Abandon Text!

W. H. Auden once said: "Poems are not finished; they are abandoned." I have been abandoning writing projects for many years, since only the pressure of deadline and high expectations ever got me to finish, or even start, anything of merit. This blog is an attempt to create a more consistent, self-directed writing habit. Hopefully a direction and voice will emerge.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

The Search is IN

NPR ran a story today about a Supreme Court decision to allow evidence gathered when police enter a private residence with probable cause, but unannounced. Now, I have never thought about such things before in my life, but I always tune in to Nina Totenberg because High Court rulings almost always have an interesting mix of ideal philosophy and real-life politics to make them interesting fodder for argument and discussion. This one, especially, caught my attention because anyone who watches Law & Order (or any other crime procedural made in the last twenty years) is used to hearing about what can or cannot be introduced as evidence in court. How many times have we heard a judge on L&O say, "The search is out"?

For what it's worth, I think the court ruled correctly. When the police have probable cause to believe a crime is being committed, they ought to have some latitude on how they go about investigating the scene, including not announcing themselves right away. We really don't have to give perps a few seconds to flush their stash down the toilet. But I also thought the police were right to say, "It's still a really good idea to announce yourself," if nothing else to avoid getting shot.

How remarkable it is that, not only do we have a system for deciding what police can and can't do, we actually have TV shows almost entirely devoted to the subject. Thanks to police dramas, the average citizen actually has a pretty good grasp on topics such as Miranda warnings, search warrants, rules of evidence, double-jeopardy, and every other aspect of due process. I have to wonder if this particular genre exists in other cultures . . . does Singapore have police procedurals? Does England, for that matter?



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