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Why Refusing a Police Search Helps Protect You Even if They Search You Anyway

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San Francisco Examiner reports on the latest in a series of controversies surrounding constitutional violations by SFPD officers.

Private attorney Robert Amparan said at a news conference Wednesday at Public Defender Jeff Adachi’s office that a judge had just thrown out his client’s felony marijuana possession for sale case because video evidence contradicted the officers’ testimony in court and statements on the police report.

Amparan said 23-year-old McLaren Wenzell did not consent to letting the officers inside his apartment at 33rd Avenue and Geary Boulevard on March 1. He said the officers did not immediately identify themselves as police and did not have a constitutional basis to search the apartment.

In the course of my work to educate the public about how to properly exercise constitutional rights during police encounters, a reaction I hear frequently is, "What's the point? They're just going to search me anyway." Well, as you can see in the story above, police can get busted for bad behavior, and when they do, the evidence is often declared inadmissible. Think about this: if the suspect had instead given consent for the search, there wouldn't have been any question about the legality of the police entry, and he would have been convicted.  The only reason things worked out for him is because he refused the search and relied on his constitutional rights for protection.

But the critical point here goes beyond what happened to this particular suspect in this particular case. Keep in mind that the legal significance of refusing a police search applies whether or not you've broken the law, and whether or not police break the law. If officers plant evidence, damage your property, or otherwise disrespect your home, it's almost impossible to challenge their actions if you gave them permission to come inside. That's how the law works, and the fact that police sometimes violate it gives you more reason to know and assert your rights, not less.

Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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what do you think you are superman?all your doing is telling people to disrepect law enforcement ,and tell them how to ILLEGALLY get away with breaking the law. that 4th addement crap needs to be exculded from law enforcement and government. they have a responsablity to protect us and our children.they shouldnt have to ask for permisson . I was rasied to trust and respect policeman.they should be people whom we can trust. if you have drugs then YOU deserve to go to prison.. you shouldnt expect privacy ,becouse that word is completely and utterly a dirty dirty word. privacy is just unnmoral . the only people who deserve privacy is law enforcement,godly christians,  and people who can afford to live in gated commuities. and dont call  me a bigot.cause your the ones who wanna let people get high and downgrade america and make us get poorer , hope you find jesus you sinners,.and if you make fun of my grammer spelling then shame on you for being bigots yet again for discrimating agesnt my religion; which last time i checked i can freely pratice in america cause im a christian, and ur just hell bound.

Goat Walk Over Your Bridge?

Here's a Troll Cookie, you deserve it.

OMFG this

OMFG this


headed to's news stories to argue for legal heroin for babies then - peeeeew peeew peew

You sir are an idiot.  I

You sir are an idiot.  I think your religion is nonsense, but I would never attack it.  Stop attacking drug users, you bigot.

WoW, bill you're so stupid. I

WoW, bill you're so stupid. I hope that your trolling because i can't stand stupid people. But I do my fair share of trolling. But not on things i care about. Bill, you're dumb

My fellow

My fellow are a nut job!   You have zero understanding and are stuck in your antiquated thinking.  Are you really serious that marijuana will keep us American citizens poor. better educate yourself and while your at it get some mental health help.  FREAK!

Its nice 2 want things only 4 yourself. But 2 leave others out ?

"the only people who deserve privacy is law enforcement,godly christians".Well now that you are going against how a Christian should practice. Do unto others as you would have done to yourself. If you truly believe in God...  God treats every one equal. "Privacy" should be had by all not just a few chosen people... Something to think about the next time you pick and choose. 

Its nice 2 want things only 4 yourself. But 2 leave others out ?

"the only people who deserve privacy is law enforcement,godly christians".Well now that you are going against how a Christian should practice. Do unto others as you would have done to yourself. If you truly believe in God...  God treats every one equal. "Privacy" should be had by all not just a few chosen people... Something to think about the next time you pick and choose. 


so because im a hindu, im not entitled to the same right as you, a "god- faring" christian? whos the bigot now idiot. 


so because im a hindu, im not entitled to the same right as you, a "god- faring" christian? whos the bigot now idiot. 


so because im a hindu, im not entitled to the same right as you, a "god- faring" christian? whos the bigot now idiot. 

