Newsbrief: Former Child Actor Macauley Culkin Busted for Drugs in All-Too-Typical Cave-In to Police Search Request 9/24/04

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Former child star Macauley Culkin, 24, and a companion were arrested on drug charges in Oklahoma City on September 17 in an all-too-typical traffic stop turned drug bust. Culkin, who is best known for his role in the "Home Alone" movies, went down after police stopped the car in which he was riding for going 70 mph in a 60 mph zone.

In a fatal blunder, the driver, Brett Tabisel, 22, of New York, consented to a search of the vehicle by the police officer, according to the police report. The officer then asked Culkin to step out of the car. Culkin then told the officer he had $3,000 in cash in a black bag on the car floor. When the officer opened the bag, he found marijuana. Tabisel than told the officer there were more drugs in the car. When Culkin was asked about prescription drugs, he pulled a bag containing 24 Xanax and sleeping pills from his pocket. In a further search of the vehicle, the officer found six more joints and two roaches, the police report said. The total marijuana haul was 17.3 grams, or slightly over a half-ounce.

Tabisel was issued tickets for speeding, making an illegal lane change, and marijuana possession. Culkin was charged with possession of a controlled substance without a prescription and possession of marijuana. He was jailed for two hours before paying a $4,000 bail bond.

Culkin had only one word to say to reporters on his release: "Jesus."

The young actor would have been better off if he had devoted some of his time to watching movies instead of making them. We refer in particular to the video "BUSTED: The Citizen's Guide to Surviving Police Encounters," which instructs people on how to exercise their rights during just such incidents. Produced by the Flex Your Rights Foundation (, the central theme of "BUSTED" is NEVER CONSENT TO A SEARCH! If Culkins' driver, Tabisel, had not given initial consent to a search, the whole chain of events that ended up with Culkins behind bars in the Oklahoma City jail might have been avoided.

"This is a textbook example of how not to handle a police traffic stop," said Flex Your Rights Executive Director Steven Silverman. "Culkin foolishly consented to the officer's search request. When pressed, Culkin or his driver should have said, 'Officer, I don't consent to any searches. Are we free to go now?' They could have driven away safely with a warning. If the officer searched him anyway, he would have been no worse off, and his lawyer could have gotten the charges thrown out of court."

Silverman pointed out that Culkins is hardly alone, noting that recent marijuana arrests of Kimora Lee Simmons, the wife of hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons, and singers David Crosby and Art Garfunkel could have easily been avoided if they hadn't consented to police searches. "This epidemic of celebrity pot busts could easily be cured -- if they would just flex their rights," he said.

Instead, Culkins is now a statistic, one of the more than one million people arrested on drug charges each year, most of them for simple possession.

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Issue #355, 9/24/04 Editorial: The Moral Choice is Clear | With New Sentencing Legislation Pending in Congress, Church Leaders Urge an End to Mandatory Minimums | Patients, Doctors, Supporters Head to Washington to Demand Rescheduling of Marijuana as a Medicine | For Second Year, John W. Perry Fund Helps Students with Drug Convictions Afford College | DRCNet Interview: Michael Badnarik, Libertarian Party Presidential Candidate | DRCNet Book Review: "Patients in The Crossfire: Casualties in The War On Medical Marijuana," by Americans For Safe Access | Action Alert: Still Time to Contact Judiciary Committee Members About HEA Drug Provision | Newsbrief: Schwarzenegger Signs Syringe Access Bill, Vetoes NEP Bill | Newsbrief: Schwarzenegger Vetoes Bill Barring High School Drug Testing | Newsbrief: New Jersey Needle Exchange Bill on Fast Track, Passes First Hurdle | Newsbrief: Former Child Actor Macauley Culkin Busted for Drugs in All-Too-Typical Cave-In to Police Search Request | Newsbrief: Montel Williams Show Brings Medical Marijuana Issue to the Masses | Newsbrief: Bush Warns of Canada Drug Threat, Whistles Past Afghan Opium Fields | Newsbrief: Guatemala Seeks More Anti-Drug Money from United States | Newsbrief: Decades of Colombian Drug War Brings... New, More Efficient Drug Organizations | Newsbrief: Narc Hates Free Publicity | Newsbrief: This Week's Corrupt Cops Story | Newsbrief: British Drug Policy Think Tank Says Government Abandoned Planned Heroin Maintenance Expansion | This Week in History | The Reformer's Calendar

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