Friday, July 24, 2009

ACLU Ducks Question on Gates Arrest

Today, I tried to find out what the American Civil Liberties Union had to say about the 4th Amendment aspects of the case against Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates--to no avail...

Here's my email correspondence with the press office:
Dear Pamela Bradshaw,

Thank you for the response.

Isn’t this a civil liberties issue? I’m an ACLU member could have a one-page FAQ up if someone on your board cared, or a link at least, it’s a current controversy. I’ll follow up with the criminal defense lawyers (I didn’t know being in your own home was a crime, I thought it was a civil liberty)—and post your response on my blog, meanwhile, since it wasn’t off the record...

All good wishes,

On 7/24/09 2:41 PM, "Pamela Bradshaw" wrote:

Hi Laurence,
Unfortunately we don’t have someone available who can speak to this aspect of the arrest, but I would suggest that you contact the National Associate of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) at 202-872-8600.

From: Laurence Jarvik []
Sent: Friday, July 24, 2009 1:02 PM
To: ACLU Media
Subject: 4th amendment rights in Gates Case

Dear ACLU Press Office:

I called with an inquiry this morning about the rights a person has in his own home when a policeman comes to the door in answer to a false burglary call. No one has answered my questions yet:

What constitutional rights does an individual have vis-à-vis the police if no crime has been committed? Does someone have a right to get upset and order the officer out of the house? To yell? If the officer is in the wrong, does an individual have to do what he says?

I’d like to know the basic law and precedents, for my blog. If any individual were in the position of Prof. Gates v. Sgt. Crowley, what legal guidance is there (not suggestions for avoiding conflict) as to rights in this situation. If you post a fact sheet on your website, I could link to it.

I think some sort of do’s and don’ts would be useful to a lot of people. There was a case in Maryland where the police shot the dogs of a local mayor when they raided the wrong that allowed?

How is probable cause determined? Can they assume anyone is a criminal just because someone phones something in? Or are there legal standards that must be obeyed.

I would appreciate an answer asap...

Thank you.

Laurence Jarvik
Now, to follow up with that criminal defense lawyers website.