a win for gun rights in Pennsylvania - The HuntingPA.com Outdoor Community
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 06-07-2019, 10:42 PM Thread Starter
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a win for gun rights in Pennsylvania

https://www.nationalreview.com/2019/...-pennsylvania/


i never knew some of this stuff was happening in Pennsylvania:


The Pennsylvania supreme court rules that legal gun owners aren’t second-class constitutional citizens. SCOTUS, take note.



For example, in 2017, the Eleventh Circuit held that a police officer enjoyed immunity from suit when he pounded on the door of the wrong apartment late at night, failed to announce himself, and then shot dead a young man when he lawfully answered the door, armed. The existence of the gun granted the officer the right to shoot with absolute legal impunity.


Two months later, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of police officers who, without a warrant, entered the modest dwelling (a one-room shack) of a man named Angel Mendez and opened fire when he pointed a BB gun at them. Mendez lost his leg. His girlfriend was also injured. SCOTUS then used this case as an occasion to reverse a Ninth Circuit use-of-force rule that would impose liability when police “provoke” a violent confrontation through an “independent Fourth Amendment violation.”


But perhaps the best expression of gun owners as second-class citizens under the Bill of Rights came from the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. The court ruled that police could frisk a person if they believed that the person carried a firearm, even if he possessed a concealed-carry permit. According to the court, “the danger justifying a protective frisk arises from the combination of a forced police encounter and the presence of a weapon, not from any illegality of the weapon’s possession” (emphasis added).


In a concurring opinion, a federal circuit-court judge actually typed these words:
The majority decision today necessarily leads to the conclusion that individuals who elect to carry firearms forego other constitutional rights, like the Fourth Amendment right to have law enforcement officers “knock-and-announce” before forcibly entering homes. . . . Likewise, it is difficult to escape the conclusion that individuals who choose to carry firearms necessarily face greater restriction on their concurrent exercise of other constitutional rights, like those protected by the First Amendment.


Quote:
Enter the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. In Commonwealth v. Hicks, police responded to a citizen call after Hicks was spotted showing his handgun to another person outside a convenience store. He did not rob the store. He did not do anything illegal. He was a concealed-carry holder in lawful possession of his gun. “Numerous” police officers responded to the call, stopped the vehicle, restrained him, and conducted a search. They smelled alcohol and found a small bag of marijuana. They then arrested him for driving under the influence and disorderly conduct.Hicks challenged the legality of his arrest, and while the trial court dismissed the disorderly-conduct charge, it upheld the legality of the initial search. The court ruled that “possession of a concealed weapon in public creates a reasonable suspicion justifying an investigatory stop in order to investigate whether the person is properly licensed.”Thus any concealed-carry holder could be subject to search simply because he chose to carry his weapon, to exercise rights guaranteed by state law and buttressed by the Bill of Rights. The state supreme court disagreed, holding that it could “find no justification for the notion that a police officer may infer criminal activity merely from an individual’s possession of a concealed firearm in public..
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 06-13-2019, 03:46 PM
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Moreover, Mr. Hicks was a black man in what the police called a "high-crime area" of Allentown. The convenience store was the Gulf station at the intersection of 7th Street and Tilghman. A bunch of cops responded, guns drawn, to stop and arrest him.

Somehow, he lived through that encounter.

You really ought to read the whole opinion - it's NOT short nor is it easy reading. But it is vitally important you understand it. It is a 4th Amendment case, not a 2nd Amendment case. The main opinion is here: http://www.pacourts.us/assets/opinio...018mo.pdf?cb=2

Some key takeaways, which are subtle:

"Under Pennsylvania law, there can be no doubt that a properly licensed individual who carries a concealed firearm in public engages in lawful conduct."
***
"Our analysis of the question at bar is guided by fundamental Fourth Amendment principles. We find no justification for the notion that a police officer may infer criminal activity merely from an individual’s possession of a concealed firearm in public. As set
forth, above, it is not a criminal offense for a license holder, such as Hicks, to carry a concealed firearm in public.14 Although the carrying of a concealed firearm is unlawful for a person statutorily prohibited from firearm ownership or for a person not licensed to do so, see 18 Pa.C.S. §§ 6105-06, there is no way to ascertain an individual’s licensing status, or status as a prohibited person, merely by his outward appearance. As a matter of law and common sense, a police officer observing an unknown individual can no more identify whether that individual has a license in his wallet than discern whether he is a criminal. Unless a police officer has prior knowledge that a specific individual is not permitted to carry a concealed firearm, and absent articulable facts supporting reasonable suspicion that a firearm is being used or intended to be used in a criminal manner, there simply is no justification for the conclusion that the mere possession of a firearm, where it lawfully may be carried, is alone suggestive of criminal activity."

***

Note also that they caught the cops embellishing (if not outright lying) when the cops claimed Hicks was "brandishing" a firearm when in fact, the video and audio gave only the briefest glimpse that he had a gun on him.
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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 06-13-2019, 05:00 PM
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That bad pinch was due to poor training by the department regarding constitutional law. It probably wasn't the first one they made but it was the one that went to SCOTUS. The civil suit will follow and that will be expensive for the department and the city.
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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 06-14-2019, 09:50 AM
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Originally Posted by Woods walker View Post
That bad pinch was due to poor training by the department regarding constitutional law. It probably wasn't the first one they made but it was the one that went to SCOTUS. The civil suit will follow and that will be expensive for the department and the city.

