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Federal Court Rules DC Checkpoints Unconstitutional

by Prince Of Petworth July 12, 2009 at 10:51 pm 28 Comments

The Washington Post reports:

“In a strongly worded opinion, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit condemned the roadblocks, which police used last summer in the city’s Trinidad neighborhood in Northeast Washington. The checkpoints, which have not been used in about a year, were a response to a spate of shootings, including a triple homicide.”

Council Member Mendelson sent out a press release:

“I am pleased with the U.S. Court of Appeals decision reversing a lower court’s approval of the controversial roadblocks. It is unfortunate that the District’s Attorney General was so wrong to insist that the roadblocks were constitutional. However, today’s decision is no surprise given that the DC Court of Appeals came to the same conclusion regarding roadblocks – ironically, also in Trinidad – in 1991.

All of us want to reduce crime – there is too much of it despite the recent drop in numbers. But the District government should pursue strategies that are proven to work. Roadblocks sound good – they’re a “get tough” approach – but they are controversial and often illegal. There are much more effective strategies, as Police Chief Cathy Lanier has shown, that have the community’s support and reduce crime.

Today’s decision is a triumph over rhetoric.”

I’m curious to know how you guys feel about this issue.


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