      They are doing that all over. Some people here in CO don’t know that their drivers license has been revoked. The judge signs off on registration and such the day after even though it was paid before the date due.

  3. Centinel2012 says:

    Reblogged this on Centinel2012 and commented:
    Could be KrisAanne Hall she is a constitutional lawyer and very good I attended one of here presentations and she knows what she is talking about.

  4. geran says:

    Since your drivers license was issued to “Steven Goddard”, you probably messed up their computer tracking system!


  5. northernont says:

    The simple sad fact is all police forces in North America have ticket quotas they have to fulfil or be deemed inadequate and not doing their jobs by superiors. There is a whole other Industry dependent on this constant stream of ticket violations. If everyone was compliant with all traffic laws for just one month, the impact to the justice system would bankrupt it, meaning its just another tax stream for government.
    My gripe is the total random enforcement of these traffic violations. Its either enforce the law or if officers feel they can ignore it, then it makes that law no law at all and should be withdrawn IMO. It is not to be used for leveraging and abusing other civil rights, which is what is happening now giving police judge and jury powers in the course of their duties. You can just imagine if police ticketed for every traffic infraction , how long the public would stand for keeping those ticket-able infractions on the books.

    • Gail Combs says:

      You also know those tickets ‘Disappear’ if the person ticketed is wealthy or has political influence.

      Lady Justice was dead and buried a long time ago. When we lost the right to trial and we had the right of jury nullification hidden from the masses.

      See my comments on Trial by jury

      Everyone should dig into that part of the reduction in our rights since it is the most critical.

      “I consider trial by jury as the only anchor ever yet imagined by
      man, by which a government can be held to the principles of its
      –Thomas Jefferson to Thomas Paine, 1789.

    • B says:

      Seems my other reply went into the great void.

      Back in the 1990s I posed that underposted speed limits and mis-engineering of roads in general was to create a condition where anyone could be pulled over at any time. Either one violated the law or looked suspicious by not driving like everyone else. This was met with ridicule and calling me ‘paranoid’. This sort of thing only happened to bad people and minorities. We could trust the cops. Now that the abuses are more wide spread, that ‘beyond the stop’ is well known, people don’t object like they used to.

      Quotas are illegal. They have performance objectives. Well even that term is becoming obsolete in favor of index numbers.

      Enforcement is always selective. The best one can do is understand the selection process and avoid selection. But selection is how they keep the system going. People hate automated enforcement because the machines aren’t selective. The same people who demand low speed limits and tool laws, and all the rest expecting only other people will be nailed for it get a ticket from an automated system and suddenly they are irate. It’s unfair they say. Why? Because they couldn’t get a social pass by a cop?

  6. Jaso Calley says:

    The greatest danger of general warrant (and of warrantless) gathering of information, is that without specifically named individuals, there is a great temptation for misuse of information. That includes not only information about real crimes, but information on things that are completely legal. Suppose that I am one of the legal “watchers” and am operating with a conventional warrant on a specific businessman. Because both my name and his name are matters of legal record, I will be much less likely to misuse any information I find — after all, even a cursory investigation would link my actions to his information. Maybe he is planning a merger with another company and in the course of investigating I gather that fact. Without a warrant, I could easily use that insider information to make investments for my own profit, and do so with little chance of being discovered. With a warrant, such an act is likely to be found out. Suppose I discover that someone is going to highjack and crash an airliner. Without a warrant, I could be tempted to play futures options on the airlines involved. Just keep my mouth shut about the hijackers, and get rich after the fact. Or maybe I will gather embarrassing info about politicians and judges and blackmail them… Without a warrant which connects my actions to specific suspects, there are any number of scams which can be pulled off.

    Anyone who tells you, “Why should I care about the government gathering data? I got nothin’ to hide!” is an ignorant mouth breather. Walk away from them.

  7. gofer says:

    Got stopped, in my van, at 5:00 AM on way to work. Same routine with tail light. Problem was, there was nothing wrong with the light. Common fishing method. I went on my way, promising to fix the light. No ticket.

