The Hard Truth

Journal of Political News & Constitutionalism

Police Drunk With Power? Yes!

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I recently visited a local courthouse to do some research and before leaving I went into one of the courtrooms to observe the proceedings.

While waiting for the session to start I observed a Deputy Sheriff approach a woman sitting in the courtroom reading a newspaper. The woman was simply sitting in the room waiting for the court session to start. She was not talking to anyone or making a sound whatsoever. She was simply reading a newspaper in a room open to the public and court was not in session.

The Deputy told the woman she was not permitted to read the newspaper in the courtroom and that the only materials that could be read in the courtroom were court related materials. When the woman’s husband asked the Deputy what the problem was, the Deputy responded by telling the husband that it was none of his business. When the husband asked again the Deputy told him that it was against a court rule for materials other than court papers to be read in a courtroom. When the husband asked what court rule? The Deputy became very agitated and told the husband to step outside the courtroom.

Out in the hall the husband again asked what court rule? and pointed out that the court was not in session and asked if court rules applied when the court was not in session. The Deputy had no idea how to respond to the situation and threatened to arrest the husband. When the husband asked  what he would be arrested for the Deputy was completely stumped and even angrier than before.

In the end, the husband was not arrested, but he and the wife were made to leave the courtroom and sit on a bench in the hallway until the husband’s case was called. It turns out that the husband was a defendant in an assault case. He was found not guilty.

The issue here is that a law enforcement officer, an individual with the power to deprive a citizen of his liberty, felt it was OK to command a citizen to stop reading a newspaper in a public area and then threaten to arrest another citizen because he dared question the the command. And, the Deputy could not cite the “court rule” he said gave him the “authority” to give the command.

Drunk with power? Yes!


Written by bkl1

September 19, 2008 at 11:00 pm

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