Good law enforcement begins with law enforcement officials themselves following the law. The Bill of Rights are law, and the Virginia General Assembly acts lawlessly when it tries to override them.
The Bill of Rights had a bad session in the Republican-controlled General Assembly with votes for “sneak and peek” warrants, and killing a bill that would properly limit asset seizures by police before due process and a conviction by a jury trial.
The GA also failed to vote on a 21st Century Fourth Amendment introduced by two Republicans who have proven security and safety credentials – retired Air Force Colonel Delegate Rich Anderson and former Commonwealth Attorney Senator Richard Stuart.
By ignoring the Fourth (unreasonable searches and seizures, probable cause and warrants), Fifth (due process protecting life, liberty and property), and Sixth (jury trials guaranteed) Amendments to the Constitution, Virginia government — and particularly law enforcement — has regressed on protections of property and other inalienable rights that Virginians George Mason and James Madison helped legally guarantee through the Bill of Rights.
Many of today’s Virginia politicians talk a good game, but too many are unschooled in, uncaring about, or even hostile to fundamental American and Virginia constitutional principles that protect all citizens. The Constitution not only protects our religious and other individual liberties, but is what makes America a prosperous and therefore safer nation.
The good news is that there are a growing number of elected officials who understand the threat to America, Virginia and their people through the now-regular violations of the Constitution. They believe that government’s following the Constitution is not a part-time habit, nor is merely a pledge to get elected then ignored.
As for law enforcement, we who are avid supporters of law enforcement officials worry that their leadership and lobbyists are creating a public relations problem. When law enforcement shows disregard for the law, it weakens their respect and standing in the community. It is short-sighted politics that only feeds into the narrative of the “hands up, don’t shoot crowd.”
Now is the time for law enforcement folks to come out vocally and strongly in support of upholding constitutional protections of the people and their property.
As posted at Tertium Quids: “This week’s Freedom & Prosperity Radio program, Mark Fitzgibbons outlines the reasons for a proposed constitutional amendment (HJ 578) that would have added 21st century 4th Amendment protections to the Virginia Constitution, and the Asset Forfeiture bill (HB 1287) that among other things would have required a conviction before the government could seize a citizen’s assets. Both the constitutional amendment and the bill were killed by the Republican General Assembly.”