Adrian Fenty, Cathy Lanier, Interim AG Peter Nickles Resignation Watch, Day 1: Neighborhood checkpoints previously ruled unconstitutional.

Subtitle: “Constitutional rights? What are those? …Seriously?”

I could also count up the number of days from about at least nine months ago but I’m too lazy.

From my new favorite source of news, The Examiner:

Nearly two decades before Mayor Adrian Fenty’s attempt to quarantine dangerous neighborhoods, D.C.’s appellate court said no way to a police cordon planned for the same area.

In a 1991 decision, the D.C. Court of Appeals — the highest court of review for local government — ruled that a checkpoint on Montello Avenue violated the civil rights of two men who were arrested at barricades.

“The purported deterrence rationale for the … roadblock … was addressed to problems of general law enforcement, namely deterring drug traffic and violence,” Chief Judge Judith W. Rogers wrote for the court. Referring to citizens’ rights against unlawful search and seizure, Rogers determined: “Such a justification is antithetical to the Fourth Amendment.”

[…]

Galberth [the appellant] contended on appeal that his rights were violated because the Supreme Court has held that police must have a specific reason to throw up roadblocks. Rogers and her fellows agreed.

District Councilman Phil Mendelson, D-at large, said the Galberth case was eerily similar to what the Fenty administration is now doing.

“You can’t be any more exact as to the facts. It’s practically the same intersection and the same purposes. And the court said it’s unconstitutional,” Mendelson said.

Mendelson has scheduled hearings for next week on human rights abuses by D.C.’s leaders. Roadblocks “are not an effective way to fight crime,” he said.

Interim Attorney General Peter Nickles, the architect of the checkpoint program, said, “I looked at that case. We do not feel those cases are dispositive.” As for the checkpoint program, Nickles said, “Thus far it has been a great success.”

Kristopher Baumann, chair of the D.C. police union, disagreed. “You simply have to drive a block out of your way to do whatever it is you wanted to do,” Baumann said of the checkpoints, which he called “deeply disturbing.”

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