Well well sir, I must point

Well well sir, I must point out a few things first of all your on a sight called STOP THE DRUG WAR, also in your holy book it states all seed bearing plants are for man kinds use. Futhermore police do not protect socity, they protect the system. They murder and beat innocent unarmed citizens, they harm society. No one should be above the law. And how can one say only some deserve privacy? Equal rights for all, you nazi. People like you is the problem with america. F.y.i. legalizatin will benifit americas welth. OPEN YOUR MIND AND SEE, THERE IS NOTHING HIGHER THAN TRUTH.

God hates you

Yep...your going to hell

Yep.....god hates u

Yep.....god hates u

This is about unwarranted

This is about unwarranted search and seizure. If they had a warrant you've got to let them in and/or have the warrant verified. This is referring to when they don't have a warrant moron.

typical narrow-minded

typical narrow-minded response. if we need jesus, you need schooling and learn proper grammar 'cause your the ones who wanna let people get high and downgrade america and make us get poorer.' and how are the only people that deserve privacy are 'godly christians', law enforcement (who aren't anyone special at all.), and people that can afford to live in gated communites? that makes no sense at all you piece of shit privacy is something everyone deserves. get your head out of your ass like all people that take religion way to fucking far.



jesus didnt exist and either does god. please try to prove me wrong. jesus's life story is the same exact timeline as 32 other gods in different religions. look up horus ( egyptians sun god ), mithras, and yeshua for a start.

Jesus is your drug

your drug kills more people and ruins more lives every day than drugs could ever do. What's it like being indoctrinated?

Bill, you are so uneducated & so disrespectful of US Constition

The American Revolution was fought to protect the rights that you, Bill, so disrespect.  My ancestors, my dad, my uncles, my cousins, friends and neighbors fought, and some died, to protect those rights.

If you would like a free copy of the US Constitution, check the internet and copy and paste it.  Or go to the Campaign for Liberty's website and get one for a dollar or two.  It's cheap.  Read it.  Memorize it.  It stands between you and the evil of the government's workers and politicians.

But you think evil is alright if it is done in the name of justice.  OH, PUHL LEEZE.

ALL police have taken an oath to "uphold & defend the US Constitution against ALL enemies, foreign and domestic".


Perjury, i.e. lying to the court, is criminal.  You are condoning criminal behaivior, and therefore, aiding and abbeting criminal activity by the police.


The people, i.e. citizens both good and bad, are to be protected from violations of their God given rights and the police have taken an oath to defend those God given rights some of which rights are spelled out in the US Constitution.

What I do In my home is my

What I do In my home is my business, not yours . Don't push your religion on me. I don't need it or want it. I was raised not to trust anyone. I don't. Especially Jesus freaks and the law.

What I do In my home is my

What I do In my home is my business, not yours . Don't push your religion on me. I don't need it or want it. I was raised not to trust anyone. I don't. Especially Jesus freaks and the law.


Funny, considering highschool students in gated communities are more likely to use hard drugs that their poorer counterparts.  Same thing with celebrities and rich people in "gated communities"  Additionally, there are plenty of crooked cops, by no means the norm but they exist. 

And regarding the Christian shit you threw out there, fuck you.  Go live in the Vatican or some shit, nobody wants you or your children here.

I don't even use pot.

You are dumb

Why are you trying to make marijuana sound like the devil? Its a plant! Just because you have been sheltered behind mommy and daddy your whole childhood you never got to experience the truth behind marijuana. Is marijuana not a green herb? Next time you go ranting on how pot smokers are hell bound how about you open that bible you are so glued to and realize the truth. Genesis 9:3 "Every moving thing that liveth shall be food for you; as well as the GREEN HERB have I given you all."

LMAO, your arguments aren't

LMAO, your arguments aren't even logically sound.  I strongly recommend you find a new house of worship that is truly Christian in practice and preaching.  I see only Satan's arrogance and a refusal to respect the lord's commandments and teachings.  It's not that you are merely a bigot, it is that you are a horrible blasphemous sinner and a damned fool.  There's no constitution or bill of rights to worry about where you're headed.

Wow. You are messed up.

