Thursday, March 27, 2008

What's the Matter with Kansas? Slippery Slopes

Opponents of the Patriot Act have long argued that having such laws are a slippery slope and are open to the most egregious forms of abuse. The very type of abuse many of us who have always opposed the Patriot Act have feared has actually occurred, in Kansas.

In a recent motion to suppress any evidence from the search, defense lawyer Charles O'Hara argued that the Patriot Act was meant for "serious matters involving national security," not drug cases like the one involving his client, Tyrone Andrews.

"I thought that this Patriot Act was something passed to protect us all from these terrorist acts, and it would be used very judiciously," O'Hara said Monday. "This doesn't seem to be one where these secret searches would be used."

Jim Cross, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office in Wichita, said the office "believes the evidence in this case was legally obtained."

"I think our legal arguments are clearly stated in the documents we have filed," Cross said. He said he couldn't comment further because the case is before a federal court.

A federal grand jury indictment released Dec. 21 accused Andrews, a 38-year-old aircraft plant worker, and seven other Wichita men of 48 counts of drug-related crimes including trafficking and conspiracy. The government seeks a forfeiture of $300,000 from Andrews.

I won't get into the issue of how stupid our War on Drugs is, and while I do have strong issues with gangs, using the Patriot Act to obtain evidence in a drug case is a serious abuse, and I believe all law enforcement officers involved should be fired, and perhaps even prosecuted. You cannot be an officer of the law if you break the law.

As for how slippery this slope is, it's a very short distance between illegally obtaining evidence related to alleged crimes and obtaining "evidence" in order to create the appearance of a crime. If law enforcement officers are allowed to get away with crimes like the one in Kansas, how hard do you think it would be for law enforcement officers to go after an innocent person as some form of vendetta?

This case is a perfect example of why the Patriot Act should have never been passed.

0 talk back: