Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Can we puh-leez have this judge brought to the US from Canada and allowed to set up shop here?

From the Media Awareness Project:

A judge in St. John's recently decided that a man found with 14 grams of cocaine, 62 ecstasy pills and $11,000 in cash had an expectation of privacy when he checked his luggage prior to a flight in 2006.

The ruling means the man can continue his legal battle to have the evidence against him thrown out.

Brian Crisby, of Eastport, N. L., is charged with possession of ecstasy and cocaine for the purposes of trafficking. On Nov. 24, 2006, a police dog detected the drugs in Mr. Crisby's checked baggage in St. John's after his flight from Fort Mc-Murray, Alta. Police were acting on a tip.

Mr. Crisby's lawyer, Mark Rogers, is trying to have the drugs and cash thrown out as evidence by arguing that the seizure was a violation of Mr. Crisby's Charter right against unlawful search and seizure.

Mr. Rogers' first step is to prove that Mr. Crisby had an expectation of privacy over the contents of his luggage when he checked his bags.

Crown prosecutors argued Mr. Crisby gave up all his privacy rights when he voluntarily checked his baggage, because he knew air travel is subject to strict controls, including security screening.

The problem with that, Justice Robert Hall ruled, is that airport security laws are designed to protect travellers against weapons and explosives, not to catch illegal drugs. He described the Crown's argument as an "incremental intrusion upon privacy rights."

"Obviously, searching or screening the accused's bags for the presence of drugs does not fit into the category of purposes for which screening was authorized," Judge Hall wrote.

"I conclude that Brian Crisby had a reasonable expectation of privacy with respect to the contents of his luggage, save and except for searches by [airport] personnel for items that could be used to jeopardize the security of an aerodrome or aircraft."

Maybe this is what Associate Justice Stephen Breyer means when he says he wants Constitutional rulings to take international law into account. One can only hope.

[h/t Drug War Rant]


Zafo Jones said...

Reasoned refreshing! I'm sure you can count on the government powers and police officials to cry "legislating from the bench." Oh shut up! You already get to dose me with x-ray radiation and feel up girls under the pretense of a "random security check"...that's plenty enough power for you to handle. Leave the rest of us alone.

Tyler Nixon said...

Amen to that, Zafo (and Steve). Canada really seems to have a lot of reasonable rational adults in positions of power up there.

What a contrast to the infantile mindsets of (and treatment by) American drug warrior slugs, backed by Orwellian control freaks.

Our northern brethren seem to see right through the creeping (slithering, really) bully police state garbage that would actually tolerate the absurd notion of being "detained and searched for your own protection".

I love seeing reason and rationality give the nanny-bully state a swift judicial slap across its face like this.

Enough with the Bush era's utterly false pretense that the best way to protect us is to condition us with fear and dehumanize us such that we meekly submit to having basic civil rights trampled under its various gotcha dragnets.

And yes, before I hear otherwise, PRIVACY IS A CIVIL RIGHT, at the very heart of the 4th and 5th Amendments.