Happiness is a warm gun

Guns make you safer:

A Fort Lewis soldier is dead after being accidentally shot in the head and killed by his wife in Olympia, the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office says.

Lt. Chris Mealy of the sheriff’s office told KOMO-TV the soldier was teaching his wife how to handle a handgun when he was shot early Sunday. Mealy told The Olympian that the semi-automatic handgun was the soldier’s personal property.

I’m just sayin’.

Comments

  1. 2

    Chris Stefan spews:

    Sigh, two basic rules of gun safety:
    1. Always assume any gun is loaded.
    2. Never point a gun at anything you don’t want to shoot.

    This is a terrible tragedy, but just shows why you don’t point even an “unloaded” gun at another person.

  2. 3

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    How much life insurance do active duty guys get? $400K? One little slip and she’s a young single woman with 400 grand of tax-free smackeroos in her bank account … yeah, I wonder how accidental it was …

    3. Another rule of gun safety: Never hand a loaded gun to a beneficiary of your life insurance policy. Just sayin’ …

  3. 4

    My Left Foot spews:

    This is one issue where I part company with Goldy.

    It is ALWAYS better to have a weapon and not need it, than to need it and not have it.

    There are no exceptions. Period.

  4. 5

    rick pierson is a bitch spews:

    We obviously need a democrat to pass legislation taking away all gun rights immediately! What other solution is there?

  5. 6

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Yeah, a terrible tragedy; I’ll bet the widow is bawling crocodile tears all over the insurance check …

  6. 7

    GBS spews:

    It’s a sad, tragic event that destroyed the lives of two young people, but God Damn it the irony is hillarious.

    Let this be a lesson to all gun owners: never teach gun safety to someone who’s unfamiliar with weapons at 1am after you both had a few drinks, with a loaded gun!

    What a dope and no doubt a Republican.

    Too funny.

    For those of you who don’t believe in evolution . . . here’s a prime example of it in practice.

  7. 8

    spews:

    My Left Foot @ 4

    “It is ALWAYS better to have a weapon and not need it, than to need it and not have it. There are no exceptions. Period.”

    Really? ALWAYS? I’m guessing that Mrs. Mealy now disagrees with your stance. Lt. Mealy probably would, if he could.

  8. 9

    Michael spews:

    Let’s review!

    And let’s add that 1.30AM in your livingroom is neither the time or place to teach gun safety.

    http://www.gunsafetynow.com/

    Always treat the gun as loaded.
    Always keep the gun pointed in a safe direction.
    Always keep your finger straight and off the trigger until you are ready to shoot.

    Always keep the gun unloaded until you are ready to use it.
    Never point the gun at anything you don’t intend to destroy.

    Be sure of your target and what is beyond it.
    Learn the mechanical and handling characteristics of the gun you are using.

    Always use proper Ammunition.

    Be sure the barrel is clear of obstructions before loading and shooting.

    If your gun fails to fire when the trigger is pulled, hold your shooting position for several seconds; then with the muzzle pointed in a safe direction, carefully unload the gun.

    Don’t rely on the gun’s safety to keep it from firing.
    Be aware of your surroundings when handling guns so you don’t trip or lose your balance and accidentally point and/or fire the gun at anyone or anything.

  9. 11

    Zotz spews:

    He could have come to Mason County and gotten a lead enema from Senator-Kommissar Sheldon or one of our many wingnuts instead:

  10. 13

    demo_kid spews:

    @4: It is ALWAYS better to have a weapon and not need it, than to need it and not have it.

    I agree.

    However, I could say the same about a car or morphine. Guns are tools, and should be regulated as such.

  11. 14

    ByeByeGOP spews:

    I for one am in favor of right wingers owning lots of guns. The inbred morons can just kill each other off and make America a better place. Here’s hoping that it was a Publican death!

  12. 15

    Daddy Love spews:

    4 mlf

    It is ALWAYS better to have a weapon and not need it, than to need it and not have it.

    I disagree that these are the only choices. Is it always better to create a fasle dichotomy than to examine the real issues?

    My opinion is: go ahead and keep a gun. Keep it unloaded and keep it locked in a gun safe.

  13. 16

    Right Stuff spews:

    Just put a sign on or near your front door that reads, “If you can read this, you are in range” that should be deterent enough, no?

    Like dogs, there are no bad guns, just bad gun owners….

