Posts Tagged ‘campaign finance law’
a Monday opinion, District Court Judge Robert Bent threw out the evidence in a “knock and announce” search where police rushed the home as soon as the door opened while they were gathering out front.
Under centuries-old common law and decades of US legal practice, most search warrants require police to knock and announce and allow the resident a reasonable time to answer the door. Police who can convince a judge special circumstances require them can apply for a “no-knock” warrant. Last month’s Supreme Court ruling effectively gutted the “knock and announce” requirement — at least in the federal courts.
Vermont should hold itself to a higher standard, said Bent in the case of Ellen Sheltra, who was arrested on marijuana charges after the cops rushed her door. “Evidence obtained in violation of the Vermont Constitution, or as the result of a violation, cannot be admitted at trial as a matter of state law,” Bent wrote, citing an earlier state case as precedent. “Introduction of such evidence at trial eviscerates our most sacred rights, impinges on individual privacy, perverts our judicial process, distorts any notion of fairness and encourages official misconduct.”
In their dissent in the US Supreme Court case, four justices warned that allowing police to use illegally obtained evidence would lead to police officers ignoring the law. Bent agreed. “The exclusionary remedy should remain in full force and effect,” Bent wrote, “at least in our small corner of the nation.”
The district court decision is not binding on other judges, but they are likely to take it into consideration in deciding similar cases. Prosecutors have not decided whether to appeal Bent’s ruling to the Vermont Supreme Court, where, if it is upheld, it would become binding.
The Vermont LP issued a press release today on the US Supreme Court campaign finance law decision.
I also included audio quotes for radio stations who want some sound bites to run.
Vermont Libertarian Party
Hardy Machia, Chair
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 26, 2006
US SUPREME COURT SIDES WITH LIBERTARIANS, UPHOLDS POLITICAL FREE SPEECH
As Vermont Libertarian Party Chair Hardy Machia predicted in February, the US Supreme Court overturned Vermont’s onerous campaign finance laws. Libertarians in Vermont are cheering upon hearing the news.
A 6-3 decision in the Randall v. Sorrell case by the US Supreme Court threw out the restrictive spending and contribution limits on candidates and political parties passed by the Vermont legislature in 1997.
Vermont Libertarian Party Chair Hardy Machia said, “This is a huge win for political free speech in Vermont. The right to speak your mind, the right to use your hard-earned money to spread your message–either directly or via a candidate of your choice–ought never be infringed. This decision helps level the playing field between the entrenched parties and newer parties who have fresh ideas and are seeking to be heard.”
Libertarians want to strike at the root of the problem of money buying political influence.
Large amounts of campaign spending are just a symptom of the problem: politicians being able to dole out a lot of special favors and other types of pork while in office. Libertarians believe that government spending is out of control and that we can fix the problem by electing libertarian legislators.
Audio Quote by Hardy Machia:
Links to old press releases on topic:
- PR: Libertarian Challenge of Campaign Finance Law Being Heard
- PR: Libertarian Chair Predicts Campaign Finance Law Will Not Stand