I subscribe to several websites that provide email blasts about the latest stories and happenings from around the world.  I use these sites to provide the latest information that I can to my subscribers.  I received an email from WND entitled:

Latest assault on 4th Amendment — no-knock raids

If authorities in this state believe you’ve exercised your Second Amendment right to own a rifle, be warned — the local SWAT team says that fact alone gives them the right to break your door down in the middle of the night.

Now being a retired Police Officer, this obviously peaked my interest.  I started reading this piece thinking that there was a question about the danger of firearms on search warrants.  It turned out to be an article that boggled my mind and started to attack Law Enforcement and policies that have been in place for many years.

In the second paragraph, there is a quote from John Whitehead, president of the Rutherford Institute, who is defending the suspect in this case.  This is the text from the article:

“Whatever the issue might be, whether it’s mass surveillance, no-knock raids, or the right to freely express one’s views about the government, we’ve moved into a new age in which the rights of the citizenry are being treated as a secondary concern by the White House, Congress, the courts and their vast holding of employees, including law enforcement officials,” said John W. Whitehead, president of the Rutherford Institute, which is defending John Gerard Quinn.
Read more at http://www.wnd.com/2013/06/gun-owner-targeted-with-no-knock-raid/#EU1mf1EOSx70Z2Wy.99

 

Now, being that I am a former Police Officer, I put very little faith in what defense attorneys have to say.  No knock warrants have been around for years and there is a set of rules that govern the issuance of a no knock warrant.  Some of those rules change state to state but the basics are all the same.  If there is a demonstrated danger to persons or Officers being injured or evidence being lost, as a result of a knock and announce warrant, then a no knock warrant may be issued, at the discretion of the issuing Judge.  Now, in this case, the Judge determined that there was not a demonstrated danger for the issuing of a no knock warrant.  The SWAT team, decided to go against that and proceed in a no-knock tactic.  Warrants are inherently dangerous and unpredictable, no matter what you are talking about.  You never know how someone is going to react about going to jail.  Search warrants, especially drug warrants are some of the most unpredictable and dangerous actions, outside of a traffic stop that Officers have to deal with.  Now, this article and Mr. Whitehead do not state what the warrant was for or what the investigation entailed.  Those are big questions that need to be answered.  It doesn’t change the fact that the SWAT team or their command acted on their own and didn’t follow a Judges decision, right or wrong.  This is a ploy that defense counsels use in the media to divert attention from the real criminal activity.

I do agree that if there are weapons known to be in the location, that increases the danger of executing the warrant.  I also agree, in my opinion, it is not solely a reason for a no-knock warrant.  The question arises, what other information did the Officers have related to this location and suspects have, that is not being released in the article.  Are all the information in this article or have things been omitted to make it sound like an attack on the 4th Amendment.  Another part of obtaining a no-knock warrant, is a suspect’s history.  Is there a violent history, use of weapons in crimes, violence against Police Officers, etc.  If you know that when you kick that door in, the guy behind is most likely going to jail and has a 5 year stint in prison for assaulting an Officer or drug dealing and had a history of fighting or gang ties in prison, gives an Officer an insight to the mind of the suspect.

The article does state that the search of the suspect’s home, did find drugs (cocaine).  We as the reader, again, do not know what the history of the suspect is.  Is this his first offense, 10th offense.  Previous convictions for distribution of drugs, is this a crack house or was this a personal use amount.  Was there other factors, such as drug paraphernalia, scales, baggies for packaging product?  All these factor in to what type of person this suspect is.

The SWAT team forcibly broke into Quinn’s home after he had gone to bed and proceeded to carry out a search of the premises. The raid resulted in police finding less than one gram of cocaine, which Quinn was charged with possessing.
Read more at http://www.wnd.com/2013/06/gun-owner-targeted-with-no-knock-raid/#EU1mf1EOSx70Z2Wy.99

This statement is just to create sensationalism.  The SWAT team was going to break into the house, whether or not they knocked and announced.  The poor man was in bed and his beauty sleep was interrupted.  This is the perfect time to serve a search warrant.  This gives the element of surprise and less chance that anyone is going to be injured.