  14. 17

    czechsaaz@hotmail.com spews:

    The “Takeaway” in motivational speak from this story, IMHO…

    Military personnel are in theory highly trained professionals as far as weapons safety. Yet military personnel are sometimes dumb enough to hand a loaded weapon to an inexperienced shooter. And a trained military officer, not a buck private, is dumb enough to be in the line of fire of a loaded weapon in the hands of an untrained shooter. Given these facts, how can we expect the average civilian to safely handle guns when highly trained individuals make simple mistakes?

    Yet the wingnuttery and especially Ron LaPierre will scream up and down that mandatory safety training is “an infringement of the second ammendment,” ignoring the potential implications of, “a well regulated militia.”

    No, this case should not be a rallying cry for gun restrictions. But it should continue the rallying cry that all purchasers must pass a basic safety test before being allowed to purchase a weapon.

    Hell, they made me drive for a half hour when I was 16 to make sure I knew what I was doing before giving me access to a car. Most states require a periodic written exam to continue to operate a car.

    But common sense gun safety never occurs to LaPierre or any 2nd Ammendment nut jobs.

    Keep a gun. Fire it on a range at least once a year. Learn how to use it properly. If you are so paranoid you must store it loaded, then be willing to accept responsibility (both criminally and fanancially) for any accidental shooting that occurs. This is the gun gospel according to me.

  15. 18

    Gray Coyote spews:

    You know, I had a recent experience at a party where someone had a “sound replica” 1911-style pistol, pointing it at people (the gun wasn’t real itself but it looked real from ten feet away). When I told them that it was unacceptable behavior, I got basically yelled down and told that I’m an asshole and that I should “shut the fuck up”. I was one of a very few Americans at a party in Surrey, BRITISH COLUMBIA, CANADA, with strict weapons controls and doesn’t allow you to even possess a handgun for personal protection, only for shooting at a shooting range or collecting purposes (which would be unconstitutional restrictions in the US). People keep pointing to Canada as the way the United States should be in terms of gun control laws and safe handling laws, but the fact is that my observations at this particular party shows that Canadians and the supporters of Canadian-style gun control have no moral authority to say that Canadians are safer because of their gun laws.

    No, this case should not be a rallying cry for gun restrictions. But it should continue the rallying cry that all purchasers must pass a basic safety test before being allowed to purchase a weapon.

    Hell, they made me drive for a half hour when I was 16 to make sure I knew what I was doing before giving me access to a car. Most states require a periodic written exam to continue to operate a car.

    Um, wait a minute here. If you’re making the case that guns should be treated the same way as cars. I can buy a car not even being a licensed driver. I have to register it for the general purpose of proving ownership, but unless I had an intention to drive it outside of my private property, I wouldn’t even have to take a driving test, or get a drivers license. I can hire someone else with a drivers license to drive it to my private property where I can use it on my private property.

    Driving a car also isn’t a specific civil right under the 2nd amendment or Article 1, Section 24 of our state constitution.

    If we treated guns like cars, if I had a license to carry a firearm issued by a state which has training required, my license would be honored nationwide via interstate compacts and/or full faith and credit clause of our constitution. It would not be dishonored in states like California, New York, Maryland, New Jersey, and Massachusetts where it wouldn’t be considered valid under the current laws there.

  16. 19

    drool spews:

    Ther eare roughly as many auto fatalities as gun fatalities and about the same number of guns as vehicles.

    I don’t see the anti gun crowd taking their cars in to be crushed and switching to riding the bus which is much safer.

  17. 20

    czechsaaz@hotmail.com spews:

    @18..

    I knew it would only be a few minutes before someone like you would crawl out from under a rock. Is your private property vast? Is your scenario in any way plausible. (Sure, it is. In the words of Douglas Adams, “Not impossible, but very VERY improbable.”)

    See Article 2, not ammended, the orignal WA State Constitution. The Supreme Court has repeatedly decided that where the U.S. Constitution and a State Constitution are in conflict, Federal applies. (See full-faith and credit cases, interstate commerce cases, etc.) So what does “A well regulated militia” mean?

    No, cars and guns are not the same thing at all. But requiring a potential gun owner be proficient in the operation of the firearm is not an “impairment.” With practice, anyone can find a firearm that they can operate safely. Without practice, any firearm can be deadly in a number of ways.

    You strike me as a 2nd ammendment nut-job. You only want absolute adherence to “Shall not be infringed,” and not the, “Well regulated militia” part of the sentence.

  18. 21

    czechsaaz@hotmail.com spews:

    @19

    Drool.

    “I’ll take extremely stretched analogies for $400, Alex.”

