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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 4/3/12

Strip Searches Legal, No Cause Needed? Now is the Time for Reform of the US Criminal Justice System, Say 40 US Senators

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Message Geoffrey Anderson
This first week of April 2012, the US Supreme Court heard a case brought by a Bordentown, New Jersey man.

The town clerk in Bordentown made a mistake and told the police that the Bordentown man did not pay a traffic fine.  IN FACT, he did already pay the fine.  

The township clerk told a lie to the police.  The clerk was overly suspicious.

The police ran with the lie, and told the lie to a judge.   

The judge ran with the lie, and issued a warrant for the man's arrest.  

The cops ran with the lie again, and captured and put the man into a jail and strip searched him repeatedly while there.  Keep in mind, the Bordentown man was never at trial and never convicted of anything yet.  Still, he was put into a jail for some time.  And the man was strip searched repeatedly while detained.

Yesterday the US Supreme Court ran with the lie from all of New Jersey's finest criminal justice workers, and it decreed that no cause is needed for strip searching anyone who is detained anywhere in the USA.  Get this:  A suspected dog leash violation was even among the actual cases cited by the man's attorney, where another baseless strip search was performed.  You can now officially be jailed and stripped for official suspicions of the most trivial sort.  Where is the freedom and dignity of Americans any more?
One of the Justices who voted FOR this bad decision said his justification was to remember 9/11.  Remember 9/11?  A government clerk's suspicion and mistake propagated all the way up the system, nobody in government checked their own work, and so American civilians are told we should remember 9/11?  Really?  

No, I say.  Oh, hell no! 

After yesterday's Supreme Court decision which was built on a lie, a strip search is now LEGAL in 50 states, with no cause needed, as long as police choose to detain anyone.  All this is possible now, due to the erroneous word of an error-prone and reckless township clerk, and propagated by everyone above him in the US Justice System.  The system in this case made mistakes all the up and down the system, and magnified their mistakes at every level, when instead they could have simply checked their own work at any point.   

The County of Burlington said they were pleased with the decision, and saved 20 million dollars as a result.  The county's is a disgusting position to take, because it is a lie itself, and it was also based on a lie.  There would have been savings and efficiency ONLY if anyone in the justice system had at simply bothered to check their work.  Nobody checked their work!  This is not savings, this is propagation of error to an enormous magnitude.  An innocent man was put in jail and strip searched for no cause, and now every American is subject to the same degrading treatment, all on account of everyone in the criminal justice system covering up each others'  laziness and  failures.

Up and down the criminal justice system, mistakes are being made by these government workers, propagated, and magnified.  Nobody is checking their work, mistakes are rampant, and people prone to mistakes still somehow keep their jobs and pensions at every level. Wouldn't you agree that the US criminal justice system needs reform from top to bottom?

There is hope however.  There is a CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM REFORM bill circulating in the US Senate now, written by Senator James Webb of Virginia.  The bill is called the National Criminal Justice Commission Act of 2011.

An excellent 39 United States senators have already signed on as cosponsors of the criminal justice reform legislation, including both of New Jersey's own Senator Menendez and Senator Lautenberg.  It's not yet law.  It's not moving forward to a vote for some reason, even though there are 39 of 100 senators already saying they support the reform of the US justice system.

Overhaul and reform of the US criminal justice system are close at hand but could not come soon enough.  It's sitting there but it needs wheels to push it into action.

Please spread the word, but only if you agree 100% that now is the time for reform of the US criminal justice system.  

Until then, we now must be very, very nice to all our township clerks.  And we may want to repeat our profession of love all the way up the justice system if we know what's good for us.

For example, I am going to visit my township clerk today, to try to prevent the clerk from perhaps passing a little white lie to the police, and perhaps the police will pass a little white lie to a judge, and perhaps a judge might issue a warrant for my arrest, and have me detained, and strip searched, at Burlington County Jail (same exact jail as the plaintiff, since I live in Bordentown too) on account of a dog license error made by them all.  I don't have a dog.  The clerk has already sent me several threatening letters.  The clerk is suspicious that I have a dog but I am not buying a dog license, evidently.  How far will this clerk run with the assumption of guilt?   Evidently now I am being assumed guilty of some crime about not buying dog licenses, but I don't have a dog.  The clerk could simply assume I am innocent of any crime, but for some reason they evidently do not like the uniquely American assumption of innocence.  What happened to the justice system being required to assume citizens are innocent?  What if any value do our government workers still have for the highest rules of government work as listed in the United States Constitution?  There is real danger present for continued freedom and dignity of Americans, based on what I just saw happen to my fellow Bordentown resident this week.

Presumption of guilt toward citizens, detainment in jail, strip searches, all for nothing, nobody cares about American freedom and dignity once they get a job in government.  Isn't this what we used to joke about that the Russian and East German governments doing to their citizens?  

Reform is needed, up and down the criminal justice system.  You might make a quick phone call to your representatives, at county, state, or federal, and ask them to support the National Criminal Justice Commission Act of 2011 to earn your vote this November.  All levels will be reformed if this bill is passed.  Thank you for your care.

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U.S. Supreme Court rules detainees can be strip-searched without cause
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