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  #111  
Old 11-30-2012
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Re: rammed:by the customs & border patrol

Quote:
Originally Posted by Minnewaska View Post
Hasn't the Supreme Court held that marine boardings are not protected by the fourth amendment? ---
Not to my knowledge. Can you cite a case?
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  #112  
Old 11-30-2012
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Re: rammed:by the customs & border patrol

Apparently there are some legal opinions out there that sayif you specifically give permission to a boarding party, whatever they find is admissible evidence because you have, like a vampire, invited them in.

On the other hand if you make it clear that you will not obstruct them but you are not giving them permission to board, what they can search for and how they can search is much more limited. For instance, a USCG "Safety Equipment Inspection" would have a hard time explaining why they were looking through your bags or in your fridge, because there's nothing there that has anything to do with mandated safety equipment. Few gung-ho's from any agency have any idea just how much gets thrown out as "tainted fruit" by the courts.
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  #113  
Old 11-30-2012
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Re: rammed:by the customs & border patrol

Quote:
Originally Posted by tomperanteau View Post
Step aboard and you do lose all your rights. Why? Because they have "policies" that circumvent the Bill of Rights. That is why the politicians invented policies and regulations. They can steal your rights and money and there is nothing you can do about it.
Policies? Boarding and searching vessels has ALWAYS been LEGAL by definition in the U.S. The law making it legal PREDATES the 4th amendment.

Don't want to subject yourself to search? Don't try to enter ANY governemnt building. Don't buy a plane ticket to anywhere. Don't try to drive, fly or walk to any other country.

Oh, and don't get on a boat that's in any Federal jurisdiction waters, or CONNECTS to any said waters (Rules out most major rivers).

Saying that it's unconstitutional is simple-minded, besides being untrue. Hell, owning other humans was constitutional for the first 89 years of U.S. History.
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  #114  
Old 11-30-2012
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Re: rammed:by the customs & border patrol

Quote:
Originally Posted by cherev View Post
"We can debate whether they should have the authority to do so, but the boarding officers are doing what they are told, not what they decided on a whim. How much would you need to be paid to risk your life at your job? Pretty brave in my book."

There's no 'debate'; USCG boarding a vessel, moored or in motion, while wielding M-16s is an armed home invasion if you live aboard. If there's no probable cause, they've committed a criminal act.
This post portrays ignorance that is just mind-boggling. You seriously need to bone up on the ACTUAL law. Not what you believe, not what your buddy told you, not what you've read somewhere in a blog or forum. It's not difficult at all. The law was cited here in this forum, well before your post.
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  #115  
Old 11-30-2012
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Re: rammed:by the customs & border patrol

"Boarding and searching vessels has ALWAYS been LEGAL by definition in the U.S. The law making it legal PREDATES the 4th amendment."
And, as you haven't noticed, some of us think the 4th Amendment was supposed to end that behavior, the same way that slavery was ended.

It isn't supposed to totally end searches or seizures, it just raises the bar as to performing them without cause.

The New Jersey State Police went through that some time ago on the subject of "driving while black" and the NYPD more recently on the subject of "walking while black". NYPD said that young black males with baggy pants were more likely to be carrying drugs and guns.

There was nothing in the fourth amendment that said "except by administrative agencies" last time I read it.
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  #116  
Old 11-30-2012
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Re: rammed:by the customs & border patrol

It seem's like the people posting about a boarding experience being like a swat team repelling into your boat with agression and pointing automatic weapons have'nt actually been through a boarding. It's more like a cordial social visit by some polite young people with an orange inflatable and by complying you are helping in the fight against terrorism and drug trafiicing. My buddy tried to smuggle some Russian couple to the key's from the Bahama's, he got caught by the border patrol and they were nothing but polite to him. He's in trouble, but they we're polite and comical about his stupidity. I was boarded by them around the same area one night and we had a long discussion about the book I was reading at the time because the agent was half way through the same book. They ask permission to board politlely, they ask some rudementry questions and go on their way. Unless you are running PLO dudes into the country or have 600 pounds of weed like a guy I know doing life in Cuba, what's the problem. And this coming from me who really does'nt care for the coast scouts and the cop's and sh!t. a boarding is just part of the game, your either in it or not. I'm guessing everyone @#!*% 'n has probably never crossed a border with their boat or been boarded whilst doing so. If you had than you'd know it's really no big deal, most times they just hail you and don't even come on board.
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Last edited by Capt.aaron; 11-30-2012 at 11:57 PM.
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  #117  
Old 12-01-2012
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Re: rammed:by the customs & border patrol

Quote:
And, as you haven't noticed, some of us think the 4th Amendment was supposed to end that behavior, the same way that slavery was ended.
I have, indeed, noticed what you think, I have read what you wrote, I was merely pointing out that what you think is in error.

As has been said before, several times, the 4th amendment says nothing about vessels. The Constitution is refered to in law as a living entity, as it evolves via amendments AND case law.

Obviously, motor vehicles (the land based kind) were not around when the 4th amendment was written. Case laws which uphold our 4th amendment protection against "unreasonable" searches of such vehicles came about as the result of arrests based on evidence uncovered during searches of said vehicles which were eventually held to be "unreasonable" by individual State Supreme Courts, Federal District Appellate Courts and/or the U.S. Supreme Court. There are many, many other examples (flying, entering a Courthouse and other government buildings and/or properties) of the Supremes holding that searches, even of your person ARE reasonable, and therefor not "unconstitutional"

As to the post about "poisonous fruit", it really doesn't apply to the CG and
Customs.