    Auto fatalities are ALMOST never intentionally inflicted. The overwhelming majority of firearms fatalities are intentionally inflicted whether justified by defense or not.

    Apples to Oranges, my friend. Time to put that really tired old line of bullshit to bed.

  19. 22

    Mark1 spews:

    You’re an ignorant little worm Goldy. Sure, be naive and rely on the police to save you. That’ll happen. I think you’re just mad because you’re about as tough as a wet newspaper. In reference to the “clip” above, if this man had been practicing proper gun handling safety to begin with, none of this would have happened. The fucking thing didn’t load and then fire itself….And if you hate guns so much, don’t own one, but I’ll be damned if you tell me I can’t.

  20. 23

    drool spews:

    czech,

    Your logic would make the automobile more dangerous than a firearm. They are killing people when not intended to.

    The anti gun crowd loves to compare cars to guns so I did a little internet research a week or so ago and stumbled into that tidbit.

    I presume you will not bring up licensing of drivers vs licensing of gun owners then or you’ll be back into apples/oranges land.

  21. 24

    czechsaaz@hotmail.com spews:

    @23

    Actually Drool,

    If you factor in number of operators + operating hours automobiles vs. firearms and firearm deaths vs. automobile deaths are about equal, Firearms are FAR more dangerous than automobiles. Just me personally, I operate my automobile about 8 hours per week. I operate my firearm at the range about 5 hours per year, just enough to stay proficient.

    So yes, apples to oranges, licensing (safety testing) of firearms owners makes WAY more sense from a public safety standpoint than drivers licensing.

    Thank you for not thinking through your argument before making it. Makes my job of calling bullshit on you much easier.

  22. 25

    manoftruth spews:

    every jew i’ve ever know, personally or a celebrity, believes people should not own guns. so, either jews are smarter than eveyone else, or they just want to disram the citizens in case someone gets the idea of another holocaust

  23. 28

    delbert spews:

    @1

    Roger, the implication that the Mrs. killed her husband for the insurance money is inappropriate and slanderous.

    Have you no shame?

  24. 29

    mark spews:

    Actually doctors kill more people than guns.
    Cars kill way more than guns.
    Liberalism kills way more brain cells than guns..

  25. 30

    My Left Foot spews:

    8

    Darryl,

    They were drinking according to the reports. You don’t handle weapons when you have been drinking. You can’t take my gun because some moron got liquored up and handled a weapon. By your logic, they should be removing our cars since they are used by these Darwin award deserving morons who drink and drive and kill. We could ask the Angels Mr. Adenhart, but he can’t answer.

    My guess is this guy, who was going to be deployed, decided to teach his wife how to clean and use the weapon in his absence. Noble thought. Should have had it before he started drinking.

    I feel bad for him and his wife. She will live with this forever.

  26. 31

    Richard Pope spews:

    Darryl @ 8

    Really? ALWAYS? I’m guessing that Mrs. Mealy now disagrees with your stance. Lt. Mealy probably would, if he could.

    Actually, it looks like Chris Mealy works for the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office and is still very much alive. From the article, it is not totally clear that Mealy is a man (remember Chris can be a woman, as in our current governor), and no clue whether Mealy has a wife or not.

  27. 32

    My Left Foot spews:

    25:

    I am Jewish. I grew up knowing many Jews. Served with Jews in the military. We owned weapons.

    I still own weapons.

    Talking out your ass again, moe-ron.

  28. 33

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @16 The average burglar would laugh at your stupid sign. And ransake your house looking for the gun(s). Of all the items in your home, guns are among the most salable on the street.

  29. 35

    Mark1 spews:

    ’28. delbert spews:
    @1
    Roger, the implication that the Mrs. killed her husband for the insurance money is inappropriate and slanderous.

    Have you no shame?’

    Amen to that. But in Rodent’s defense, he is disabled, takes many pills, is in the advanced stages of O.C.D. and senility, and is not well; including in the head. He says he was a GI, next it was a lawyer, then it was a Judge, but I am sure the last two are false. As with any blog, everything posted is subjective. He’ll be gone soon, so no worries. I hear even janitors at courthouses get proper “state” funerals.

  30. 36

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @28 “Have you no shame?”

    No, of course not. I’m a rabbit and operate entirely on instinct. I interpret the world around me according to what it looks like, unimpeded by any stupid human cultural inhibitions.

  31. 37

    proud leftist spews:

    35
    I’m quite sure the Rabbit doesn’t lie about his curriculum vitae. You, on the other hand, have no CV. You are simply full of vitriolic, vituperative vindictiveness. I’m sure, you fucking idiot, that you appreciate that sort of alliteration.