Not likely to happen. The reason is that the Supreme Court overruled a line of precedent which had been valid and upon which the police had relied in doing what they did. Which you would have seen, had you read the opinion. At the very beginning the Supreme Court said:

In a line of Fourth Amendment jurisprudence that began with the landmark decision in Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1 (1968), the Supreme Court of the United States has approved of “stop and frisk” practices as a limited departure from the requirement of probable cause and the necessity of warrants for searches and seizures. A cornerstone of modern law enforcement methods, “stop and frisk” is a practical tool designed to encourage the
effective investigation and prevention of crime, while maintaining a balance between the constitutionally protected privacy interests of the individual and the needs and safety of law enforcement personnel. Only two conditions must be satisfied to validate the practice—one to justify the “stop,” and another to allow a “frisk.”
First, the investigatory stop must be lawful. That requirement is met in an on-the-street encounter, Terry determined, when the police officer reasonably suspects that the person apprehended is committing or has committed a criminal offense. Second, to proceed from a stop to a frisk, the police officer must reasonably suspect that the person stopped is armed and dangerous.
Arizona v. Johnson, 555 U.S. 323, 326-27 (2009).

Since 1991, in circumstances where a police officer encounters a person carrying a concealed firearm, our Superior Court has applied the inverse of this bedrock rule. Specifically, in Commonwealth v. Robinson, 600 A.2d 957 (Pa. Super. 1991), the Superior Court held that the “possession of a concealed firearm by an individual in public is sufficient to create a reasonable suspicion that the individual may be dangerous, such that an officer can approach the individual and briefly detain him in order to investigate whether the person is properly licensed.” Id. at 959 (hereinafter, the “Robinson rule”).1

In the instant case, the Superior Court applied the Robinson rule to deem lawful the seizure of an individual based solely upon his possession of a concealed handgun, even though he was licensed in Pennsylvania to carry a firearm in such a manner.

We granted allowance of appeal in order to consider the viability of the Robinson rule. Because we conclude that the rule contravenes the requirements of the Terry doctrine, and thus subverts the fundamental protections of the Fourth Amendment, we overrule Robinson and its progeny. The Superior Court’s decision in the instant case having descended from Robinson’s erroneous proposition of law, and there being no other lawful basis for the seizure at issue, we reverse the order of the Superior Court.

1. Until the PA Supreme Court said the "Robinson rule" was no good, it was good.

2. The police stopped, detained and investigated Mr. Hicks in accordance with the "Robinson rule". The police had been trained that the "Robinson rule" was the law, and it was (for 28 years), and they obeyed the law.

3. When police rely in good faith on the law as it exists as of the time they do what they do, they are immunized against a civil suit by the doctrine called "Qualified immunity". That almost certainly will apply here.

4. Mr. Hicks gets to go home (as a black man with a gun stopped by the police, no small deal) and with a clean record. The cops get to walk. If Mr. Hicks chooses to sue, the most he's likely to get - assuming Allentown and its insurance carrier are feeling exceptionally generous, would be some of his attorney's fees from the criminal defense. It'd be the kind of case where they might toss him a couple thousand bucks because it's cheaper to do that than pay to defend a case they're almost certain to win.


And if you think that's a harsh result, you ought to talk to Mr. Carpenter of the recent US Supreme Court case called Carpenter v. United States. Mr. Carpenter had been arrested, tried and convicted of a bunch of crimes which yielded a sentence of something like 116 years in federal prison.

The feds had found him by tracking him through cell phone data which they had gained access to without a search warrant. They relied on a different law, the "Stored Communications Act" which was unclear but kinda-sorta said they maybe, possibly could do that. The Supreme Court said "no, you couldn't do that and you needed a search warrant". Carpenter won. Then they sent Carpenter's case back to the lower court.

In the lower court, Carpenter lost (within the last couple weeks) because that lower court said the feds had relied on the law as it existed as of the time they did the things they did and had done so "in good faith", so the evidence they'd developed without a warrant was admissible.

Mr. Carpenter is doing his 116 year sentence. Even though he won at the US Supreme Court.

"A man's rights rest in three boxes: the ballot box, the jury box, and the cartridge box."
Frederick Douglass, speech in Williamsport, November, 1867.
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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 06-14-2019, 12:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Woods walker View Post
That bad pinch was due to poor training by the department regarding constitutional law. It probably wasn't the first one they made but it was the one that went to SCOTUS. The civil suit will follow and that will be expensive for the department and the city.
Yes horrible training, but it happens EVERY day! it's called abuse of power. Because in the end the only people that pay are the citizens of the effected area! This happens in "HIGH CRIME" area's which is the same thing as the poorest neighborhoods. So the city pays for corrupt and stupid cops and it just takes resources away from the already poor city or towns. the only way I see this changing is I think the payments should come directly from the Police union or pension fund! Then maybe the good cops (the 90% majority) will hold the bad cops accountable and wont lie and cover for them on reports.
Everyone loves to talk about Chicago for instance. I wonder how bad it would be if instead of them paying out just shy of 1 BILLION dollars in the last 10 years they used that money to help the schools and the city and bring jobs etc. But instead the cops keep acting up there breaking the law and they keep paying out. the 5-10% bad people and the 5-10% bad cops work together to screw over all the good people and cops in the city

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