Wednesday, September 14, 2005

I had a not-unexpected defeat with the courts today - one of the last of my two cases in Indiana was dismissed on a technicality yesterday, one more to go. But I had an interesting experience along the way. I was rushing to get some paperwork in before the offices closed. I was going through the metal detector, and found I still had my bike padlock with me, and was told I could bring it in, and couldn't leave it, so the guard stole it. I went and took care of my business and came back. I asked nicely if maybe I could have it back. He said no. I asked if I could see the written rules covering what they are allowed to take. They didn't have any. The rent a cop referred me to the deputy. I went through my routine again. He didn't have any. He radioed his supervisor, who eventually came. He said that of course I could have a copy of the rules, and went off to get them. Long wait. He came back, no rules, said the rules did exist but I couldn't have a copy. I asked if I could see the rules, and he said sure. While walking to the office where the rules are alleged to be, we got into conversation, he found it was just about a bike lock, I took a hint and asked if maybe it would be easier if they just gave the lock back. Both of us were friendly, smiling, avoiding confrontation. He gave me the lock back, and a long lecture about terrorism, to which I agreed politely and pointed out that's why it's so important to have clear written rules. he had told me no one's ever asked to see the rules before. I've been asking for two years. I stopped by the office of the rent a cops a few blocks away, where I had been told I would be able to see the rules. Lady there said that wasn't true and she didn't have them, and took my email to get back to me. This actually the furthest I've gotten in several years of asking to see the rules. I'm not a big fan of unwarranted seizures, and if there is a warrant, signed by a judge, I'll be interested to know how general or specific it is. I am sure that there has been some case law upholding such searches generally - my concern is that a lack of written standards converts the searches into an area that is arbitrary and capricious and unreasonable.

War on flowers:
One of my ongoing skirmishes with the city is about whether I have the right to grow flowers and hay on my land, or whether they have the right to conquest-by-lawnmower, which they've been using to seize my land. This guy used his lawnmower to send a message. In Indiana, his expression would be protected undeer the state constitution, Price v Indiana. Via Fark. Oh, it turns out the city agrees this is protected speech.

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