  32. 38

    Gray Coyote spews:

    I knew it would only be a few minutes before someone like you would crawl out from under a rock. Is your private property vast? Is your scenario in any way plausible. (Sure, it is. In the words of Douglas Adams, “Not impossible, but very VERY improbable.”)

    I was pointing out how a flaw in the logic of “treat guns like cars”. “Someone like you”…oooh, I spy someone who thinks I’m a knuckle dragging McCain/Palin theocratic conservative. *BUZZZZ* Wrong again Czech. Read the last paragraph.

    See Article 2, not amended, the original WA State Constitution. The Supreme Court has repeatedly decided that where the U.S. Constitution and a State Constitution are in conflict, Federal applies. (See full-faith and credit cases, interstate commerce cases, etc.) So what does “A well regulated militia” mean?

    The 1889 State Constitution has no wording on “well regulated militia”. The 2nd amendment and it’s statement of well regulated militia has little to nothing to do with the A1S24 of our state constitution. You can argue that “well regulated” allows you to suggest that sort of regulation on the federal level, but the state constitution applies to actions by our state legislature and local councils, as well as the executive actions of the Governor, as well as the Mayors and County Executives in this state.

    You are also mistaken in your belief that weaker constitutional protection of the US Constitution overturn the stronger civil liberties protections of certain provisions of state constitutions. Since the ratification of the 14th amendment in 1868, The rights in the US Bill of Rights acts as a floor for the constitutional liberties of the residents of the individual states, not a ceiling as you suggest. For example, the US Supreme Court ruled that DUI Checkpoints were constitutional a few years ago under the 4th amendment. Our State Supreme Court ruled DUI checkpoints unconstitutional under Article 1, Section 7 of State Constitution.

    No, cars and guns are not the same thing at all. But requiring a potential gun owner be proficient in the operation of the firearm is not an “impairment.” With practice, anyone can find a firearm that they can operate safely. Without practice, any firearm can be deadly in a number of ways.

    So which magic person would you appoint to the position of “overseer” of who passes and fails people?

    You want a political official to do this? After 8 years of G-Dub trying his damndest to bankrupt this country, destroy his political enemies (look up Don Seigelman), and so on, you want this power to be trusted to a potential future neo-conservative government (whether it be 10, 20, or 30 years from now, hopefully never) who are known for saying things about the constitution such as “It’s just a goddamned piece of paper” and generally wiping their ass with it?

    You’re openly gay? Sorry, you’re not of “good moral character” and therefor can’t possess firearms. Or if they decide to not flat out say that they discriminated against you, they’ll just say that you failed the test. You also can’t get the test results (you just have to trust what we say), and when you sue in court, the Government will use the “State Secrets” privilege rather than turn over the test results. This is after 3 or 4 years of litigation, and you still have no gun to possess even in your own home.

    You know, voting can also be deadly too, voting in certain areas of this country caused psychotic nut-jobs to have been elected to Congress like Michelle “Re-Education Camps” Bachmann, and elected George W. Bush, who started an unnecessary war and occupation which has killed hundreds of thousands of Iraqi’s, putting us further into a economic depression (He was a two recession president), held back this country from stem cell research which could have saved lives. Yet no one would ever dare suggest a literacy or a “good citizen” test for the right to vote because the people of this country repeatedly made a mistake.

    That’s the nature of fundamental rights. As part of these fundamental rights, the government cannot force those who go into a movie theater to wear a ball gag because the government thinks that one person at some point will yell fire when there’s no fire and cause a panic. You also cannot require a photographer to go through a training course, testing, and licensing because you want to prevent possible illegal acts using that camera.

    8 years of G-Dub and 12 years of theocratic Republican Congressional rule has made me quite sensitive to ANY idea of a fundamental right being subject to the whim of an “government official”, regardless of what it is.

    You strike me as a 2nd amendment nut-job. You only want absolute adherence to “Shall not be infringed,” and not the, “Well regulated militia” part of the sentence.

    Calling people names for posting an opposite point of view to yours isn’t really conducive to a debate, especially since you aren’t talking to a knuckle dragging religious nut-job conservative, but a progressive liberal who’s also a religious minority AND a gay man. My political views are quite aligned more with Goldy than the corporatist Dino Rossi or with the semi-corporatist Chris “I’m the Governor of the State of Boeing” Gregoire.

