Friday, August 12, 2005

When the Police Want to Stop You, Anything You Do is Suspicious

Thanks to Gideon's Guardians for the tip to this excellent quote from a 7th Circuit opinion by Judge Posner. The case was a pretty, run-of-the-mill pedestrian stop case, but Posner couldn't resist addressing one aspect of the officer's testimony:

Gilding the lily, the officer testified that he was additionally suspicious because when he drove by Broomfield in his squad car before turning around and getting out and accosting him he noticed that Broomfield was "staring straight ahead." Had Broomfield instead glanced around him, the officer would doubtless have testified that Broomfield seemed nervous or, the preferred term because of its vagueness, "furtive." Whether you stand still or move, drive above, below, or at the speed limit, you will be described by the police as acting suspiciously should they wish to stop or arrest you. Such subjective, promiscuous appeals to an ineffable intuition should not be credited.
You gotta love Posner.

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