Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Observation of marijuana use does not justify entry...

A California appellate court recently held that officers violated the 4th Amendment to the United States Constitution where they entered an apartment against the consent of the legal occupant after they smelled a "distinct odor" of burnt marijuana and saw an individual inside putting a pipe to his lips. People v. Hua (2008) 158 Cal.App.4th 1027.

If you find yourself in this predicament, the word to the wise is:

"Just say no [to the cops]". And, as I always do, I will caution anyone who believes that their Constitutional rights are being violated that they can't hope to win a motion to suppress evidence in the field. While being clear about the fact that you are not waiving your Rights is important, nothing about that suggests that you should kick the officer in the shins (or even be impolite to him or her). One audible, intelligible "No Thanks" should suffice. Screaming "no!" repeatedly in anger and/or frustration promises to bring on more unpleasantness and possibly new and different criminal charges. Just submit to their color of authority and wait until your day in court to seek the remedy to which you are entitled.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Be heard, Isla Vistans!

Don't wait until you're in jail to complain about the proposed Social Host Ordinance.

Here's an email in circulation that I will do my part to publicize because I agree with it wholeheartedly:

Help Protect Residents of IV TODAY!

Ask SB County Supervisors to Vote NO on the proposed Social Host Ordinance (i.e. Law)

WHAT: Board of Supervisors Hearing re: proposed Social Host Ordinance
WHEN: Tuesday, April 21, 2009; if you can’t attend, send them an email NOW! (talking points and email addresses below)
WHERE: Board of Supervisors Hearing Room (105 E. Anapamu Street, 4th Floor)
1. The ordinance is meant to address underage drinking. It would apply county-wide, including in Isla Vista (which already has a similar, but less intrusive, ordinance).
2. Any time at least 5 people are together, and at least 2 are under 21, the gathering can be subject to the ordinance.
3. If a minor at one of these gatherings has alcohol, regardless of whether the host of the event knows or should know the minor has alcohol, the ordinance is violated.
4. When there is a violation, law enforcement can disperse the gathering, and fine anyone who lives at the residence or is responsible for the gathering.
5. Multiple offenders can be held responsible for the cost of law enforcement response, up to $500.
6. A person is a repeat offender, and therefore subject to increased fines, if the ordinance was violated at the same property within 12 months, regardless of whether the violation was from previous tenants or property owners.

1. Call and email your Supervisors

2. Pass this email on to as many residents of Santa Barbara County (which includes IV) as you can

3. Attend the 4/21 Board hearing. Call 568-2240 on or after 4/15 to confirm exact time
Urge the Supervisors to:

Vote No on the Proposed Social Host Ordinance

Talking Points:

· The ordinance is a bad idea because it gives law enforcement too much power to unfairly target students who are behaving in a responsible manner.

· Also, because the ordinance allows for holding hosts responsible for law enforcement response costs, people will be discouraged from contacting law enforcement or paramedics when serious incidents occur at parties or other gatherings where alcohol is present.

· Finally, because the County already has sufficient means to dissuade underage drinking through laws already on the books, the ordinance is unnecessary.

1st District: Salud CarbajalPhone: (805) 568-2186E-mail:
2nd District: Janet Wolf, Vice Chair Phone: (805) 568-2191E-mail:
3rd District: Doreen FarrPhone: (805) 568-2192 E-mail:
4th District: Joni Gray Lompoc: (805) 737-7700E-mail:
5th District: Joseph Centeno, Chair Santa Maria: (805) 346-8400 E-mail: