Greenspan Baffled Over Bitcoin 'Bubble': "To Be Worth Something, It Must Be Backed By Something"

"In order for currencies to be 'exchangeable' they have to be backed by something," is the remarkably ironic initial comment from none other than debaser-of-the-entirely-fiat-dollar Alan Greenspan when asked about the "bubble in bitcoin," by Bloomberg TV's Trish Regan. Unable to "identify the intrinsic" backing of Bitcoin (or see bubbles in equity, credit, real estate, or greater fools) Greenspan is, apparently, capable of identifying Bitcoin "as a bubble," because "there is no fundamental means of "repaying' it by any means that is universally accepted." The farcical double-speak continues as the Maestro does a great job of making Bitcoin (which Ron Paul earlier noted could be the "destroyer of the dollar") look even better than the readily-printed fiat we meddle with every day.

Greenspan explains…

"when we were on the gold standard, [currencies] had intrinisc value which made people willing to exchange their goods and services with no question."

"Alternatively, when we went into "currencies", it was the "backing" of the issuer of the currencies… whose "great credit-standing meant his checks could circulate as money.""

So either its backed by real physical metal with intrinsic value – or the promise of someone…(increasingly politicians of course) with good credit (or a big army)?

"I do not understand where the backing of Bitcoin is coming from. There is no fundamental means of "repaying' it by any means that is universally accepted."

Like fiat currencies (just ask the Venezuelans)…

"Individuals with very high net worth and great reputations could create their own currency… because people would be willing to exchange their checks with each other at par."

So coming soon the BuffettCoin or MuskCoin (oh wait reputation), or the GatesCoin?

But, Greenspan sums it all up…

"I haven't been able to identfy the intrinsic value of Bitcoin – maybe someone else can…

but if you ask me if this is a bubble in bitcoin… yeah it's a bubble.

Which ironically (perfectly circular) is exactly what Bernanke said about gold

  • BERNANKE SAYS `NOBODY REALLY UNDERSTANDS GOLD PRICES'

 

So – after that – go buy his book!?

 

And some more color from Ron Paul on Bitcoin as "destroyer of the US Dollar":

Via Mike Krieger's Liberty Blitzkrieg blog,

While we believe it is the Federal Reserve that is systematically destroying the US dollar, Bitcoin could merely be the preferred conduit through which fed up citizens decide to express their displeasure with the incredibly corrupt corporatist-facist state being shoved down our throats by a handful of insane and greedy oligarchs. Interesting comments nonetheless. From CNN Money:

Imagine a world in which you can buy anything in secret. No banks. No fees. No worries inflation will make today’s money worth less tomorrow.

 

The digital currency Bitcoin promises all these things. And while it’s far from achieving any of them — its value is unstable and it’s rarely used — some have high hopes.

 

“There will be alternatives to the dollar, and this might be one of them,” said former U.S. congressman Ron Paul. If people start using bitcoins en masse, “it’ll go down in history as the destroyer of the dollar,” Paul added.

 

It’s unlikely that Bitcoin would replace the dollar or other government-controlled currencies. But it could serve as a kind of universal alternative currency that is accepted everywhere around the globe. Concerned about the dollar’s inflation? Just move your cash to bitcoins and use them to pay your bills instead. Tired of hefty credit card fees? Bitcoin allows transactions that bypass banks.

 

“That’s the holy grail for people who believe in freer markets and currency,” said Adam Gurri, a libertarian economics writer in New York.

 

There are no middlemen charging fees to move money between users. You can transfer bitcoins — even infinitesimally small fractions of one — directly to others’ digital wallets.

 

But don’t expect governments and banks to let Bitcoin take over so easily. Financial institutions will lose business if people stop using their payment systems, and central banks like the U.S. Federal Reserve would lose their ability to help slow and speed up economic activity. Paul expects banks to lobby and authorities to crack down.

 

“Governments absolutely demand a monopoly on money and credit. They’re not going to give it up easily,” Paul warned. “They will come down hard.”

