I first wrote about Joe Williams from Atlanta and his run-in with a suspicionless sobriety checkpoint back in September of 2010. See:
Recently, Joe sent me an update regarding his case. His email appears below:
My thanks go out to the videographer for exercising his rights and making sure the incident was captured on video so the public can see for itself how the deputies of the good Sheriff of Rutherford County are 'protecting' the people he was placed in office to serve.
Since first drafting this blog entry in late May, significant developments have arisen regarding this lawsuit. I'll be writing about this in more detail soon but for now please note that previously reported trial dates have been vacated.
In broad terms, a Motion In limine is a written request to a judge prior to the start of trial requesting that he/she take some action/make a ruling regarding how the trial will be conducted. Most common however, Motions in limine are written requests to the judge to disallow certain testimony or evidence from being presented to a jury during trial. For purposes of this blog entry and my ongoing civil rights lawsuit, this latter description is the one that applies here.
The video pretty much speaks for itself. Knowing your rights and how to exercise them is a powerful thing. The only thing I'd do differently is only roll down my window an inch or so. No need to give a police officer who has seized you absent suspicion access to the cab of your vehicle and the opportunity to claim he smelled alcohol or drugs.
Good news on the checkpoint front.
Utah's House of Representatives passed a bill on February 23rd that would effectively ban license and sobriety checkpoints in the state. If passed by Utah's Senate and signed into law, Utah will become the 12th state in the Union to ban such suspicionless seizures of individuals inside a state's boundaries.
After more than eight long years, hundreds of legal documents later and several court challenges (including a reversal by the 9th circuit court of appeals), Checkpoint USA's lawsuit is finally being scheduled for trial after being launched in December 2003 against an illegal checkpoint operation conducted in December of 2002.
14 Sep 2010 UPDATE:
Here's an email update I recently received from Mr. Williams regarding his case:
In court yesterday the city of Atlanta dropped the “disorderly conduct” charge and bound the “driving without a license” charge over to state court. I will now be able to present my case before a jury. Time to work on the jury nullification thing
cell # 404.242.2204
A few days ago, I received the email appearing below from Joe Williams in Atlanta, Georgia. Joe will be defending himself in court against malicious charges stemming from the exercise of his rights while being stopped, detained and questioned at a suspicionless sobriety checkpoint in Atlanta, Georgia earlier this year.
I recently came across the video appearing above on YouTube and thought it would be appropriate to make available here.
For those of you who object to individual's exercising their rights while being seized absent suspicion at such checkpoints on the grounds that if they save just one life they're worth it, I request that you review the effectiveness of such checkpoints for yourself.
Brett Darrow is one of those individuals who believe in police accountability and doesn't take kindly to police officers who abuse their authority while hiding behind a gun and a badge. To protect himself from such abuse, Darrow outfitted his vehicle with an in-car camera system several years ago after learning first-hand how some cops have no qualms with fabricating falsehoods to justify otherwise illegal enforcement actions.
Welcome to Checkpoint USA's blog. Here you'll find general information and discussions regarding growing threats to our right to privacy & travel.
While I refer to court cases along with state and federal law frequently in this blog, nothing written here should be construed as legal advice. I am not an attorney. Rather, I'm someone concerned about the growing disregard for individual rights present at all levels of government.
My conclusions are my own based upon personal experience and research. The law is made purposely complex however and varies significantly from place to place and circumstance to circumstance.
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