Not Answering Questions at U.S. Customs
I was detained last night by federal authorities at San Francisco International Airport for refusing to answer questions about why I had travelled outside the United States.
The end result is that, after waiting for about half an hour and refusing to answer further questions, I was released Â because U.S. citizens who have produced proof of citizenship and a written customs declaration are not obligated to answer questions.
Posted on September 14, 2010 at 12:58 PM
>> But they did have a choice. They could have ignored the fact that you refused consent, searched you anyway, and then lied about whether you gave consent.
This is exactly why it is so vital that evidence gathered through illegal search be the 'fruit of the poisoned tree' and excluded. My lawyer would have a field day with lies about consent to search.
>> They could have lied about more things and charged you with disorderly conduct or something else, just to teach you not to play lawyer.
I'm NOT playing lawyer. I am exercising my Constitutional Rights (caps on purpose). They can cite or arrest for anything they want, but it is a judge or jury (my choice) which determines guilt or innocence.
If I can prove that police conspired to deprive me of my civil rights, that is a Federal felony under 18 USC 242, and in civil Federal court I can sue for damages under 42 USC 1983. Police agencies know this and cities and counties have had to write multi-million dollar checks as a result.
>> A dashcam makes this sort of thing more difficult for them, which is a good reason for dashcams, but there are ways around those too. (Oops, it was off. Oops, the footage was deleted.)
'Oops' tends to be treated quite harshly by the courts.
>> Officers lying about consent or arresting on trumped-up charges . . .
They can do that. It is my civic duty as a law-abiding person to take the arrest peacefully and sue in civil court and/or defend myself from criminal charges later.
The police only follow the rules when there are consequences to breaking the rules. Those who would 'free the police to do their job' should keep this in mind.
Photo of Bruce Schneier by Per Ervland.
Schneier on Security is a personal website. Opinions expressed are not necessarily those of Co3 Systems, Inc..