Interesting times…

Full article here.


    



via Zero Hedge http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/zerohedge/feed/~3/1Za2G53S3fQ/story01.htm Tyler Durden

It’s Payback Time: Foreign UK Homebuyers To Be Subject To Capital Gains Tax

Back in September 2012 when we, correctly, suggested that one of the main drivers of demand (and increasingly becoming the only one) for US housing, especially in the mid and high-end, was foreigners – particularly of the oligarch persuasion – who come to the US to park their embezzled and otherwise ill-gotten funds, courtesy of the NAR’s anti-money laundering exemptions, which means that they can buy any house, sight unseen, cash upfront (recall that a record 60% of all home purchases are all cash, which explains why mortgage bankers are being fired by the thousands left and right), no questions asked. One thing we made very clear, though, is that since one never actually buys the real estate, but merely rents it from Uncle Sam (or any other Development Market host nation), there is little preventing the host from cranking up the tax system, or outright changing it, when the need to raise funds strikes. After all what rights do criminal foreigners with multi-million homes in New York (or San Fran, or London, or any other major metropolis that is the target of offshore capital) actually have. Which is why, over a year after this prediction, we find that if not the US (yet) then certainly London, where the housing bubble is greater than anything seen in the US thanks to Russian and Asian hot money, is doing just this.

Earlier today, the London Assembly passed a motion welcoming a possible move by the government to bring in capital-gains tax on foreign investors selling a home in the city.  The motion was passed today with 13 votes in favor and 6 against, according to an e-mailed statement by the 25-member assembly, whose main function is to hold the capital’s mayor to account.

The populist angle was naturally present to justify this decision: “Londoners’ right to own a decent home must be put before speculative investors in London’s property market,” assembly member Tom Copley from the Labour Party, in opposition nationally, said in the statement. “London property is becoming a global reserve currency for people to keep their money and to make money out of London property.”

That actually is a spot on and very accurate assessment, especially in a world in which the governments of these same nations (recall that the US Mint is the first to propose a gold-backed Bitcoin token) for clear reasons, turn a blind eye to various forms of below the radar money transfers, many involving Bitcoin. After all, what better way to “honeypot” and trap foreign capital than by making inbound cash transfers easy, and then once the real estate “reserve currency” has been acquired, to change taxes and force foreigners to pay up for the privilege of having been allowed to park their illegal capital there in the first place.

As Bloomberg reports, the full passage of this tax proposal is likely only a matter of time now:

Sky News television reported a month ago that the government is considering extending capital-gains tax to foreign investors. Treasury minister Sajid Javid indicated last month an announcement was likely when Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne makes his Autumn Statement to Parliament tomorrow.

Frankly, the only question we have is why it took London so long, although “building up a critical mass” of future capital gains taxpayers is probably the answer.

And now, after this has been tested in the UK, where will it go… but to the US.

We would not be surprised if the ultra-luxury segment in US housing suddenly becomes just a tad wobbly as foreigners seek to quietly but promptly sell and avoid capital gains, before like in London, this becomes the law in the US next


    



via Zero Hedge http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/zerohedge/feed/~3/W3uJ4cTLT8I/story01.htm Tyler Durden

It's Payback Time: Foreign UK Homebuyers To Be Subject To Capital Gains Tax

Back in September 2012 when we, correctly, suggested that one of the main drivers of demand (and increasingly becoming the only one) for US housing, especially in the mid and high-end, was foreigners – particularly of the oligarch persuasion – who come to the US to park their embezzled and otherwise ill-gotten funds, courtesy of the NAR’s anti-money laundering exemptions, which means that they can buy any house, sight unseen, cash upfront (recall that a record 60% of all home purchases are all cash, which explains why mortgage bankers are being fired by the thousands left and right), no questions asked. One thing we made very clear, though, is that since one never actually buys the real estate, but merely rents it from Uncle Sam (or any other Development Market host nation), there is little preventing the host from cranking up the tax system, or outright changing it, when the need to raise funds strikes. After all what rights do criminal foreigners with multi-million homes in New York (or San Fran, or London, or any other major metropolis that is the target of offshore capital) actually have. Which is why, over a year after this prediction, we find that if not the US (yet) then certainly London, where the housing bubble is greater than anything seen in the US thanks to Russian and Asian hot money, is doing just this.