Wow. You are messed up. You should always question authority. Just because they are in authority, doesn't mean that they're smarter, or know better than you. Look at Nazi Germany. Those people were just following orders, and sent millions of people to their deaths. History is filled with these examples. How about our country? It was founded by system buckers. What do you think the Revolutionary war was about? There's always a right way and a wrong way to get these things done. Being a system bucker is not neccessarily a bad thing, It's all how you do it. But seriously man, you're messed up. You need help. I'm praying for you.

to the person who said um

to the person who said um wrong...i dont know where to start with you. I am a christian...i believe in God and i also believe in my right to privacy. I dont know what kind of christian you are, but i was always taught that i dont judge others. who are you to tell me i am going to hell because i want my right to privacy!?! You need to look at yourself before you go calling people bigots and pointing fingers...was it not jesus who said ye without sin may cast the first stone? You are giving all Christians a bad name...wanting privacy does not make me a sinner, or a makes me an AMERICAN with rights!!!!

Bill Bensmithrie you're a DUMBFUCK!!!!!

You cannot have possibly been more wrong, ignorant, and just straight up retarded! First off fuck law enforcement, i know not every single cop is bad but for the most part cops are raciest pieces of shit who have nothing better to do than harass innocent people for doing nothing wrong and occasionally stop a real crime like burglary or assault. If you enjoy taking police dick up yo ass that's your fucking business but most of us don't. Just because some asshole has a badge and a gun don't mean shit, cops don't have the right to search you whenever the fuck they feel like it you stupid piece of shit! We have constitutional rights against unlawful treatment and brutality and harassment from police so no it shouldn't be excluded from anyone. If you don't enjoy your freedoms such as the 4th fucking amendment or any amendments go live in a country ruled by an asshole dictator were people have no rights at all! And who the fuck are you to say whether or not someone deserves to go to prison?! Besides no one deserves to go to prison for a victimless crime such as drugs especially marijuana and its products since every bad thing ever said about it is just bullshit lies and propaganda all disproved by science, and even if it's fucking meth people have the right to use any substance they want, the government has no right to tell a goddamn adult what they can and can't use especially since again it's bullshit propaganda and (I'm not dissin alcohol, who da fuck don't like getting drunk?) but alcohol is way more dangerous that a lot of illegal drugs plus there plenty of addictive and dangerous (but some still fun) prescription drugs and controlled substances which are a lot of the time worse for you but we still have them which we should but for everyone. O and people have 100 fucking percent their right to privacy you piece of shit. And the world is a pretty bad place sometimes and our government has a big role in how fucked up the world is. Privacy isn't "unmoral" and even if you think it is not everyone does dipshit. You are the definition of fucking bigot by saying only law enforcement, christians, and people rich enough to afford to live in a gated community deserve privacy when every human being does, and your probably also raciest as fuck. And don't say by letting innocent people get high will down grade us you fucking idiot especially when people are already doing it both legally and illegally. And know one would get poorer because people already buy drugs and if they were legal they'd be cheaper than street price, it would help stimulate our shit economy and hopefully help people who need it and not just end up in the pockets of greedy fucking lawmakers and anyone who is to much of a pussy to brake the retarded ass law still spend money on legal drugs such as prescriptions, alcohol and tobacco products (not dissin legal drugs). And just cause we're not all ignorant pussies doesn't mean we're all hellbound (for those who belive in hell), there is nothing wrong with not being a dipshit, you fucking dipshit. And shut the fuck up with all the religious shit i belive in god but not everyone does and not everyone's a stupid extremist chrisitian. It's people like you that help the government keep fucking up the world with retarded fucking nonsense so go fuck your self you pathetic worthless piece of shit your the one that's going to hell and im not super religous and close to god as you THINK you are but im pretty sure god or jesus said to love all people.

re:umm WRONG

I cannot even believe I just read this.  How many flippin' holes are there in your comment?  Let's count:

1. 4th amendment crap?  How about this my faithful Christian friend.  Do you think this country is becoming more or less Godly?  Answer, unless your also blind as well as stupid, LESS.  Read your bible.  When/if the faith cops show up at your door to search for your illegal bible someday, you'll be screaming the fourth amendment at the top of your lungs. 