  8. NancyG says:

    Where I live in Nassau County, Long Island, they started placing some new type of speed enforcement vehicle in front of schools. The vehicle has a camera on top to snap pictures of speeders. The purpose is to enforce the 20mph school speed limit.

    However, all of our school speed limit signs say the 20mph restriction is on school days from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. which means outside of those restrictions the speed limit is the town limit of 30mph. When ticketed drivers started complaining that they were getting $80 tickets outside of those hours, and on Sundays too, the politicians said it was a “mistake” and they need to work out the kinks. At first the traffic department was trying to claim the 20mph limit is 24/7, but that’s not the way the signs are worded.

    Apparently they are not allowed to have more than a certain amount of these enforcement vehicles operating at a given time, but how is the public to know if they aren’t all always on? More lies, imo. Thanks to the big fuss and news coverage of the situation, the County Executive is forgiving all the tickets until they straighten it out.

    We have cameras at many traffic lights, you can’t go anywhere in Manhattan without being on a camera, and now this. I’m really getting sick of living in a surveillance state.

  9. Adam Gallon says:

    The big UK ticket scam, are Bus Lanes, covered by automatic cameras. The bus lanes end a couple of yards short of the next left turn (Think right turn for you Yanks! 😉 ) thus any cars stuck in a traffic jam, intending to take the next left, who nip into the empty bus lane (usable also by cyclists (but not motorbikes/mopeds & taxis (often just “wheel-chair accessible” versions) to turn, get snapped & fined, usually around £60 a time. Lovely little earner for councils!

  10. Dave N says:

    Police logic: A tail light problem means that you’re generally negligent of the law, therefore most likely engaged in criminal activity of some kind; like being a “climate denier”.

  11. Charles Sandberg says:

    Timothy McVeigh was arrested on a routine traffic stop.

  12. mjc says:

    One of the local cops liked to do the tail light/headlight stops at just after dusk. One night as I was pulling up in front of my house, he pulled in front of me and proceeded to inform me that I had a headlight out. The problem was I had just returned from the store, with the new headlight. The second problem…he had a tail light out on the cruiser. The funny…I had one of the tail light bulbs he needed sittiing right next to me.

    He took the bulb and drove off in a huff…five minutes later, having to run to another store I drove past the station and he’s putting the bulb in…

  13. Gail Combs says:

    I had a lot of fun with the last poor cop that pulled me over for a bad tail light.

    He pulls me over points out the tail light problem. I say OH, no problem, open the back of the camper top and a ‘midget’ mechanic (under five feet) in a flying tigers uniform jumps out with a tool box and fixes the tail light and then hops back into the back of the truck. The cop just stood their with his mouth open.

    Doesn’t every one travel with their own mechanic stashed in the back of their truck?

  14. Don says:

    This has to do with other than tickets. They hope the Citizen makes some kind of ‘suspicious’ move, or says something, then they can search for drugs. They don’t want you, they want to confiscate the car, or your cash, you can then go on your way. Then try and get the car, and/or cash back. Such is the corrosion of our Liberty thanks in large part to the ‘war on drugs’. Seizure of property this way is big business.

    • Gail Combs says:

      Yes it is really big business! Millions of dollars have been confiscated with no crime attached. ( I think it was ~80 million in a few years before the turn of the century.)

      Incredible as it sounds, civil asset forfeiture laws allow the government to seize property without charging anyone with a crime. Until FEAR achieved the nation’s first major federal forfeiture law reform at the turn of the millenium, the government was allowed to keep whatever property it seized without ever having to prove a case. Seized property was presumed guilty and could be forfeited based upon mere hearsay—even a tip supplied by by an informant who stood to gain up to 25% of the forfeited assets. Owners were forced into the untenable situation of trying to prove a negative—that something never happened, even though no proof of any illegal act had been offered at trial.

      Over 200 federal forfeiture laws are attached to non-drug related crimes. Even a false statement on a loan application can trigger forfeiture… The government even tried to forfeit a farmer’s tractor for allegedly running over an endangered rat….

      Under civil asset forfeiture laws, the simple possession of cash, with no drugs or other contraband, can be considered evidence of criminal activity. Innocent owners who are never charged with a crime still must prove their innocence and lack of negligence… [This is a big problem for independent cross country truck drivers and for farmers who buy expensive livestock for cash.]

