Friday, 20 April 2012 00:00
Our brilliant Supreme Court Justices do not live in the real world. They live in the ivory or at least marble tower of the Supreme Court, far removed from the streets, precincts and jails where arrests are made. Our justices need to descend from their lofty positions in the high court and come into our neighborhoods, riding shotgun with defense lawyers and even law enforcement to see what life in the real world is like. Their learning curves seem to have stopped once confirmed.
A 5-4 decision that allows for strip searches even for minor offenses is a ludicrous defilement of the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution, a document whose tenets they are sworn to uphold. The Fourth Amendment prohibits all searches but those based upon probable cause to believe that a crime is being committed. Traffic infractions; building code violations; disorderly conduct; a failure to pay fines and spitting on the sidewalk are not crimes. Similarly, the court made no distinction between so called malum prohibitum crimes, which require no intent or mens rea (the evil mind) prior to arrest and malum in se crimes where intent is required.
The Fourth Amendment was given second place to security in the court’s decision. Now anyone placed under arrest, for any reason, women and children included, are subject to the proclivities of law enforcement favoring search and seizure or to be more blunt, invasion of the anal, oral and vaginal cavities, at the time of arrest. Hello, Supreme Court Justices, wherever you are.
In nearly every criminal case, probable cause becomes an issue. If it is determined that there is no probable cause, then everything seized thereafter becomes the product of an illegal search; for example, drugs found in the trunk of a car discovered after a search and without consent may be suppressed and hence there is no case, at least not a drug case.
None of our Supreme Court Justices have ever been subjected to a strip search or even seen one. Perhaps if Justice Thomas were stopped for “driving while black” and forced to undergo a strip search, he would have a better understanding of why these practices are often abused by law enforcement; then generating a cavalcade of civil rights litigation and damage awards for false arrests and imprisonment. The alleged literalists in our Supreme Court need to go back and read the Fourth Amendment. There they will find no mention of strip searches but they will find that: “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.” Unless the names of our Supreme Court Justices have changed to those of the founders, they are not privileged to re-write the Constitution.
Thomas F. Liotti
Village Justice, Westbury Attorney, Garden City
Saturday, 15 June 2013 00:00
Everyone wants to know that their neighborhood is safe. But an omnipresent police force is impossible and extensive home security can be expensive. So the watchful eye of a neighbor can come in handy.
Now in its second year, the Westbury Neighborhood Watch is a small group of residents who stick to the phrase “see something, say something.” Director Jacquelyn McCullough says that the group, comprised mostly of seniors, keeps an eye out for suspicious behavior and looks out for their neighbors. She encourages them to report any odd behavior to her, so she can relay it to the appropriate authorities.
Friday, 14 June 2013 00:00
In the span of three years, Westbury’s Maria Hernandez had three huge events to plan. She had her wedding, her daughter’s sweet sixteen and her mother’s retirement party. All three events were very different, but would need the same excellent entertainment.
But once she met Raphael Sicinski, from The Sound Connection, she knew she had found a solution.
Thursday, 13 June 2013 00:00
Deidree Golbourne has been running track and field all four years she has been at Westbury High School. Her passion for the sport comes from knowing that “you can put your all into it. It’s not a team sport where you have to depend on other people. You get out as much as you put into it.”
Golbourne is also seeded fourth in the state for discus throwing. She says that when she initially picked up discus her freshman year, she wasn’t a fan.
Thursday, 06 June 2013 00:00
The U.S. Tennis Association Eastern Long Island Region recently honored Westbury resident Susan Alvy at a celebratory dinner, presenting her with the Hy Zausner Lifetime Achievement Award for her longtime commitment to tennis. The Crest Hollow Country Club in Woodbury hosted the 23rd annual awards dinner, which honors tennis champions from Nassau and Suffolk County.