Earlier today, the London Assembly passed a motion welcoming a possible move by the government to bring in capital-gains tax on foreign investors selling a home in the city.  The motion was passed today with 13 votes in favor and 6 against, according to an e-mailed statement by the 25-member assembly, whose main function is to hold the capital’s mayor to account.

The populist angle was naturally present to justify this decision: “Londoners’ right to own a decent home must be put before speculative investors in London’s property market,” assembly member Tom Copley from the Labour Party, in opposition nationally, said in the statement. “London property is becoming a global reserve currency for people to keep their money and to make money out of London property.”

That actually is a spot on and very accurate assessment, especially in a world in which the governments of these same nations (recall that the US Mint is the first to propose a gold-backed Bitcoin token) for clear reasons, turn a blind eye to various forms of below the radar money transfers, many involving Bitcoin. After all, what better way to “honeypot” and trap foreign capital than by making inbound cash transfers easy, and then once the real estate “reserve currency” has been acquired, to change taxes and force foreigners to pay up for the privilege of having been allowed to park their illegal capital there in the first place.

As Bloomberg reports, the full passage of this tax proposal is likely only a matter of time now:

Sky News television reported a month ago that the government is considering extending capital-gains tax to foreign investors. Treasury minister Sajid Javid indicated last month an announcement was likely when Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne makes his Autumn Statement to Parliament tomorrow.

Frankly, the only question we have is why it took London so long, although “building up a critical mass” of future capital gains taxpayers is probably the answer.

And now, after this has been tested in the UK, where will it go… but to the US.

We would not be surprised if the ultra-luxury segment in US housing suddenly becomes just a tad wobbly as foreigners seek to quietly but promptly sell and avoid capital gains, before like in London, this becomes the law in the US next


    



via Zero Hedge http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/zerohedge/feed/~3/W3uJ4cTLT8I/story01.htm Tyler Durden

Guest Post: Looming U.S. Retail Implosion: DeGrowth 2014

Submitted by Charles Hugh-Smith of OfTwoMinds blog,

Overbuilding and overconsumption as models of "growth" have reached exhaustion.

I recently addressed the bogus model of "growth" based on adding retail space and the DeGrowth movement, which is based on a sustainable model of doing more with less.

The American Model of "Growth": Overbuilding and Poaching November 19, 2013

Have a Merry DeGrowth Christmas–Boycott Black Friday November 20, 2013

Gordon Long invited me to discuss these topics with him, and the result is this 25-minute video of informative slides and our unscripted discussion of the exhaustion of the consumerist/expanding retail space model of growth.

 

 

LOOMING US RETAIL IMPLOSION: An Urgent Re-Think Required

Various propaganda attempts are being made to air-brush lackluster holiday spending into a happy story of strong "growth," but the over-all picture is of stagnation, not "growth."

The propaganda will soon shift to predicting "strong after-Christmas sales" and gift card redemptions in January; if after-Christmas sales are the foundation of "growth" and earnings, the U.S. economy is in real trouble.

Santa, Please Let This Be the Last Christmas in America That "Saves" the U.S. Economy(December 19, 2012)
Santa, please, please, please strangle the idiotic fantasy that Americans buying a bunch of junk (or gift cards for after-Christmas purchases of junk) will "save" the U.S. economy.


    



via Zero Hedge http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/zerohedge/feed/~3/RoVWX4BAf8o/story01.htm Tyler Durden

Jacob Sullum in Time: Why the Sandy Hook 911 Recordings Matter

Today the city of Newtown, Connecticut, finally
released recordings of the 911 calls police received during the
massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Deccember 2012. In a
Time essay, Senior Editor Jacob Sullum argues that
such primary materials can help people assess police and
legislative responses to highly publicized crimes.