    One more thing: I-676 in 1997 brought out heavy concentration of voters from the rural and suburban areas of the state, and voted down the kind of “handgun licensing proficiency” law that you wanted by a 71%-29%. It also contributed to the defeat of I-677, which would have put the GLBT antidiscrimination provisions into law nearly a decade before the Legislature got the balls to pass it.

  33. 39

    czechsaaz@hotmail.com spews:

    @38

    Your argument stems from an ammendment to the state constitution. And you rightly point out that the Ammendment to the state constitution does not include, “well regulated militia.”

    However, as I pointed out, the unammended article One Section 2 of the State Constitution is explicit. “The Constitution of the United States is the supreme law of the land.”

    Sorry, you have to deal with “well regulated militia” because it is part of the U.S. Constitution, or “the supreme law of the land.” Strictly speaking, any law or State Constitutional Ammendment passed by the legislature or by ballot initiative that is in coflict with the U.S. Constitution is invalid.

    DUI Checkpoints? Gregoire has banned them as a matter of policy, but if a municipality has the desire to set up a checkpoint, under federal court precedent, it is within their right. You could be stopped by a checkpoint and arrested. You can argue the constitutionality of the checkpoint. At the State Supreme Court level you will win. But then the prosecutor will go to the U.S. Supreme Court where, as demonstrated by legal precedent, you will LOSE! (I totally disagree with the SCOTUS decision there, but as a matter of law, it is the “Supreme law of the land.”) As policy of the current state government that’s not going to happen. If Washington elects a “law and order” Governor next time around, it probably will.

    Your fundimental rights is ludicrous. Still apples to oranges, but the state regulates a TON of things that are dangerous. Medical Licensing, Contractors, Electricians, and on and on. It is my fundimental right to build my own house, on my own property with my own two hands. But just try it.

    You seem to be worried about personal lives being a criteria for owning a gun. That would be an impairment but it speaks more to the paranoia of how a licensing system could work rather than how it might work in reality. Insuring that the potential owner of a firearm can accurately fire it, safely unload/clean/store it, etc. would be protected under anti-discrimination statutes and the portected classes of federal statutes. I hear you that sexual orientation is not yet a protected class under federal law but it’s coming.

    Hey, wonderful, the NRA poured money into the campaign and got I-676 defeated. But that in itself does not speak to the constitutionality of the issue. Lots of unpopular things are constitutional.

  34. 40

    Politically Incorrect spews:

    Implying the guy’s wife shot him to get the insurance money is pretty low-rent, but cheap dialog comes easy here.

  35. 41

    Gray Coyote spews:

    DUI Checkpoints? Gregoire has banned them as a matter of policy, but if a municipality has the desire to set up a checkpoint, under federal court precedent, it is within their right. You could be stopped by a checkpoint and arrested. You can argue the constitutionality of the checkpoint. At the State Supreme Court level you will win. But then the prosecutor will go to the U.S. Supreme Court where, as demonstrated by legal precedent, you will LOSE! (I totally disagree with the SCOTUS decision there, but as a matter of law, it is the “Supreme law of the land.”) As policy of the current state government that’s not going to happen. If Washington elects a “law and order” Governor next time around, it probably will.

    From City of Seattle v. Mesiani, 755 P.2d 775 (Wa. 1988):

    ARTICLE 1, SECTION 7

    [1] When parties allege violation of rights under both the United States and Washington Constitutions, this court will first independently interpret and apply the Washington Constitution in order, among other concerns, to develop a body of independent jurisprudence, and because consideration of the United States Constitution first would be premature. STATE v. COE, 101 Wn.2d 364, 373-74, 679 P.2d 353 (1984). We find the sobriety checkpoint program illegal based on adequate and independent state grounds. Any federal cases cited are used only for the purpose of guidance and do not by themselves compel the result reached.

    Const. art. 1, 7 provides: “No person shall be disturbed in his private affairs, or his home invaded, without authority of law.” The textual language of article 1, section 7 provides greater protection to individual privacy interests than the Fourth Amendment. STATE v. GUNWALL, 106 Wn.2d 54, 65, 720 P.2d 808 (1986); STATE v. STROUD, 106 Wn.2d 144, 148-52, 720 P.2d 436 (1986); STATE v. MYRICK, 102 Wn.2d 506, 510, 688 P.2d 151 (1984). Article 1, section 7 protects against warrantless searches and seizures, with no express limitations. STATE v. SIMPSON, 95 Wn.2d 170, 178, 622 P.2d 1199 (1980).

