Many people, including criminal defense attorneys, do not know how to properly interact with law enforcement during an encounter. The above 45 minute video by the Flex Your Rights Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, will provide training on how to properly assert your Constitutional rights when in an encounter with government officials.
According to a US Justice Department report over 90% of 43 million searches revealed no evidence of wrongdoing. Over 99% of individuals consented to a search when asked by officers. A responsible citizen who has nothing to hide would, in almost all cases, refuse consent to a search because they would know it would be a waste of time, money and be fruitless.
NECESSITY OF SECRETS
‘Without the ability to keep secrets, individuals lose the capacity to distinguish themselves from others, to maintain independent lives, to be complete and autonomous persons. This does not mean that a person actually has to keep secrets to be autonomous, just that she must possess the ability to do so.
The ability to keep secrets implies the ability to disclose secrets selectively, and so the capacity for selective disclosure at one's own discretion is important to individual autonomy as well.
Secrecy is a form of power. The ability to protect a secret, to preserve one's privacy, is a form of power. The ability to penetrate secrets, to learn them, to use them, is also a form of power. Secrecy empowers, secrecy protects, secrecy hurts. The ability to learn a person's secrets without her knowledge -- to pierce a person's privacy in secret -- is a greater power still.’
The US Constitution contains several heavily damaged bulwarks that protect an individual’s privacy. The First, Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Amendments come to mind.
For example, the freedom of speech coupled with encryption, such as TrueCrypt, is a great privacy tool. In fact, the creator of the first significant email encryption program was investigated for ‘exporting munitions.’ Instead of uploading the source code he printed it in a book which could have the covers removed and the pages scanned. He claimed First Amendment protections and prevailed.
But the two most important bulwarks in the US Constitution to protect the individual and their privacy are the Gold Clause and the Great Writ of Habeas Corpus.
One reason governments are constantly battling gold is because of its ability to quickly, easily and anonymously transfer large amounts of wealth. This added secrecy of who owns what imparts great power to the individual.
For example, on my way to catch a flight the officer at the X-Ray machine asked if she could search my bag. I cordially replied, ‘Is there anything particular you are looking for?’ She responded, ‘Yes, something sharp.’ I responded, ‘Like keys?’ She responded, ‘Yes.’ I said, ‘I have some keys in this pocket.’
I slowly unzipped the pocket and removed the keys and showed them to her. She asked, ‘May I feel around in the pocket for anymore sharp items?’ I said, ‘Yes.’ She reached in the pocket, felt around and found no sharp items. I then asked, ‘I need to hurry to catch my flight. Am I free to go?’ She responded, ‘Yes.’ I quickly left for the gate.
A seemingly uneventful story and I like it that way. In the pocket that she searched I had at least seven one ounce gold coins mixed in with other random coins. Being a significant amount of a liquid assets she could have detained me, confiscated my gold coins, made me prove before a judge they were not the fruit of illicit activities and turned my uneventful story into a very time consuming and expensive exercise.
Since the DEA is funded on confiscated assets a strong conflict of interest exists. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
This constitutes general advice for general situations and is not to misconstrued as legal advice. For particular advice on specific situations with unique facts you may need to consult a licensed attorney. However, without proper training by the time you do consult an attorney it may be too late.
When engaged with law enforcement I stay calm, respond in a cordial manner, never physically resist and assert my rights. In one instance where it was appropriate I reported abuse, threatened legal action and settled the case.
Key phrases I use include ‘Officer, how may I help?’, ‘Officer, why am I being stopped?’, ‘Officer, I have to be on my way, am I free to go?’, ‘Officer, I know you want to do you job, but I do not consent to any searches.’, ‘Officer, do you have a warrant?’
These are the most important phrases. ‘Officer, I do not consent to any searches.’, ‘Officer, you may not enter without a warrant.’ and ‘Officer, I have nothing to say until I speak with my attorney.’ Hopefully this will keep your privacy protected and you away from the incredibly invasive criminal justice system.
I hope this simple video, short phrases and overall ideas will help protect you from unnecessary invasions of your privacy and that you will be able to be a responsible citizen by flexing your rights. An additional step to greatly protect your financial and personal privacy is to open a free GoldMoney account which is protected by strong bank secrecy laws. You may want to visit the companion site: HowToVanish.