Read the article
.

from Hit & Run http://reason.com/blog/2013/12/04/jacob-sullum-in-time-why-the-sandy-hook
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Wanting to Testify in No-Fly List Lawsuit Lands Person on No-Fly List

Government officials petty, you say? I'd put on my shocked face but it was confiscated by TSAA civil rights trial was
supposed to begin this week in San Francisco targeting the
Department of Homeland Security’s opaque, mystifying and utterly
inaccessible no-fly list. It immediately hit a snag. The daughter
of Rahinah Ibraham, the individual suing the government for being
placed on the list, was denied permission by the Department of
Homeland Security to fly to the United States herself in order to
testify. Techdirt
takes note
today:

Apparently, one of the people set to testify in the case,
Ibrahim’s oldest daughter, Raihan Mustafa Kamal (an American
citizen, born in the US), was blocked from boarding her flight to
the US to appear at the trial, and told that she was on the no fly
list as well. Kamal, a lawyer, was an eye witness to her mother
being blocked from boarding her flight. The US knew that Kamal was
set to testify and from all indications, in a move that appears
extremely petty, appears to have purposely blocked her from flying
to the US. Kamal was directly told by the airline that DHS had
ordered them not to let Kamal to board. The airline even gave her a
phone number for a Customs and Border Patrol office in Miami,
telling her to call that concerning her not being able to
board.

Judge William Alsup, who is known for his rather no-nonsense
approach in court (and his willingness to dig very deep into
understanding the issues), quickly noted that this apparent
blocking of Kamal was ridiculous, and demanded that the government
explain what happened. When they insisted they knew nothing about
it, Alsup wasn’t satisfied. Nor was he satisfied with the story
they eventually came back with.

A government lawyer then apparently claimed that Kamal had
merely missed her flight. The next day, lead counsel for the
plaintiff came back with evidence that, no, really, DHS ordered an
airline not to let her on board. Courtesy of blogging from
The Identity Project
, a group devoted to defending the right
for Americans to move around the country freely:

None of that was true, Ms.
[Elizabeth] Pipkin told the court this morning. “She didn’t miss
the flight. She was there in time to check in. She has not been
rebooked on another flight.” And most importantly, it was because
of actions by the DHS — one of the defendants in Dr. Ibrahim’s
lawsuit — that Ms. Mustafa Kamal was not allowed to board her
flight to SFO to attend and testify at her mother’s trial.

Ms. Pipkin said that Ms. Mustafa Kamal had sent her a copy of
the “no-board” instructions which the DHS gave to Malaysia
Airlines, and which the airline gave to Ms. Mustafa Kamal to
explain as much as it knew about why it was not being allowed to
transport her.  Ms. Pipkin handed Judge William Alsup a copy
of the DHS “no-board” instructions to Malaysia Airlines regarding
Ms. Mustafa Kamal.

Major props to Malaysia Airlines for providing a copy of the DHS
instructions to Ms. Mustafa Kamal. Other airlines receiving similar
instructions have acquiesced to DHS orders to keep the instructions
from the DHS, and the reasons for the airlines’ actions, secret
from the would-be travelers whose rights are affected. So far as we
know, this is the first time an actual no-fly order has been
disclosed to a would-be traveler or potentially to the public.

Read more of the Identity Project’s court coverage
right here
, which includes a lengthy background about the
case.

Follow this story and more at Reason
24/7
.