2. ". . . telling people to disrespect law enforcement?"  Listen buddy.  We pay their salaries, and they take an oath to UPHOLD THE LAW, which (currently, at least) states that they MUST have a warrant to enter your home. 

3. " . . . they shouldn't have to ask for permission."  Alrighty then.  So when your rebellious teenager gets himself into a little trouble, your PERFECTLY OKAY with law enforcement just walking right into your house without knocking or asking permission first?  Please refer to my point #1 as you ponder your answer to this question.  Just as the first amendment gives you (and I) the right to speak freely no matter how idiotic or offensive we may sound, so goes the 4th.  It's just like your bible, sir, you take it all or you don't take any of it. 

4. " . . . should be people whom we can trust."  Just look at the news.  While the OVERWHELMING majority of police officers are honest, reliable and trustworthy folks, there's a few bad ones out there.  You watch the news lately?  How many people are dying unnecessarily this past few years at the hands of overzealous officers?  Answer, one is too many. 

5. " . . . only people who deserve privacy are law enforcement.godly christians."  Really?  Who would you have on the panel to judge the 'Godly' Christians from the not-so-Godly?  I'll just bet you'd love to sit on that panel.  Gated communities?  You mean like Pat Robertson, the Late Jerry Fallwell and others of their ilk?  Let me see, Mr. Microsoft lives in a gated community not far from where I write this, but I've never heard him profess to be Godly.  Does he deserve privacy simply because of the gate? 

As I'm writing this, it occurs to me that the poster may ACTUALLY be a member (or an aspiring member) of the Fred Phelps family and a card-carrying member of the Westboro Baptist Church.  If so your ignorance and poor grammar are forgiven due to your environment.  Otherwise, please note that God and Jesus BOTH prefer that their names, as well as any pronouns (He, They, Them, etc.) be capitalized as a sign of reverence.

I've seen this on t-shirts, bumper stickers, and a billboard:  "God, please save us from your followers."  Seems pretty apropos.

Response to Umm, Wrong by Bill Bensmithrie

This is a response to Umm, Wrong by Bill Bensmithrie Umm, wrong. You moron, The fourth amendment is one of the sacred freedoms we have in this county. It disgusts me that you think we should just get rid of the fourth amendment and create a police state. If you don't appreciate the freedoms that we have in this country please move to a police state where there is no fourth amendment and stop being an advocate for taking my rights away. In other words please get lost.

^^^Troll ^^^

^^^Troll ^^^

Bill...your argument would be

Bill...your argument would be piss poor even with good spelling and grammar..I would suggest that you drink a little shine and go dance with a'll get to see your imaginary pal a little quicker..


noun - the use of irony to mock or convey contempt.

In sarcasm, ridicule or mockery is used harshly, often crudely and contemptuously, for destructive purposes. It may be used in an indirect manner, and have the form of irony, as in “What a fine musician you turned out to be!”

Or maybe Bill is just what he appears to be.


Well Bill, you were raised right, but you are about fourty years behind the times. Let's say the cops break down your door and scare the hell out of you and your family ,then trash your house and shoot your dog, then realize it's the wrong house and say, sorry we're just doing our job and leave. Guess who pays the damages?

I think

I think Bill just wants some attention by posting that comment on here. I got a pretty good laugh out of it so I'm glad he posted. Also I'm pretty sure he's just messing wth us, no one is THAT stupid. Matter of fact, I would give that comment a thumbs up if I could.

Do not talk to the police...ever!

Professor James Duane on youtube gives the clearest and best explanation for not talking to the police I have ever heard. By his words there is never an advantage for you to say one word to the police, whether you are guilty or not guilty. So, never consent to any search or any conversation.

When they who enforce the law BREAK the Law...

The rest of us must ask what kind of society do we live in. High and mighty police chiefs SAY they are held to higher standards and accountability, yet too many of THEIR OFFICERS have been shown to nothing but thugs.

If we the SUBJECTS are required to obey the law, then surely those who enforce the law must be required to OBEY it too. We live in America not a POLICE STATE - or do we?

These badge-carrying bad guys must be prosecuted - the very fabric of our society depends on it. There are things more important then a "creative" arrest.

Come on folks

I don't believe the first post is authentic. Too rigid even for the nut jobs I know. I do believe y'all been punk'd or whatever the hell it's called...

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