The Bill Of Rights Draws The Line

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Editor:

This is in response to Wes Suhr's letter to the editor in the Tuesday, Feb. 1 edition of the Payson Roundup.

Mr. Suhr states that the search of a vehicle by drug dogs at a traffic stop is only a slight invasion of privacy. I have to ask, just where does the Constitution allow for a slight invasion of privacy?

Mr. Suhr says that an officer wanting to let his dog sniff the car wouldn't bother him because he has nothing to hide. Since you have nothing to hide you wouldn't mind exiting the vehicle and emptying your pockets on the hood of the car, right? Now, you wouldn't mind if the officer looks through the glove compartment, right? Remember, you have nothing to hide. Since we have you stopped, you're out of the car, and you have nothing to hide, you wouldn't mind if the officer emptied the contents of the trunk would you? Keep in mind -- you have nothing to hide!

Mr. Suhr, please explain to me where that line is that separates a slight invasion and a gross invasion begins. Does that line exist at the point of the officer walks up to your kitchen window and peers in -- maybe it is from the sidewalk. Would it be OK for the police to look through your window from the sidewalk? Since using dogs is allowed, the use of night vision to look in on you wouldn't be over the line would it?

Where do we, as law-abiding citizens, draw the line? Why not draw it where the founding fathers drew it in the Bill of Rights? The Fourth Amendment is in place safeguarding the innocent, not to protect the guilty. If there is no probable cause to believe there is any drug or other illegal activity taking place, then it is unreasonable for the police to search you.

Let us not forget the basis of our legal system -- innocent until proven guilty; not prove your innocence if you have nothing to hide.

Mike McLaughlin, Payson

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