Spice up your blog or Website with Reason 24/7 news and
Reason articles. You can get the
widgets
here
. If you have a story that would be of
interest to Reason’s readers please let us know by emailing the
24/7 crew at 24_7@reason.com, or tweet us stories
at 
@reason247.

from Hit & Run http://reason.com/blog/2013/12/04/wanting-to-testify-in-no-fly-list-lawsui
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The Disingenuous Arguments Behind the One-Year Delay in Releasing the Sandy Hook 911 Calls

Today, nearly a year after Adam Lanza murdered 20
children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown,
Connecticut, the city finally released
recordings
of 911 calls made from the scene of that horrifying
crime. The long delay was due to opposition by State’s Attorney
Stephen Sedensky, who while overseeing the investigation of the
massacre became so concerned about the feelings of the victims’
families that he lost sight of his legal obligations.
Connecticut’s Freedom
of Information Act
 creates a presumption in favor of
making public records public, and Sedensky fell far short of
showing that the 911 recordings qualified for any of the
recognized exceptions. 

How far short? In his
November 26 order
 upholding the Connecticut Freedom of
Information Commission’s rejection of Sedensky’s bid to keep the
recordings under wraps, Superior Court Judge Eliot Prescott said
one of the prosecutor’s arguments “borders on the frivolous.” He
was referring to Sedensky’s claim that 911 calls, which are
routinely released by police in cases that attract public
attention, should be treated like “signed statements from
witnesses” taken as part of a criminal investigation.

Prescott was similarly unimpressed by Sedensky’s claim that the
recordings would reveal the identities of previously unnamed
witnesses, subjecting them to “threat or intimidation.” Prescott
concluded that “the plaintiff has not come close to meeting his
burden to demonstrate that such circumstances exist in this case.”
Having listened to the calls, the judge noted that “only one
individual is mentioned by name, and there is nothing to suggest
his or her identity as a witness is currently unknown to the
public.” Furthermore, the only evidence Sedensky cited that such
exposure might result in threat or intimidation was a reference to
a man who lived across the street from the school and sheltered
children who escaped during Lanza’s attack. Sedensky said this Good
Samaritan was “bothered by what is going on in the media, in terms
of people writing things about him.”

Sedensky also argued that releasing the 911 recordings would
jeopardize “prospective law enforcement action.” What action might
that be, you may wonder, since the perpetrator killed himself
before police entered the school? Prescott wondered the same thing.
Sedensky argued that even if he did not plan to prosecute anyone
the case was not closed until he said it was, and releasing the
recordings before them would be unacceptably risky. “This court
disagrees with the plaintiff’s expansive definition of ‘law
enforcement action,'” Prescott wrote. “The plaintiff has cited no
legal authority for his broad characterization of the phrase.” Even
if a prosecution were possible, the judge observed, Sedensky had
not explained why letting the public hear the 911 calls would
compromise it.

Even more of a stretch was Sedensky’s argument that the 911
recordings constituted records of “child abuse” that by law had to
be kept confidential. As Prescott patiently shows, the statute on
which Sedensky relied very clearly refers to records kept by the
Department of Children and Families concerning child abuse by “(1)
a person responsible for such child’s health, welfare, or care, (2)
a person given access to the child by such responsible person, or
(3) a person entrusted with the care of a child.” The
confidentiality requirement does not apply to the murder of
children by total strangers, a kind of violence that is handled by
“the appropriate local law enforcement agency.”

On the whole, Prescott concluded, Sedensky’s arguments “lack
merit.” That is not surprising, since they were nothing more than
covers for his actual motive, which was to shield the parents of
Lanza’s victims from further pain. That impulse is understandable,
but it does not carve out an exception to the Freedom of
Information Act. If it did, police and prosecutors could suppress
information about crimes at will by arguing that releasing it would
cause victims or their survivors further suffering. Any decent
person feels for the families devastated by the Sandy Hook
massacre. But there is nothing admirable about Sedensky’s
willingness to sacrifice the rule of law, government transparency,
and freedom of the press on the altar of sympathy.

from Hit & Run http://reason.com/blog/2013/12/04/the-disingenuous-arguments-behind-the-on
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Donate to Reason in Bitcoin, You Kooky, Decentralizing, Alt-Culture Freakazoids!

