North Carolina Appeals Court allows armed HOA security guards to conduct traffic stops that would be illegal for police to make. Rental cops hired by homeowners associations (HOA) can conduct traffic stops that would be unconstitutional if performed by an actual police officer, according to a ruling handed down last week by the North Carolina Court of Appeals. A three-judge panel took up the case of Frederick Lloyd Weaver Jr, who was stopped on April 20, 2012 by an armed security guard employed by Metro Special Police and Security Services. The HOA for the Carleton Place townhomes near the University of North Carolina at Wilmington contracted with Metro for security services. North Carolina allows armed guards to wear police-like uniforms with badges, carry guns and drive cars with flashing red and white light bars. Qualifying for the security guard position requires four hours of classroom instruction and a day on the range. Security guard Brett Hunter received no training as to estimating speed or handling drunk drivers, but he was tasked with issuing speeding tickets to people driving through the community. When Hunter saw Weaver’s Acura through his rearview mirror, he guessed that the car was traveling at 25 MPH in a 15 MPH zone. He turned on his flashing lights and forced Weaver to pull over. “I’m Officer Hunter
US citizen cab drivers sue federal immigration agents over being held for hours as part of a sting operation. A trio of innocent cab drivers are suing the federal government after they were detained for several hours in a Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) sting operation even though they were US citizens who had done absolutely nothing wrong. The Third Circuit US Court of Appeals on Thursday agreed to give the drivers an opportunity to restate their claim. Beginning in 2009, ICE agents began working with the parking authority in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to obtain the list of licensed cab drivers to cross-check whether any of them were illegal aliens. As part of a sting operation, the suspected illegals were sent a letter stating they were overcharged by the parking authority and that they could come to the Philadelphia Parking Authority headquarters on June 30, 2010 to pick up their refund. Once they arrived, the drivers provided identification, date of birth and Social Security numbers to an ICE agent. They were instructed to enter another room to receive the “refund.” Once in the other room, the cab drivers were thrown up against the wall and handcuffed. They were told they were under arrest while fourteen immigration agents stood guard. The drivers who were US citizens protested. Oliver Lawal, for
US District Court for Oklahoma backs the cell phone search of a driver pulled over for a flapping license plate. Drivers pulled over for minor traffic violations can have their cell phone searched, according to a recent federal ruling. A judge decided last week that Oklahoma City, Oklahoma police were in the right when they downloaded information off the mobile phone belonging to Noe Vergara Wuences who was pulled over on March 22, 2012 because the temporary paper license plate on his new car flapped a bit in the wind. During the stop, Officer Scott McCall asked Wuences about his travel plans. At 12 minutes into the traffic stop, Officer McCall radioed for a drivers license check. A few minutes later the license came back clean, so Officer McCall asked dispatch to send a canine unit. At this point, Officer McCall asked Wuences if he could search the car. Wuences said he “doesn’t mind.” The drug dog alerted on the methamphetamine in the vehicle and Wuences was arrested. Officer McCall took the Nokia 1616-2C and ZTE X500 mobile phones that were in the car and began using a Cellebrite UFED device to download all of the data. Many police departments, even in small towns, use this portable unit to crack cell phone passwords and grab emails, text messages, phone records
By Hetty Chang The holidays are a time to celebrate, but all too often, it ends in tragedy when someone decides to drink and drive, according to recent statistics released by advocates pushing for a “social host ordinance” in one region of Southern California. In Orange County in 2010, there were 941 underage DUI convictions and 150 fatal or injury collisions involving underage DUI drivers, according to statistics from the California Department of Motor Vehicles and the California Highway Patrol. The families of DUI victims on Monday joined law enforcement and county officials to urge the Orange County Board of Supervisors to adopt an ordinance that would make it illegal to serve alcohol to minors at a gathering where three or more people are present in a private home. The homeowner would have to have knowledge of the drinking. A first offense would result in a fine of $750. The second offense and those thereafter would be considered a misdemeanor. “I used to tell my kids to never be out after midnight, ever,” said John Saliture, whose daughter Allison was killed by a 20-year old driver who had just left a private home where he had been drinking. “Probably about 20 minutes later, my daughter was laying on the street.” That was March 1994, and the last time Saliture would
By Brian Day, San Gabriel Valley Tribune Arrests for intoxicated driving were down 16 percent over last year during the first two days of a multi-agency holiday season DUI crackdown, officials said. Police officers, sheriff’s deputies and California Highway Patrol officers that make up the Los Angeles County anti-DUI task force, collectively as “Avoid the 100,” initially reported 351 arrests for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs between 12:01 a.m. Friday and midnight Sunday, task force organizers said in a written statement. Last year, 417 drivers were arrested during the same 48-hour period. The DUI enforcement campaign is scheduled to continue through midnight Jan. 1. Funding for the task force is provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Anyone who spots an intoxicated driver on the road is encouraged to call 9-1-1.