      “Even if you’re a law-abiding citizen who’s never been convicted of a crime, local police are allowed to confiscate your property and money and keep up to 80 percent of it for themselves, with the legal stipulation that this windfall be spent only on programs likely to result in additional confiscations where the police can keep up to 80 percent of the booty for themselves,” wrote Jennifer Abel in an October, 2007, article published by the Hartford Advocate.….


      Blumenson and Nilsen’s “Policing for Profit” study also addressed “accountability objections to self-financing police agencies”:

      Agencies that can finance themselves through asset seizures need not justify their activities through any regular budgetary process. As a Justice Department report notes, “one ‘big bust’ can provide a task force with the resources to become financially independent. Once financially independent, a task force can choose to operate without Federal or state assistance.”

      When this happens, the predictable consequence is a degree of police secrecy and independence that brings with it some of the risks civil libertarians associate with the term “police state.”

      Blumenson and Nilsen found that it is increasingly apparent that multijurisdictional task forces (created as part of the equitable sharing of federal forfeiture proceeds with local law enforcement agencies that participate in forfeiture producing investigations and arrests) are plagued by problems of corruption.

      One example came to light in 1996, when almost $66,000 was discovered secreted in the former headquarters of the Western Area Narcotics Task Force (WANT) in Paducah, Kentucky. An inquiry followed to determine where the money came from and figure out what to do with it. Investigators learned that the task force had seized large amounts of money which it then used for whatever purposes it wished, unconstrained by audits, reporting requirements or its mission. This problem is endemic to forfeiture beneficiaries, from the Justice Department on down….

      • Robertv says:

        They can’t control cash. Their goal is a cashless society.

        The legislative experience gained in such neighbouring countries as France and Italy was taken into account when developing this new measure in Spain. It will no longer be possible for cash payments to be used in transactions equal to or greater than 2,500 euros when at least one of the parties involved is a business owner or a professional. In other words, it will also affect transactions between a private individual and a business owner. However, it will not be applied to payments and deposits made with credit institutions.

        In order not to damage activities associated with the tourism sector, the limitation on the use of cash is raised to 15,000 euros when the payor is a non-resident private individual.

        The parties involved in such transactions must keep hold of the proof of payment for a period of five years following the date thereof in order to demonstrate that the payment was made using a method other than cash. The parties will be required to present such proof of payment upon request by the Spanish Tax Office.

        • Gail Combs says:

          One of the items in Obummercare was the 1099 mandate. It would have required businesses to track all purchases and file a 1099-MISC form whenever they purchased more than $600 in goods from a vendor using CASH or using a CHECK. CREDIT CARDS WERE EXEMPT!

          Some where I saw it was for cash transactions and not for credit card transactions but can not find the link.
          AHHHhh found a link:

          Rather than tracking sales to customers, this new government mandate will force a change in business focus to a detailed accounting of purchases from suppliers. While controlling costs is clearly a vital component of business profitability, this new government mandate on cost accounting and reporting to the IRS is an inordinate shift of priorities that will harm competitiveness and profitability because it will shift focus and resources away from customers.

          A separate dimension of this new cost accounting mandate is that purchases will also have to be separately tracked by type of payment because only payments made by check and cash would be reported on a 1099 but payments by credit card would be excluded from this mandate and misreporting transactions by including credit card purchases might be subject to penalties. So for each supplier from which aggregate purchase might exceed $600 per year, purchases would have to be tracked by payment method.

          That meant any time a business pays any one entity $600 or more a year in CASH or by check, they would have to create a 1099 to file with the IRS. That meant that the businesses would have to get all of the tax information for every vendor, provide separate accounting for credit cards vs cash/check for every payee, and then send the forms to both the IRS and the payees at the end of every year — as the payees do the same with their vendors, and so on…

          Since it would really impact the giants like Walmart/Sam’s Club, Lowes and Home Depot not to mention ALL fuel stations and ALL hotel chains, there was shrieking keard across the land and Congress quickly repealed the one liner attached to Obummercare.

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