View Full Version : New search & seizure issue

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03-16-2008, 01:44 PM
Snapshot of undercover officers sparks arrest and questions
Randy Sievert aimed his cell phone camera at undercover investigators executing a search warrant in his neighborhood.

A deputy confronted Sievert, demanding that he destroy any photos of investigators and their vehicles.

Sievert was not a welcome observer of the drug raid. Authorities called him a "known drug dealer" based on a couple of past arrests. Taking photos of undercover officers jeopardized their lives, deputies said.

Sievert refused to remove his hands from his pockets and step away from his car after he was confronted about the pictures. Deputies forced him to the ground. The 20-year-old unemployed Bradenton man was arrested on a misdemeanor obstruction charge.

Investigators could not access the images on the phone...
Click here (http://www.heraldtribune.com/article/20080316/NEWS/803160313/-1/help0501) for the full story.

03-16-2008, 11:40 PM
This case is much more than just a search and seizure issue. It will probably set a precedent that is going to hurt in other areas. The bad guy is right that the police should not have brought the undercover cars along on the warrant if they did not want them known as police cars.

There has been a long established principle that anyone can take a picture of anything in public view, if he is legally where he is. The police use this to their benefit all of the time. The area where this has been challenged in the past required other activities to make it suspicious or illegal. That was in "national security cases" where a terrorist was accused of taking pictures in preparation for an attack. There had to be something else present to make the picture taking suspicious, and even then it was not probable cause for an arrest (though the other circumstances might make it).

When the police lose this case, if they are dumb enough to appeal it to set case law precedent, it will hurt us in security cases and police camera use cases. If we can do surveillance without a warrant because they are in public, they can do the same thing to us.