Sunday, December 20, 2009
A NATION OF "CHECKPOINT CHARLIE" ROADBLOCKS?
After Terry v. Ohio the Supreme Court's next significant nod to increasing police control arose out the illegal alien crisis in the case of United States v. Martinez-Fuerte. That case has a dissent worth reading now more than 3 decades later because of what it forewarned and because Justice Brennan, considered among Jurists to be perhaps the most intellectual Justice to serve on the Court, explored the slippery slope we now find ourselves near the bottom of today. I remain still on the fence on the issue(s) addressed in Martinez-Fuerte and Michigan v. Stiz though being a strict constructionist of the Constitution I lean more toward the conservative viewpoint that 'Check Point Charlies' license checks are dishonest and unconstitutional. while the Stits case is more clear cut in that it mandated specific regulations for setting up a "Check Point Charlie", its apparent mandates have not been followed very much by Trial Courts who in large part rely on State Appellate decisions which invariably water down the mandates thus blurring the focus on the fact that the Constitution rigidly mandates individual protections against state intrusion. Though I am not a fan of Justice Rhenquist's decisions as a whole, having found many to be ideological, if the Stits mandates were uniformly followed by the Trial Court I think a lot of 'Check Points' would be found unconstitutional.