Arizona checkpoint: A search too far
Federal officers operating an Arizona checkpoint with state help — ostensibly to reduce shell casings and other litter at popular shooting spots — went too far by searching vehicles, a clear violation of Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable search and seizure.
U.S. Forest Service and Arizona Game and Fish Department officers stopped vehicles — about 250 in all — in Redington Pass on Nov. 10, Tucson's KVOA-TV reports. Drivers were warned on the way in against littering. Their vehicles were searched on the way out to ensure they took their trash with them.
Four were arrested on outstanding warrants, and 11 citations — including ones for marijuana possession, underage drinking and an illegally killed deer — were issued. Some drivers favored the littering crackdown.
However worthy that goal mighty have been, the vehicle searches were flat-out wrong. Constitutional compliance requires obtaining warrants based on probable cause to suspect particular individuals, not searching vehicles en masse.
Of course, this checkpoint raises Second Amendment concerns, too — and the way it was run fuels suspicions about the Obama administration's intentions regarding private firearms ownership.
But the bigger concern — for all motorists, not just gun owners — is unconstitutionally searching vehicles indiscriminately. It's a practice that must not be repeated and, if repeated, challenged.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Former Steelers linebacker Harrison retires
- Coping with Kids: Cool products for family road trips
- Outbound 376 reopened after man on exit sign caused closure
- 90,000 people could hit the North Shore for games, ribs
- Penn State edges Central Florida on last-second field goal
- Veteran Keisel settles into role with Steelers
- Steelers claim former Cowboys cornerback Webb
- Secret judicial ruling blocks release of sexually explicit emails
- Retail theft suspect takes off, leaves baby at Rostraver Township Walmart
- Corbett team rails at pollster
- Pirates notebook: Lambo recalled to bolster bench