17 votes

Motorist puts police in their place at suspicionless internal checkpoint

Motorist puts police in their place at suspicionless internal checkpoint
No probable cause, no answers required at suspicionless internal checkpoints

By Martin Hill

December 2, 2012

(VIDEO HERE: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0-arr5Nv3yQ

Border officers from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security at an internal suspicionless checkpoint in New Mexico were shown last week that if they have no reasonable suspicion or probable cause, they can not deter occupants of a vehicle even if the person does not answer their questions.

A commercial truck driver was off duty in the sleeper berth when he was awakened by an officer at the checkpoint, which was nowhere near an international border. The driver, having dealt with the issue before, did not appreciate being woken up by cops once again. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulations dictate that every commercial driver must have a 10 hour off duty period to sleep between shifts, and is not to be disturbed. Any driver who violates these safety rules can be prosecuted. So why are federal law enforcement officers and police across the country in the habit and practice of waking up truckers illegally, when the federal rules were put in place to specifically maintain the safety of both commercial drivers and individual motorists? Federal agencies have completed studies on the danger of fatigue related big-rig crashes, thus enforcing extremely strict guidelines and logbook rules. [See also
The Effect of Rest-Schedule Orientation on Sleep Quality of Commercial Drivers

The driver had two Texas troopers wake him up in 2010 when he was off duty sleeping and his co-driver pulled into a weigh station. The Texas Department of Public Safety officially admitted wrongdoing in that case, admonishing the two officers with 'corrective action' and 'retraining provided'. The troopers are currently defendants in a federal lawsuit as a result of their acts.

In this case, a similar situation, a New Mexico border agent shouted through the window while standing on the truck, waking the sleeping person and demanding to know if he was a citizen.
Once again, the driver recorded the entire interaction and refused to answer questions, rebuking both the officer and his supervisor for violating federal law.

Upon questioning the supervisor briefly claimed he was detaining the man, but upon being asked what crime he was being accused of, the supervisor quickly did a 180 degree turnabout and admitted that the man was free to go "now that we know that you're a U.S. citizen." However, note that the man never once answered any questions or said that he was a U.S. citizen. On what basis therefore, were the New Mexico officers claiming knowledge of his citizenship? Is it merely because he was white and speaks English? Does this mean that they racially profile? Because that is the exact opposite of their department's own stated policy.

The reality is that Americans are not obligated to answer questions asked by border agents at suspcionless checkpoints regarding citizenship, "where they're headed", or anything else. Terry Bressi of CheckpointUSA.org recently won over $200,000 in a federal lawsuit from Homeland Security. [Be sure to check out his youtube channel!]. Bressi points out on his blog that the border patrol themselves have answered questions in writing regarding internal checkpoints, and they admit the following:

"Q. 11. Am I required to answer the agent's questions at the checkpoint?"

A. "No person can be required to give evidence that incriminates themselves - that is a constitutional right. Neither can any public official compel or coerce such a statement if the person being questioned refuses to give one voluntarily..."

Bressi also notes

Referring back to the first question, the Border Patrol admits an agent must believe the individual being interrogated is unlawfully in the United States. While operating away from the border or its functional equivalent, merely being suspicious is not enough of a legal basis to further a detention or interrogation. In fact, at an internal checkpoint, the Supreme Court ruled agents MUST have probable cause or consent in order to extend the detention or to search. If an agent diverts a vehicle to secondary for further scrutiny after asking the immigration question, that represents an extended detention and must be premised on probable cause:

"Our prior cases have limited significantly the reach of this congressional authorization, requiring probable cause for any vehicle search in the interior and reasonable suspicion for inquiry stops by roving patrols. Our holding today, approving routine stops for brief questioning is confined to permanent checkpoints. We understand, of course, that neither longstanding congressional authorization nor widely prevailing practice justifies a constitutional violation" - U.S. v Martinez-Fuerte

"...We have held that checkpoint searches are constitutional only if justified by consent or probable cause to search....And our holding today is limited to the type of stops described in this opinion. -[A]ny further detention...must be based on consent or probable cause."
- U.S. v Martinez-Fuerte

See also ACLU Exposes Homeland Security Enforced 'Constitution Free Zone', What To Do At A DUI Roadblock and

Police Defendants Pay $210,000 To Settle Illegal Roadblock Lawsuit.

Martin Hill is a Catholic paleoconservative and civil rights advocate. His work has been featured on LewRockwell.com, WhatReallyHappened, Infowars, PrisonPlanet, National Motorists Association, WorldNetDaily, The Orange County Register, KNBC4 Los Angeles, Los Angeles Catholic Lay Mission Newspaper, KFI 640, The Press Enterprise, Antiwar.com, IamtheWitness.com, FreedomsPhoenix, Rense, BlackBoxVoting, and many others. Archives can be found at LibertyFight.com

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

I'm all for freedom, but does

I'm all for freedom, but does the guy have to be so hostile, when you know that some of these "cops" are just doing what they are told to do. Usually that tone makes it worse... just me..

Someone please point to the law the guy is supposed to have violated.... thanks

If you disagree with me on anything you are not a real libertarian...

"Just doing what they are

"Just doing what they are told to do" is not a justifiable excuse unless you wish to excuse every Nazi soldier that stuffed Jews into cattle cars and gas showers because they were operating on orders too. Same goes for all the Stalinist government officials that killed people left & right in the Soviet Union because they were just doing their jobs.


If some pig cop broke into

If some pig cop broke into your house and woke you up at 3am when you had to be at work the next day, would you offer him breakfast? Get real. it's an outrageous affront what these power-drunk criminal lunatics do. Also, when you're hauling an 80,000 lb 70-foot rig down icy mountain roads all hours of the day and night- that's a dangerous job, not one to be attempted when drowsy. Americans have the right to be LEFT ALONE by govt.

This happened to me...

But my company woke me up through the staff of the truck stop.

Seriously, I was fast asleep, legally in sleeper berth. I thought it was a stick up or the police. It was not a good feeling initially because they were just pounding on the door. I was obviously somewhat apprehensive to draw back the curtains.

Of course, I was not aware at the time of this criminal offense. I thought I could still be disturbed. My bad.


Great information

I didn't know about the ten hour rest rule. Another bit of info for my mental arsenal.

Colchester, New London County, Connecticut

Good stuff

also cool website, checkpointusa.org

"In the beginning of a change, the Patriot is a scarce man, Brave, Hated, and Scorned. When his cause succeeds however,the timid join him, For then it costs nothing to be a Patriot.” ~Mark Twain