If you read the case cited earlier by Patrick, you'll see that the Court of Appeals threw out the conviction of a couple of drug smugglers with a 40 foot sailboat ful off pot, holding that the Customs boarding was "unreasonable". The U.S. Supreme Court overturned the Appellate Court, upholding the lower court conviction, and cited the Title 19 U.S.C. § 1581(a), and specifically refered to it as being descended from the 1790 Revenue Cutter Act, and spcifically mentioned:
Quote:
the First Congress clearly authorized the suspicionless boarding of vessels by Government officers, reflecting its view that such boardings are not contrary to the Fourth Amendment, which was promulgated by the same Congress.
Yes, evidence obtained from warrantless police searches on land gets excluded, but not as often as you might think. Most agencies are training their cops better in that respect. But evidence from CG, Customs and Border Patrol doesn't get tossed.
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Last edited by Brewgyver; 01-30-2013 at 04:09 PM. Reason: typos
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  #118  
Old 12-01-2012
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Re: rammed:by the customs & border patrol

My understanding is that the CG is tasked to enforce compliance with Federal laws. They are empowered to search to determine only compliance with these laws (e.g. safety and environmental for recreational vessels, species catches and licensing for commercial fishing vessels, etc.)

There is some very smart language in the CG notice to mariners regarding boardings. It points out that the only way they can possibly enforce the Federal laws is by inspecting vessels underway (see below).

COAST GUARD BOARDING POLICY

To enforce these laws, the Coast Guard is empowered to
board and inspect vessels. Many of the laws can be
successfully enforced only by boarding a vessel while it is
underway. Boardings are not necessarily based on
suspicion that a violation already exists aboard the vessel.
Their purpose is to prevent violations. The courts have
consistently upheld this authority. All Coast Guard officers
and petty officers are Federal law enforcement officers and
they may board any United States vessel anywhere.

The Coast Guard boarding team is armed. Although most
mariners that are boarded are engaged in legitimate
recreational or commercial pursuits, even a seemingly
innocent pleasure boat boarding sometimes turns into a
dangerous confrontation.

The Coast Guard follows a standard procedure before
boarding. Coast Guard personnel will always properly
identify themselves, will always be in uniform, coveralls, or
survival suit displaying Coast Guard insignia, and will
always operate from a marked Coast Guard or Navy vessel
flying the Coast Guard Ensign.

Coast Guard vessels may have their running
lights extinguished at night while conducting law
enforcement operations. Running lights, if off,
will be turned on prior to boarding, and light will
usually be directed at the Coast Guard Ensign flying from the mast and red "racing stripe" on the bow so that the Coast Guard vessel is easily
recognized.

Once aboard the vessel, the boarding party will check for
compliance with federal laws. If, during the inspection, a
reasonable suspicion develops that the vessel has been
engaged in criminal activity, the boarding officer may
investigate further. Coast Guard boarding officers are
trained to be courteous to the public.

The Coast Guard strives for a proper balance between
avoiding intrusions into the activities of law-abiding
individuals and conducting effective law enforcement.


If you think about it, this makes a great deal of sense. Consider the analogy of a car safety and emissions inspection on the State level. Many states require annual inspections and testing of vehicles to ensure compliance with their laws. If you have an out of date inspection sticker, you will be stopped and cited by the police.

There is no annual inspection for recreational vessels in the US, but there are laws that they must comply with. That compliance can only be determined by an interior inspection, hence the CGs power to search them.

One way to avoid being subject to boarding by the CG is to submit your boat to a free voluntary safety inspection by your local CG Auxiliary every year. They give you a sticker to display on the outside of your boat showing your compliance. Unless you are in known smuggling waters, it's not likely you would be searched.
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  #119  
Old 12-01-2012
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Re: rammed:by the customs & border patrol

"My understanding is that the CG is tasked to enforce compliance with Federal laws."
Over the long history of the MANY very different services that have been Borged into the USCG of today, there have been many different roles, ranging from "life saving service" to "revenue service".

Out of which comes the motto "Semper Gumby!" because sometimes, they are expected to flex in every possible way to satisfy every possible master.

"Once aboard the vessel, the boarding party will check for
compliance with federal laws."
Good thing that explanation was written by the folks it is serving. they'll check for compliance with certain specific federal laws, but not all federal laws, and there are certain ones they specifically will not check for, either.

Anybody else remember when you had to have an excise tax stamp on the neck of each liquor bottle? One less thing to enforce now.
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  #120  
Old 12-01-2012
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Re: rammed:by the customs & border patrol

Quote:
Originally Posted by hellosailor View Post
Apparently there are some legal opinions out there that sayif you specifically give permission to a boarding party, whatever they find is admissible evidence because you have, like a vampire, invited them in.

On the other hand if you make it clear that you will not obstruct them but you are not giving them permission to board, what they can search for and how they can search is much more limited. For instance, a USCG "Safety Equipment Inspection" would have a hard time explaining why they were looking through your bags or in your fridge, because there's nothing there that has anything to do with mandated safety equipment. Few gung-ho's from any agency have any idea just how much gets thrown out as "tainted fruit" by the courts.
It seems "reasonable suspicion" still applies, just like a traffic stop. I guess the moral is don't stash your pipe next to the Y valve
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