[Noisebridge-discuss] Some smart things to do when asked anything by an officer of the law

Corey McGuire coreyfro at coreyfro.com
Mon Feb 27 21:19:29 UTC 2012

Alright, I did something wrong, I treated a minority like any other person.

On Mon, Feb 27, 2012 at 12:56 PM, Martin Bogomolni <martinbogo at gmail.com>wrote:

> This goes for policemen, FBI agents, NSA agents, you name it.  Some
> no-nonsense simple rules to protect your legal butt.
> * Be courteous and non-confrontational.  Don't talk back, don't raise
> your voice.  You can only lose by increasing the hostility of the
> situation.
> * Keep your private stuff out of sight.  If it's in plain view, no
> search warrant is needed for the officer to have a lock.   This also
> extends to your laptop, so remember to "lock screen" if possible.
> * Determine the reason you have been pulled aside/stopped/asked a
> question.  Ask "Why am I being questioned/stopped/detained"
> * REFUSE a warrantless search and refuse a warrantless entry.   Just.
> Say.  No.   If a police officer asks your for your permission to
> search, you are under no obligation to consent.  If you consent to a
> search, you are giving up one of the strongest and best constitutional
> rights you have.  (Fourth amendment)  "... I do not consent to a
> search of my private property."
> * Determine if you can leave, if stopped by an officer.   "I have to
> be on my way, am I free to go?"
> * DO NOT PHYSICALLY RESIST.  If the officer/agent/etc decide to
> detain, search, or arrest you without your consent, don't resist
> physically.   Stick peacefully to your guns, and say clearly but
> without raising your voice or confronting the officer "I am not
> resisting arrest and I don't consent to any searches."   Or better
> yet, say -nothing- until you have an attorney present.
> * Don't answer _any_ questions without an attorney present.   The
> officer/agent/sheriff/deputy is not your friend, no matter how
> friendly they are, or how conversational.   Assert your fifth, and
> sixth amendment rights!  Simply say "Officer, I have nothing to say
> until I speak with a lawyer."   Anything you say, beyond that, can
> lead to a "reasonable" search and thus a warrantless search.  This
> includes the whole of the hackerspace, for example.
> Many of you have heard this spiel before, from me, from Jake Applebaum
> and others at events ranging from Burning Man to Defcon.   You can do
> as you wish, but your legal butt is best protected if you follow this
> procedure.   You may politely, but firmly deny entry to any officer at
> the door of Noisebridge, and in my opinion should do so.   Refer the
> officer politely to the board of Noisebridge, give them appropriate
> contact information if you know it (the website address will do),
> unless they have a warrant (see above).
> Some caveats:  This is for the United States only.  Different
> countries have different laws.
> This does NOT WORK with the TSA.  They have a separate federal
> mandate, and are present on private property (the airport/train
> station/etc).
> This does NOT WORK with Customs Agents.  Again, they have a separate
> federal mandate.
> This does NOT (neccesarily) WORK if you are currently enlisted in the
> military, on a base, etc.  This includes parts of the Presidio,
> Monterrey Bay, Lawrence Livermore National Labs, etc.  The uniform
> code of military justice is the standard if you're in the military,
> and as a civilan guest on a base you have relented certain rights.
> The right to remain silent does, however, still apply.
> I am not a lawyer.  However I am a Black Rock Ranger and have been
> volunteering at Burning Man for a number of years.  This advice was
> compiled from the material distributed by the legal team that trains
> us to be mediators between law enforcement and the participants at
> Burning Man.   It is field tested.
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Everything should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler - Albert
Einstein <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albert_Einstein>
Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication - Leonardo Da
Perfection is reached not when there is nothing left to add, but when there
is nothing left to take away - Antoine de Saint
Keep It Simple Stupid - Kelly
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