The appeal also raises other constitutional issues, including a defective answer from a judge to the jury deliberating the case and the inappropriate use of evidence that should have been suppressed.
Read more at http://www.wnd.com/2013/06/gun-owner-targeted-with-no-knock-raid/#EU1mf1EOSx70Z2Wy.99

 

This has nothing to do with the Police Officers.  The court system is a broken wheel and they continue to drive on it.  

“The [court] seems to think than an ‘AK-47′ rifle is some sort of ‘exceptionally’ dangerous weapon. Actually, despite the faux mystique surrounding that particular type of rifle fostered by popular media, the AK-47 is not uniquely dangerous,” a footnote in the brief explains. “It is the most-used rifle in the world because there are 100 million of them, it is cheap to make and easy to repair, and because it can be chambered for a wide variety of calibers.
Read more at http://www.wnd.com/2013/06/gun-owner-targeted-with-no-knock-raid/#EU1mf1EOSx70Z2Wy.99

 

This section of the brief is going to be a confrontational point, at best.  An AK-47, yes is one of the most popular guns in the world but it is a large round, capable of penetrating walls, brick, block and ballistic vests worn by Officers, may or may not stop the round.  It can fire in the area of 600 rounds per minute.  Now, as I stated, this alone does not constitute the need for a no-knock warrant.  But whomever wrote this brief does not appear to be very knowledgeable of law enforcement procedures and the dangers Officers face.  Again, this article does include the whole brief and so I am not able to see the complete context that this written in.

“As a gun collector who prudently kept his legally owned collection safely secured in gun vaults, it was altogether possible that Mr. Quinn could have had a large number of guns in his home and no ammunition. The point here is not to argue that ‘possession’ of guns does not roughly or usually equate to possession of ‘working’ guns. The point is: an AK-47 is no more powerful – and is indeed less powerful – than many common hunting rifles.
Read more at http://www.wnd.com/2013/06/gun-owner-targeted-with-no-knock-raid/#EU1mf1EOSx70Z2Wy.99

 

This goes to the history of the suspect.  Was there knowledge that the suspect was a gun collector?  The question of whether the guns are functional or not, should not play into this.  There is no way for an Officer to know whether those guns were functional or not.  That fact can change on a dime.  The statement that an AK-47 is no more dangerous than most hunting rifles, is complete BS.  You are comparing a hunting rifle, that most likely is a bolt action rifle and has a rate of 45 rounds a minute to 600 rounds.  Yes, there are larger rounds but most people, especially criminals do not use these weapons.  It doesn’t have the shock factor and the Hollywood appeal that drug dealers are looking for.

“The police, being weapons experts, obviously knew this – but testified about the ‘dangerous’ nature of this particular gun because they knew the jury would have heard of it in the media and would know about its mystique as the weapon of choice for terrorists around the world. Clever, but misleading.”
Read more at http://www.wnd.com/2013/06/gun-owner-targeted-with-no-knock-raid/#EU1mf1EOSx70Z2Wy.99

 

This paragraph is a misnomer.  What does this person, I am assuming this is a Judge but the article doesn’t specify, know what was in the Officers minds. The Judges don’t allow this in court and so why is it allowed in a brief?  Now, I understand that this is a brief but if a Judge is willing to make speculation and assumption, than they are not being objective and impartial.  I did read the PDF attachment and realized that this is a PETITION for review.  This is not an actual brief written on the opinion of a Judge.  They are asking for the court to review the case and overturn the conviction.  The conviction or determination of an illegal search.

My point of this rant, is that I don’t believe that a journalist, especially a conservative journalist, should be copying and pasting an article written by a defense counsel that is going to try and turn the tables against the Police and for his client.  I also believe that there should be more information to clarify the information, like I have pointed out earlier.  This is a flawed article, written by an Attorney, who is trying to make the best case for his client in the media. I may not be an expert but I have many years of experience in Law Enforcement, writing and serving warrants and dealing with the criminal element, including search and seizure.  Much of this is my opinion but it is based on fact.  Mr. Whitehead’s article is much based on his opinion but with bias towards his client.  I would ask, as a conservative, that better research be conducted before publishing articles.  Thank you taking the time to read my rant.

Advertisements