Insisting on your Rights is Uncooperative

That’s the view of one lawyer.

It seems that the actor Alec Baldwin wanted a search warrant before he would turn over his cell phone to the Santa Fe Sheriff’s Department. Supposedly, Baldwin asked for one even before the sheriff asked for his cell in the apparent expectation that the sheriff would be asking.

Lawyer Christopher Melcher says that’s being uncooperative.

It is spin by Alec’s lawyer to say that he suggested the warrant. He refused to provide his phone without a warrant. That is not cooperation or a proactive suggestion.

What we think of Baldwin doesn’t matter. Nor does it matter whether he asked for the search warrant before or after the sheriff asked for his cell phone. Not only his right to have a search warrant implied by our Constitution. The government’s requirement to get one before any search is written in black letters in our Constitution:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

What would be uncooperative would be the sheriff demanding Baldwin give up his cell phone without that warrant (which is different from the sheriff asking for it before getting the warrant in order to save some administrative hassle).

It’s attitudes like Melcher’s that give law enforcement and prosecutorial proceedings a bad name, whether or not Melcher is associated with either.

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