Click-thru functionality on the Donations page! https://coinbase.com/assets/buttons/donation_large-6ec72b1a9eec516944e50a22aca7db35.png ||| It’s Day One of Reason’s
annual webathon, in
which we
cajole
,
bargain with
, and
tickle
you into donating whatever you can–$10, $100,
$10,000
—for the cause of helping create ever-more libertarian
journalism and commentary. Our ambitious goal is to raise $100,000
of tax-deductible donations during this week-long bell-ring, and so
far we’re off to a pretty good start…except in one key
category.

If by "state" you mean THE MAN!!! ||| You see, as my comrade Nick Gillespie
pointed out earlier, at the bottom of our donation page,
underneath a detailed list of goodies you’ll get for different
giving levels, there is a button there saying “Donate
Bitcoins
.” Because if there’s one thing I know about you
tuned-in, far-out libertarian freakers out there is that you want
to talk in a VERY INSISTENT AND CONVINCING VOICE about how Bitcoin
is more
than just money
—it’s an entire alternative ecosystem, a source
code for routing around any centralizing force, a blueprint for
undermining the nation-state itself. My analog brain might be a bit
slow in grasping fully the momentousness of this revolution, but
thankfully we’ve got smarter minds on the case: Jerry Brito,
Brian
Doherty
, J.D.
Tuccille
and the like.

So I just knew that announcing our ability to take webathon
donations in Bitcoin would lead to the sound of big, fat coin-like
thingies clanging in our virtual inbox or whatever. Sure enough, we
checked the status this noon and saw that we had…two Bitcoin
donations, totaling $102.13.

Now, I will never look any Reason gift in the mouth,
but…really? TWO BITCOIN DONATIONS???

Do you think Commentary magazine was taking Bitcoin
during its
recent pledge drive
? Hail nah! How ’bout your local NPR affiliate? Yeah, no.
At Reason, we are not standing athwart the future yelling “Huh?”,
we’re rushing headlong into the stuff, guided in so many cases by
you, the futuretastic, spy-on-this, foundationally
experimental Reason reader.

It is through you that we’ve learned about and understood the
urgency of all sorts of what we in the June 2013 special issue
called “Experiments in
Libertarian Living
.” There are the free-cities
pioneers
(and their
seasteading antecedents
), the
Free Staters
and Jefferson-loving
secessionists
, and the DIYers vs. The
State
—from
Cody Wilson and his 3D-printable gun
to, well, whichever
weirdoes birthed
Bitcoin into the world
. We are the journalistic source that
tells these stories better and with more insider knowledge than
anyone out there, and our first and best tips come from you, the
cutting-edge, freedom-expanding readertariat.

So…two Bitcoin donations? As a great man once said, “Come on!

Won’t you please donate some Bitcoin
right the hell now
?

from Hit & Run http://reason.com/blog/2013/12/04/donate-to-reason-in-bitcoin-you-kooky-de
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Ohio Judge Rules That Police Can’t Search You For Being “Overly Polite”

An Ohio judge ruled last week
that a state highway patrolman was overstepping legal bounds when
he searched the vehicle of a driver who had been too polite to
him. 

The incident began when Patrolman Jared
Haslar, who had been patrolling a speed trap, pulled over Joshua
Fontaine for driving 45 mph in a 35 speed zone. According to the
court ruling, Ohio
v. Fontaine
:

Patrolman Haslar approached Fontaine’s vehicle, advised him
of the reason for the stop, and then requested his driver’s
license, proof of insurance, and registration, which Fontaine
immediately provided. Patrolman Haslar further stated that,
during this exchange, he became suspicious of criminal activity.
Specifically, Patrolman Haslar testified as follows: “While
speaking to Mr. Fontaine I felt that his body language and his
behavior was a little bit unusual. He was extremely — like almost
overly polite, and he was breathing heavily at times while I was
talking to him.”

