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Crime News: Texas Police Get More Power to Control You

Effective this September 1st, about six weeks from now, two laws are going into effect that could have a big impact on your freedom. They give lots of power to Texas law enforcement in their dealings with the public — and if you’ve been following this blog and the antics of Texas cops these days, these new tidbits of legislation should really give you pause.

First one: The Cops Can Arrest You if You Don’t Evacuate Your Home on Their Order – The Lemming Law

That’s right. Starting 09/01/09, cops are allowed to use “reasonable force” on anyone in this state that doesn’t meekly abide by an evacuation order — you know, those orders to leave town because a fire is coming, or a tornado, or a hurricane. Remember all those stalled highways in Houston with everyone in a panic trying to escape a disaster that never happened? Well, now the cops can add to this ARRESTING anyone who doesn’t jump on the bandwagon ….

Maybe they should call this the Lemming Law. Act like a lemming or get busted.

Second one: The Cops Can Take Blood Tests Without Court Order When They Suspect DWI – The Skip-the-Judge Law

What a doozy. As you know, right now the police cannot take a blood sample from someone they think may be a DWI suspect and who refuses a breath test unless the cops get a search warrant for the blood test from a judge. To do this, the cops have to show the judge that they have probable cause to justify the search warrant.

Well, forget the judge as of 09/01/09. As of September 1st, the new Texas law allows Texas police to order blood tests without a warrant — in certain circumstances. Those circumstances include: (1) when the DWI suspect is a repeat offender, (2) a passenger died in an accident involving the DWI suspect; and (3) a child who is under 15 years old is a passenger in the suspect’s vehicle.

The new law also allows magistrates, who only have to be licensed lawyers, in all the other blood test situations — which means lots more power to someone who’s not an elected official in signing their okey-dokey on a DWI search warrant. So, let’s just call this second law the “Skip the Judge Law.”

Have Texas cops demonstrated themselves worthy of this level of trust and respect?

Is anyone else wondering about giving Texas police MORE power these days? This drunk driving law is letting law enforcement step around judicial review in many a DWI case … have the police in this state really demonstrated themselves worthy of that much trust and respect?

Do we really need to go and re-read all the Taser stories accumulated here before we answer this question? Does anyone remember good old due process??


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