|American Police State||
America was founded during a time of martial law; government troops stationed themselves in homes and trespassed on property without regard for the rights of owners. Prior to the American Revolution, there was virtually no right securing us against unreasonable searches and seizures.
During colonial times, British judges issued “writs of assistance,” or general search warrants, which allowed police officers to enter any place upon demand. All that was needed for a judge to issue the warrant was an officer's assertion of a mere suspicion of illegal activity. As a consequence, British soldiers entered homes and places of business virtually at will. As time went by, these general warrants were used with increasing frequency. The effects on the American people were devastating and long-lasting. As one colonist wrote, “our houses, and even our bedchambers, are exposed to be ransacked, our boxes, trunks, and chests broke open, ravaged and plundered by wretches whom no prudent man would venture to employ even as menial servants.”
Fast forward a little more than 200 years and we seem to have made a full circle, once again being victimized by government agents who show little regard for our persons or property. Indeed, if you want to get a sense of what “justice” in America has been reduced to, just consider the case of 30-year-old Marco Sauceda, who was recently sentenced to serve 30 days in jail and pay a $500 fine for resisting arrest after police mistook him for a burglar in his own home. Sauceda also suffered a gash to the top of his head that required medical attention.
Police had entered Sauceda's home at 111 Finley St. in Lufkin, Texas on March 15, 2009, after a neighbor allegedly reported seeing a black man kicking in the front door. Obviously frightened, Sauceda, a Honduran immigrant who speaks no English and has the mind of a child, barricaded himself in his bathroom in response to the police invasion. When police finally got Sauceda out of the bathroom, they pepper-sprayed him, shot him with a pepper ball gun, and wrestled him to the ground. Throughout the ordeal, Marco, terrified, remained silent.
Anyone with an ounce of sense would recognize that there's something wrong when an innocent man with the mental acuity of a child is subjected to a warrantless invasion of his home by police officers, physically brutalized by those same government agents, then forced to serve time for resisting arrest. And in fact, the jurors in Sauceda's case did recognize that he had been wronged, but other than asking the judge for leniency in sentencing, they did nothing to right that wrong, and rendered him guilty. The judge was no better, going so far as to suggest that the unarmed man should have been sentenced to six months in jail for, believe it or not, putting the police officers, undoubtedly armed to the teeth, in harm's way.
This case, which has not garnered major headlines or incited populist outrage, especially because it involves an illegal immigrant; although neither the police nor the jury were aware of his status, nevertheless highlights everything that is wrong with the so-called criminal justice system in America. It exposes a system lacking in true justice, whose shortcomings are more often condoned by the judiciary than set right.
For those who will immediately insist that non-citizens have no rights under the Constitution, the U.S. Supreme Court has made clear that the Constitution applies not just to citizens but to all persons residing in the United States. Thus, illegal or not, Sauceda is entitled to equal protection under the law, as are all persons within the America.
Unfortunately, those protections, such that they are, are being steadily eroded by legislation and court rulings that render the individual completely defenseless against the encroachments of the state. In a very real sense, we truly are back to where we started in those pre-Revolutionary War days, seemingly having learned next to nothing from those early days of tyranny at the hands of the British crown.
We are once again being subjected to broad search warrants, government agents trespassing on property without regard for the rights of owners, and the blurring of all distinctions; for purposes of searches and seizures, between what is private and public property. Once again, the courts and state legislatures are seen to favor the interests of government officials, especially LEOs (Law Enforcement Officials), even if it comes at the expense of civil liberties. Indeed, there is no true justice in a court system where the judge, the prosecutor, and the police form a triad against the accused. And once again, Americans are finding themselves underrepresented, overtaxed, and forced at gunpoint, practically, to dance to the government's tune. The similarities to pre-Revolutionary America are startling.