Based on “reasonable suspicion” that Fontaine was up to no
good, Haslan brought the man back to his patrol car where he
patted him down for weapons and wrote up a traffic ticket. At this
point, a new officer, Patrolman Feierabend, arrived with a
drug-sniffing dog. The canine reportedly sniffed a positive so the
officers searched the vehicle sans warrant, uncovering a loaded .40
caliber handgun and a bag of marijuana. 

The trial court rejected the prosecution’s charge though and
ruled to suppress the firearm and marijuana from the evidence,
arguing that excessive politeness does not constitute probable
cause to search a vehicle. 

The state filed a motion to appeal, which Judge Mary J. Boyle
also rejected. The three-judge appellate panel considered only the
question of whether the initial search of Fontaine’s car violated
the Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable searches. The
court found that as soon as Patrolman Haslar finished writing the
warning, he could not justify the search for drugs without some
evidence that criminal activity was afoot, reports the
Newspaper
, a political journal on driving. 

“We agree with the trial court that ‘overly polite’ and ‘heavy
breathing’ are not sufficient indicators that give rise to a
reasonable suspicion of criminal activity,” Judge Boyle concluded.
“These factors considered collectively simply do not support such a
finding. Since Patrolman Haslar did not have a reasonable suspicion
of criminal activity to warrant the canine sniff, the prolonged
detention to do so violated Fontaine’s constitutional Fourth
Amendment rights.”

from Hit & Run http://reason.com/blog/2013/12/04/ohio-judge-rules-that-police-cant-search
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Ohio Judge Rules That Police Can't Search You For Being "Overly Polite"

An Ohio judge ruled last week
that a state highway patrolman was overstepping legal bounds when
he searched the vehicle of a driver who had been too polite to
him. 

The incident began when Patrolman Jared
Haslar, who had been patrolling a speed trap, pulled over Joshua
Fontaine for driving 45 mph in a 35 speed zone. According to the
court ruling, Ohio
v. Fontaine
:

Patrolman Haslar approached Fontaine’s vehicle, advised him
of the reason for the stop, and then requested his driver’s
license, proof of insurance, and registration, which Fontaine
immediately provided. Patrolman Haslar further stated that,
during this exchange, he became suspicious of criminal activity.
Specifically, Patrolman Haslar testified as follows: “While
speaking to Mr. Fontaine I felt that his body language and his
behavior was a little bit unusual. He was extremely — like almost
overly polite, and he was breathing heavily at times while I was
talking to him.”

Based on “reasonable suspicion” that Fontaine was up to no
good, Haslan brought the man back to his patrol car where he
patted him down for weapons and wrote up a traffic ticket. At this
point, a new officer, Patrolman Feierabend, arrived with a
drug-sniffing dog. The canine reportedly sniffed a positive so the
officers searched the vehicle sans warrant, uncovering a loaded .40
caliber handgun and a bag of marijuana. 

The trial court rejected the prosecution’s charge though and
ruled to suppress the firearm and marijuana from the evidence,
arguing that excessive politeness does not constitute probable
cause to search a vehicle. 

The state filed a motion to appeal, which Judge Mary J. Boyle
also rejected. The three-judge appellate panel considered only the
question of whether the initial search of Fontaine’s car violated
the Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable searches. The
court found that as soon as Patrolman Haslar finished writing the
warning, he could not justify the search for drugs without some
evidence that criminal activity was afoot, reports the
Newspaper
, a political journal on driving. 

“We agree with the trial court that ‘overly polite’ and ‘heavy
breathing’ are not sufficient indicators that give rise to a
reasonable suspicion of criminal activity,” Judge Boyle concluded.
“These factors considered collectively simply do not support such a
finding. Since Patrolman Haslar did not have a reasonable suspicion
of criminal activity to warrant the canine sniff, the prolonged
detention to do so violated Fontaine’s constitutional Fourth
Amendment rights.”

from Hit & Run http://reason.com/blog/2013/12/04/ohio-judge-rules-that-police-cant-search
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