Wait, whose federal immigration officials? Not ours, right? I mean, there has to be a New Hampshire in Europe somewhere. Or maybe they meant Old Hampshire. Definitely not the state, because American feds have their hands full deporting sole-caregivers of disabled children over traffic violations and making sure that we don’t let anyone have anchor babies, unless we’re talking about teenagers who want abortions, in which case fuuuuuuuuuck no, there’s gotta be some kinda third option.
But seriously, this is rage-inducing and potentially very bad. Here’s the unnerving subheader:
“While the U.S. Constitution may allow warrantless and suspicionless dog-sniff searches, the New Hampshire’s Constitution specifically forbids it.”
So, uh, guess what the cops did anyway.
First, what the fuck. Warrantless and suspicionless drug-dog searches are Constitutional since when?! What about the Fourth Amendment’s protection against unreasonable searches? Welp, SCOTUS decided in Illinois v. Caballes that police do not need reasonable suspicion to use drug-sniffing dogs during an otherwise-legitimate traffic stop. My favorite part of this ruling by that liberal swine Stephens is the argument that citizens have no legitimate claim to privacy where illegal activities are concerned, and all the dogs do is detect illegal activity (possession of illegal articles), so the Fourth Amendment doesn’t even come into it!
Fortunately, while individual states cannot take away protections guaranteed by the United States Constitution, they can certainly augment them in their own state constitutions by, for example, forbidding warrantless and suspicionless dog-sniffing. It just so happens that New Hampshire’s state constitution does exactly that.
But the incident in New Hampshire wasn’t just about suspicionless sniffing. The “legitimate traffic stop” involved was a roadblock.
As for the legality of those, SCOTUS requires police to use them only in special circumstances beyond ordinary law enforcement, without really explaining how to tell what that means, other than by looking at specific rulings. In 1976, SCOTUS ruled for the state in United States v. Martinez-Fuerte, which added immigration enforcement on highways as a certified legit reason to stop everyone for what sound like bullshit reasons to me, but I’m not even a jackass judge like Judy, let alone a high-and-mighty Justice of the SCOTUS (sorry, got too lazy at the last second to type it out). Drunk driving is also, somehow, an exception to the Fourth Amendment despite being pretty ordinary law enforcement, but, in Indianapolis v. Edmond, they ruled that checkpoints to intercept illegal drugs were, like, so unconstitutional. But using checkpoints to solve a specific crime is just fine; for instance, you can look for a person fitting a description, or for a car that was involved in a crime. Crystal clear, right?
The important points are that roadblocks for immigration enforcement are kosher/parev, but roadblocks to search for illegal drugs are not Constitutional. And, in the former case, since immigration enforcement falls under federal jurisdiction, no state can outlaw immigration checkpoints or do anything to hinder them being set up.
So here’s what they did. The Feds set up an immigration checkpoint in New Hampshire. They used dogs for the purported purpose of locating hidden people, but the dogs were also trained to alert to drugs. When they did, the feds searched and seized and handed the evidence over to waiting New Hampshire cops.
In short, the feds and the state police used the feds’ roadblock to violate the rights guaranteed by the New Hampshire state constitution in order to charge the motorists with state crimes in state courts using evidence collected in violation of state law. As egregious as this sounds to me, the cops are pretty sure that they’ve found the perfect loophole, the ultimate way around civil rights.
How did we get here? How do we live in a police state where you don’t find out that your rights don’t exist until you try to use them?
What’s really fucked up here is that ICE took advantage of the Martinez-Fuerte ruling allowing checkpoints for the purpose of finding Canadians fleeing to the US in search of a treatment for frostbite (which is a federal thing, I guess, so NH can’t ixnay the eckpointchay) and then invited state police to use that (legal for the purpose of catching Canadians seeking asylum from low prices for pharmaceuticals) checkpoint to use cocaine-addled (what, that’s not what “drug-sniffing” means?) dogs to identify people who needed a little extra searching—which SCOTUS said was fine according to the US Constitution, remember, except New Hampshire’s state constitution offers more protection and doesn’t allow police to do this to people–in order to justify vehicle searches and seizures for the benefit of state police in a scheme that no one can possibly believe is just.
This preposterous plan is so patently perverse that even the perpetually pugnacious, perniciously petty, pitilessly punitive, po-po promptly propounded was probably possible purely per the promulgation of perspicacious purport proposed by the politic plenipotentiaries presently promoted to power by our pithless president. So persuasory presented this particular path to power that the pretorian police now palaver profligate paeans and panegyrics to their partnership and persist in proclamations in plenitude of public plaudits in praise of participation in putid perfidy, that the partners persevere in pursuit of principles which profane those on which our polity is predicated: the persecution of the powerless, the plunder of person and property, and power gained by a prevaricated but profound preterition of our people, first by polarization, then by proscription and prohibition, predestined to pogroms and purges and perforce to perish as politics passes from proposition and propitiation into perdition.
If I can write a meaningful paragraph where practically every content word starts with a P, we can stop this shit in its tracks by standing up not only for our own rights, but the rights of others.
So, remember: the INS wasn’t a trip to Disney World but ICE is basically trying to prove that there are asshole cops and then there are THE WORST asshole cops and that they deserve the distinction; the police have the same goal but the other way around and insist that you replace “asshole” with “selfless, courageous, great, American heroes;” if a search is proposed, requested, or commenced, you verbally state that you don’t consent to any searches and you say it again every time they start to search something new; you have no idea how the thing they found got where they found it because you don’t remember it and therefore you can’t admit to it being yours, sorry; you have no idea what else may or may not be in any receptacle/vehicle/bag/shoe anywhere in or near your possession but you like to be surprised so you do not consent to any searches; you do not wish to answer any questions about this or any other topic; are you under arrest or are you free to go, and if you’re under arrest, in whose custody are you to consider yourself, because you’ll need to tell your l a w y e r. Then suck it up and sit in jail for a night or two and don’t say another goddamn word to anybody.
When it comes to the cops, it’s us versus them. If they don’t like it, they can stop abusing their power and generally being dicks. If you don’t like it…we need to elect someone who wants to do something about it next time.