Political Vine: The Insider's Source on Georgia Politics

Political Vine: The Insider's Source on Georgia Politics

The Political Vine is the home of political news, satire, rants, and rumors.


The Road to Hell (in Georgia) – Part 2

by Bill Simon

Some more issues with SB-94

1) The concept of obtaining a search warrant on the basis of ‘thinking a crime is about to be committed.’

Lines 179-187, Page 6 of SB-94: “(a) Any peace officer seeking a search warrant while engaged in the course of official duty shall submit a written request for such warrant…under oath or affirmation, which states facts sufficient to show probable cause that a crime is being committed, or has been committed, or is about to be committed and which particularly describes the place or person, or both, to be searched and things the individuals or property to be seized. Such request for a search warrant may include related documents and oral testimony.”

I was once told by a black friend of mine that white cops have a propensity to pull a black guy/black gal over under the probable cause of DWB (‘Driving While Black’).  He told me of a time in the last 5 years that the Cobb County police pulled him over in the rain and ordered him out of his car, shoved him face-down on the hood of his car to search him…and they pretty much ordered him to remain face-down, in the rain, while they got out of the rain and into their comfy patrol cars and proceeded to try and figure out what they might be able to arrest him for.  In the end, they could find nothing, and let him go.

I bring-up this subject because this state appears to be having quite the recent uptick in cops pulling over people for…things like DWOWTW (“Driving While Old With Tinted Windows”) and harassing the living sh*t out of people (See Walton County story here) who are doing nothing wrong.

Do we actually have adequate training standards for all P.O.S.T.-certified law enforcement officers to truly be trusted with the power to presume that a crime is ABOUT to be committed, when they don’t seem to be able to master the basic concept of not killing people/maiming people they presume have already committed a crime (E.g., Kathryn Johnston, Baby Bou-Bou, David Hooks…all in Georgia in the last 10 years)?

And, P.O.S.T.-certified LEOs aside, this bill now gives “investigators” with DA-offices and Solicitor-offices the power to obtain similar search warrants.  Some of those investigators may have P.O.S.T.-certification…but not all do.  I know of at least one with a DA’s office whose experience prior to her current job as an investigator was that of a newspaper editor.

2) The concept of approving a search warrant that can be “live” for up to 60 days

Lines 283-290 of SB-94: “(2) A judicial officer may order that a search warrant and all supporting documentation therefor, including recordings or transcripts supporting such warrant, the return for such warrant, and the petition of the prosecuting attorney requesting sealing be filed under seal with the clerk until such time as the judicial officer may direct, up to an initial period of 60 days. Upon application by the prosecuting attorney, the judicial officer may extend the initial sealing for additional periods not to exceed 60 days; provided, however, that such sealing shall not extend beyond the return of the indictment or the filing of an accusation in which property or evidence seized may be admitted into evidence.”

Soooo…let me ask you folks something: Do you think it is possible that an apartment/house/duplex that someone of criminal intent lives in at one point in time…who could possibly move out in a time-span of 60 days…and be replaced by someone who is not of a criminal element who moves in, unaware that a prosecutor had previously obtained a search warrant for those specific premises, and was also unaware that prior to their move-in, a bunch of criminals were living there…and the non-criminals move-in, and one night their house gets invaded by cops executing a search warrant that was issued 55 days prior?

Again, we have the Habersham County incident in which cops did not bother to stakeout the home to confirm the criminal activity beforehand and/or the potential that non-criminals could be in the house before they raided it, flash-bang and all?  So, if they cannot be bothered to ensure their info was valid for that raid, what makes you think giving someone a 60-day window of time to raid a house is going to result in anything but (potentially) a truly much worse outcome on the validity of the “about to commit a crime” probable cause?

Now, while the following incident (I’m just going to link to it) did not happen in Georgia, events like these DO happen, and this is just one example.  If SB-94 passes as amended with HB-430’s language shoved into it, more events like this story will happen in Georgia.  It’s like tossing “strike-on-head-matches” into a gasoline refueling station with all those fumes floating around.

It’s almost as if Danny Porter (and the rest of the crew at the Prosecuting Attorneys Council) read George Orwell’s 1984, and collectively decided, “Hey…this is our operating manual for Georgia!  Let’s see how much we can shove through this Legislature!” 

Note to Senator Charlie Bethel:  Senator Bethel, your original version of SB-94, as Passed The Senate, was a good, 3-page bill that accomplished one simple thing.  

However, the “amended version” of SB-94 (with the language from HB-430 attached to it that includes your original language) has become the equivalent of the character of the little girl named Regan (played in the film The Exorcist by actress Linda Blair) spinning her head 360-degrees around, and spewing green vomit around the room and on everyone’s face in the room.

If it passes the House intact as it exists now, it will be your job to convey to your fellow State Senators that though the House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee did pass HB-430 out of committee, that committee does NOT represent the entire House…and you likely know that HB-430’s language may not have withstood scrutiny in the Senate’s Non-Civil Judi-Committee had it been required to experience the full vetting process.

And, because there were two co-sponsors of HB-430 that sit on the House Judi-Non-Civil (Bert Reeves and Mandi Ballinger)…that makes it appear to be a stacked-deck to get a bill passed thru that committee.  That may all be in the “rules of play”, but it is not something that people of character and integrity  interpret to believe the process was driven by honest dealers and brokers.

 


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Today's Deep Thought

Instead of having 'answers' on a math test, they should just call them 'impressions,' and if you got a different 'impression,' so what, can't we all be brothers?



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