Saturday, August 28, 2010

Why, despite my contempt for most seated judges, I like law for its own sake

Because every so often you get to ponder questions like this one: "Does Dressing Up as a Cop, Staging Fake Traffic Stops, Looking for Drugs, and then Keeping the Drugs Violate the Fourth Amendment?" I am inclined to agree with the professor (insofar as I understand him) that the judge had two rational options:

1. He could say that they were not state actors and therefore the Fourth Amendment charge was bogus.

2. He could say that they were state actors (by virtue of dressing up as state actors) and therefore treated them as such, meaning that the question of whether they violated the Fourth Amendment would have depended upon whether -- as they claim they did -- they followed appropriate procedures such as only stopping people for probable cause, etc.

What he instead did, was to treat them as state actors (even though they, while they were certainly actors, they had no true affiliation whatsoever with the state) long enough to let them be indicted for that, and then switch gears and NOT treat them as state actors (that is, he applied rules to them that would not have been applied to real police officers) when the Fourth Amendment stuff came up. In other words, I'll say whatever I want to say in order to facilitate the prosecution, and logic be damned. Not an impressive performance, in my least, not if the professor represents the law correctly.

Isn't this fun? (Don't answer that.)


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