California NORML Press Release: February 9, 1995
Contact: Dale Gieringer, Cal NORML (415) 563-5858.
DRUG REFORMERS ATTACK HOUSE BILL HR 666 "THE BEAST" FOR DOUBLE STANDARD ON EXCLUSIONARY RULE
Outraged drug reformers denounced Congress' passing of a bill, HR 666, nicknamed "The Beast," which weakens the exclusionary rule against illegal police searches in some cases, such as drug offenses, but not gun trafficking or tax crimes. The bill, which permits illegally seized evidence to be used if the arresting police exercise "good faith," was amended by Rep. Harold Volkmer (D- Missouri) to exclude searches by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, out of concern for the rights of gun owners. A similar amendment by Rep. James Traficant (D-Ohio) excludes the IRS.
California NORML attacked HR 666 as "A grotesque travesty of justice," saying "Whatever logic there may be in the 'good faith' exception to the exclusionary rule is totally obliterated by making an exception for particular offenses. By what logic do we let the DEA run roughshod over the Fourth Amendment when ferreting out home marijuana gardeners, while making the BATF wear kid gloves in pursuing arms traffickers?"
Rep. Volkmer defended his amendment in light of the BATF's misconduct at Waco, saying "I haven't seen any agency as abusive as the BATF." However, NORML counters that the DEA is even more abusive. "To speak of the DEA and 'good faith' is an oxymoron," says California NORML coordinator Dale Gieringer, "This is an agency whose agents are trained professional liars and chronic perjurers, engaged in trampling the privacy of citizens, buzzing their land with helicopters, spying on garden stores, seizing property without due process, denying medicine to patients who need it, and running a network of drug-dealing informants."
"HR 666 sets a constitutional double standard for protection of privacy that violates the 14th Amendment right to equal protection of laws. In effect, it says it's O.K. to play loose with the rights of home marijuana gardeners, but not gun, alcohol, or tax criminals. HR 666 subverts the Fourth Amendment, the bulwark of our constitutional right to privacy. We call on the Senate and President to reject this grotesque perversion of justice."
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