Department of Justice,
My name is Daniel Herrick, a resident of Pennsylvania and natural born citizen of the United States of America. I am writing to you because the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has determined that the right to personal privacy protected by the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution no longer applies. Just over a month ago, in a 4-2 ruling, the PA Supreme Court determined that law enforcement officers no longer require a warrant to search a vehicle.
Here are the details of the case as released by the media:
• Two police officers pulled over a sport-utility vehicle driven by Shiem Gary because they believed its window tinting was too dark.
• The officers then claimed they smelled marijuana coming from the SUV and that Gary told them there was "weed" in the vehicle.
• Police said a drug-sniffing dog hit on the SUV and a subsequent warrantless search discovered about 2 pounds of marijuana hidden under the hood.
• Gary challenged whether the police had legally obtained the drug evidence.
• The state Superior Court backed Gary, but the Supreme Court did not.
Federal law allows for warrantless search provided there is probable cause. I am concerned that this allowance infringes upon our RIGHTS as UNITED STATES CITIZENS, “to be secure in [our] PERSONS, houses, papers, and EFFECTS, against UNREASONABLE SEARCHES and seizures” as the Fourth Amendment states. The Amendment further states, “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.” For the Pennsylvania Supreme Court and federal law to support searches solely on probable cause BEFORE warrants are issued is illegal and a violation of the rights of American citizens. http://www.law.cornell.edu/constitution/fourth_amendment
If it were up to me, I would disbar the four Justices that ruled in favor of revoking our rights as Americans and charge them with treason. Their names are: Chief Justice Ronald D. Castille, Justice J. Michael Eakin, Justice Seamus P. McCaffery, and Justice Thomas G. Saylor. However, you may feel that to be too extreme, so I would be willing to settle for removing them from the positions in which they currently hold, and making sure they never again hold the title of “Judge.”
The people elect judges they hope will follow and protect the law and American citizens, not take away our rights. The DUE PROCESS CLAUSE under the FIFTH and FOURTEENTH AMENDMENT assures citizens that no one shall be "deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law.” Warrantless searches are a clear violation of the part about “without due process of law.” How can we be presumed “innocent until proven guilty” if we are presumed guilty until our cars, persons, families, houses, pets, backyards, etc are searched without a warrant.
The Constitution and Bill of Rights are documents limiting THE GOVERNMENT’S rights, not THE PEOPLE’S. By removing our right to be safe from warrantless searches, these Justices have spit on the Bill of Rights, the Constitution, and Freedom from an oppressive government.
We are aware that crooked cops exist. Law enforcement officers have been caught on camera destroying evidence, planting evidence, and NOT KNOWING THE LAWS THEY HAVE SWORN TO UPHOLD! By allowing law enforcement to search our vehicles without consent or a warrant gives them the opportunity to plant evidence that could put an innocent person in prison. That person could then bankrupt himself or herself trying to fight a battle they couldn’t win. As an American, YOU should be outraged along with me.
I do not wish to slander the names of good officers, ones that not only know the law, but also are willing to defend the PEOPLE’S rights against Unconstitutional laws. Those men and women in blue are heroes in my book. They also exist, but by revoking my rights I have to err on the side of caution and be wary of ALL law enforcement because I can’t tell the good ones from the bad, can you?
Benjamin Franklin, a fellow Pennsylvanian by his choice, wrote, “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.” Although he meant his words more literally – as it was a letter to the Penn family during the French and Indian War that he wrote these words – I believe he would be appalled that our shared government is taking away our rights the way the British Empire did, sparking the Revolutionary War.
The last thing I would want is another Revolutionary War fought amongst ourselves like the Civil War, but those that fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it. I know which side I would fight on, and it would be the side that puts its faith in the PEOPLE, not a tyrannical or oppressive government. Which side would you choose: The side of Freedom, or the side of tyranny?
GOD BLESS AMERICA
Daniel Ryan Herrick