If you were partying hard during the last week of 2013, you may well have missed this story. It’s understandable as I missed it the first time through myself, but it’s fresh enough that I don’t feel terribly awkward doing a post on it.
The Daily Caller reports an Ohio man was arrested not for possessing drugs, but simply for having a car which had been modified to have a compartment which could theoretically store and transport drugs covertly at some future date. Ohio revised section 2923.241 effective 2012 September 28, but only now have they found someone they can charge under the relatively new law.
If this sounds outrageous to you, it should. In essence, it’s a license for Ohio’s law enforcement officers to detain anyone they don’t like if there’s been any modification to the interior of a vehicle at all, maybe even if there hasn’t. John Whitehead, president of the civil liberties group the Rutherford Institute, seems to concur (as quoted in this article on dailyprogress.com):
Although Norman Gurley had no drugs on his person, nor in his car, nor could it be proven that he intended to conceal drugs, he was still arrested for the ‘crime’ of having a hidden compartment in the trunk of his car… This is what a world without the Fourth Amendment looks like.
I’ve spoken many times on the absurdity of drug prohibition. It took almost 14 years for us, as a country, to figure out Prohibition (of alcohol) was a failure (1920 January 17 – 1933 December 5). How long must the so-called “war on drugs” go on before we admit it’s a lost cause and all the “war” has done is make more crime?