June 19, 2019

Help convince the Supreme Court to end “stop and frisk”

Downsize DC proposes to overturn several bad court decisions. Here’s how… Retweet

Overview: There was no victim and no crime. But police still searched him and arrested him. Help us fight this outrage in the Supreme Court.

We want to file an amicus brief. It will ask the Supreme Court to review Paul Johnson, Jr. v. United States. This message will tell you…

  1. How the Warren Court wrecked the Fourth Amendment in 1967-68
  2. How our brief will use Johnson v United States to overturn the Supreme Court’s “stop and frisk” jurisprudence.

If you want to help us fund the brief proposed below, please…

Support the Brief

DownsizeDC.org partners with the Downsize DC Foundation (home of the Zero Aggression Project) so that your contributions can be tax-deductible. When you click that button, you’ll be taken to the Zero Aggression Project contribution form.

The bad history of the Warren Court

In a brief span — May 1967 to June 1968 — the Warren Court dismantled the Constitution’s ban on “unreasonable searches and seizures.” It achieved this destruction with three separate cases.

In Warden v. Hayden the Warren Court dispensed with the “mere evidence rule.” That rule dated back to colonial times. It protected the people from searches and seizures except where there was evidence of contraband, property used to commit a crime, or the fruits of a crime. After Hayden, the principal object of the Fourth Amendment was the protection of privacy rather than property.

In Katz v. United States the Supreme Court created a two-part test. A citizen seeking Fourth Amendment protection had to establish a subjective expectation of privacy, and then demonstrate that the expectation was “reasonable.”

In Terry v. Ohio the Supreme Court ruled that a search merely had to be reasonable. This ruling gave cops the power to “stop and frisk” if they alone felt that public safety was somehow endangered.

Here are the facts in Johnson v. United States

Mr. Johnson lives in a crime-ridden area. A neighbor saw him entering his home after dark and thought he might be a burglar. The neighbor called police. The police held Johnson at gunpoint. They handcuffed and frisked him. They felt a bullet. They used that bullet as an excuse to search for firearms. They found two handguns. They then arrested Johnson for being a felon-in-possession.

The district court denied a motion to suppress.

But a subset of the Eleventh Circuit reversed that judgment, finding that the police had violated Johnson’s Fourth Amendment rights. The full Eleventh Circuit then reviewed the case again and (by a bare majority) upheld the search.

Our proposed amicus brief

The Johnson attorneys have read a number of our Fourth Amendment briefs — briefs you’ve made possible. So they asked us to file one in support of their case. We’re thrilled to do so.

We want to remind the Supreme Court that the Antoine Jones and Jardines cases have already blazed a trail for the restoration of traditional Fourth Amendment property rights protections. Since winning those cases, at least one additional Justice, who appreciates these two cases, has joined the Court. Right now, we need just four Justices to agree to include this case on the fall docket. We think that timing and the following facts make it the right case.

  • The police had no probable cause and no warrant to search Johnson’s person or property.
  • There was no victim to protect.

Will you join us? Make a contribution to fund this brief (on the Zero Aggression form, so that your donation can be tax-deductible).

Support the Brief

The Supreme Court has highly specific submission requirements. There’s a substantial printing cost due to this specialized process. If (thru Sat, Jun. 22) you become a “Johnson brief patron” by…

– Making a $200 one-time contribution
– Starting a new pledge of $20 or more
– Increasing an existing pledge so that it equals $20 or more

…we’ll send a printed copy to your postal mailbox PLUS we’ll recognize you, by name, in an upcoming newsletter.

And EVERYONE who contributes will receive a copy of the brief via email.

Thank you for being an ACTIVE DC Downsizer,

Jim Babka, President
Downsize DC

P.S. If privacy is an issue, please do NOT reduce your contribution. Just check the box (on the form) that reads, “Please don’t use my support to encourage others to give, by sharing my name on public lists” AND contribute as generously as you like.

If your comment is off-topic for this post, please email us at feedback@downsizedc.org


One Comment

  1. Posted June 21, 2019 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

    The same line of reasoning that began under LBJ with the Terry ruling, morphed months later under Nixon into today’s massive Surveillance State and Drug War. The mechanism of that morphing has been elucidated in the Complaint of “Washington v Sessions” at Pages 46-46, which may be read at https://t.co/AXFlo9w8mf in great detail. The #5/30Day ruling in that case, sidesteps these 4th and 5th Amendment issues, leaving in place the DEA’s arbitrary power to consider private possessions like your own blood, as things potentially subject to State seizure and inspection, because they are somehow the collective property of the community and therefore controlled by the State.

    Not mentioned in the Johnson case is that very likely the “neighbor” who reported the “possible burglary”, had previous contacts with police, and the “possible burglary” was a ruse engineered by police to charge Mr Johnson with a crime. In the DEA this is called “parallel construction”. When DEA arrives illegally upon some facts it decides to call criminal, DEA then imagines a believable cover story and suborns enough perjury to make the cover story stick. The false cover story substitutes for the real facts, which often were that one drug dealer makes a deal to sell intelligence to DEA agents, in return for permission to keep illegally selling illegal drugs, while DEA goes after his business competitors in court.

    Since ordinary citizens don’t have a property right to own the drugs they need for their healthcare, and under Terry, the State may stop anybody to search for drugs, the State collectively re-distributes drugs from people who need them to people who want them and the Drug War continues endlessly, because the very agencies supposedly protecting us from “drugs” are intimately involved in the supply chain for the substances that they prohibit. This creates dangerous neighborhoods like the one in which Mr Johnson lived, where the lack of a firearm makes one a target for violence.

    Taking away the individual right to possess material objects, interferes with the right to life itself. Just like the Berlin Wall, this Parallel Construction must be torn down brick by brick and bulldozed flat, if Americans are to again thrive in real freedom.

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