    [2] The City asserts that the State’s interest in the legal operation of automobiles defeats any privacy interest under article 1, section 7. While we acknowledge the State’s strong interest in assuring all drivers comply with applicable laws, the City’s position is without support in either our cases or the language or logic of our constitution. From the earliest days of the automobile in this state, this court has acknowledged the privacy interest of individuals and objects in automobiles. STATE v. GIBBONS, 118 Wash. 171, 187, 203 P. 390 (1922); SEE STATE v. SIMPSON, 95 Wn.2d 170, 622 P.2d 1199 (1980); SEE ALSO STATE v. MARCHAND, 104 Wn.2d 434, 706 P.2d 225 (1985) (applying the Fourth Amendment). We agree with the observations of the United States Supreme Court in DELAWARE v. PROUSE, 440 U.S. 648, 59 L. Ed. 2d 660, 99 S. Ct. 1391 (1979):

    ” An individual operating or traveling in an automobile does not lose all reasonable expectation of privacy simply because the automobile and its use are subject to government regulation. Automobile travel is a basic, pervasive, and often necessary mode of transportation to and from one’s home, workplace, and leisure activities. Many people spend more hours each day traveling in cars than walking on the streets. Undoubtedly, many find a greater sense of security and privacy in traveling in an automobile than they do in exposing themselves by pedestrian or other modes of travel. Were the individual subject to unfettered governmental intrusion every time he entered an automobile, the security guaranteed by the Fourth Amendment would be seriously circumscribed. . . . (Footnote omitted.) PROUSE, at 662-63. Sobriety checkpoint stops are searches and seizures under article 1, section 7.

    [3] Because sobriety checkpoints involve seizures, they are valid only if there is “authority of law.” Article 1, section 7 “unlike any provision in the federal constitution, explicitly protects the privacy rights of Washington citizens, STATE v. WHITE, 97 Wn.2d 92, 110, 640 P.2d 1061 (1982), and these privacy rights include the freedom from warrantless searches absent special circumstances.” STROUD, at 148. This court recognizes only narrow exceptions to the warrant requirement. JACOBSEN v. SEATTLE, 98 Wn.2d 668, 672, 658 P.2d 653 (1983). Warrantless searches incident to arrests have been allowed, for instance, to prevent destruction of evidence or danger to officers. STROUD, at 152. The burden is on the City to show that the stop falls within an exception to the warrant requirement. STATE v. WILLIAMS, 102 Wn.2d 733, 736, 689 P.2d 1065 (1984). It has failed to do so. «1»

    ————————————————————————
    «1» The City argues that the sobriety checkpoints resemble the warrantless searches permitted by the Court of Appeals in STATE v. SILVERNAIL, 25 Wn. App. 185, 605 P.2d 1279, CERT. DENIED, 449 U.S. 843 (1980). However, SILVERNAIL was expressly limited to situations in which there was reliable information that a serious felony had recently been committed. SILVERNAIL, at 190, citing 3 W. LaFave, SEARCH AND SEIZURE 9.5(a), at 141-44 (1978). This is far different from an inference from statistics that there are inebriated drivers in the area.
    ————————————————————————

    No argument has been presented to this court that would bring the checkpoint program within any possible interpretation of the constitutionally required “authority of law.” The Seattle sobriety checkpoint program therefore violated petitioners’ rights under article 1, section 7.

  36. 42

    czechsaaz spews:

    Uhhhh…

    Pre Supreme court ruling (1988 WA state, 1990 SCOTUS.)

    Thanks for excerpting the Washington Court opinion so extensively and so uselessly.

    If a local prosecutor wants to make a name for himself, this is a perfect test case. Washington state court/current policy is in direct conflict with SCOTUS. In fact, the federal appeals court would rule in favor of checkpoints and the Supremes would likely not hear the case as it is established law.

  37. 43

    Gray Coyote spews:

    Thanks for excerpting the Washington Court opinion so extensively and so uselessly.

    O RLY?

    If a local prosecutor wants to make a name for himself, this is a perfect test case. Washington state court/current policy is in direct conflict with SCOTUS. In fact, the federal appeals court would rule in favor of checkpoints and the Supremes would likely not hear the case as it is established law.

    Despite the risk of further sidetrack off the main subject, this idea of the federal constitutional rights being a ceiling that the state courts cannot go above needs to be squashed.

    From the US Courts Website, which is overseen and approved by the US Supreme Court and the Chief Judges of the Courts of Appeal.

    The entirety of it is rather dry, so I’ll try to post the pertinent parts:


    Sitz v. Michigan Department of Police

    After losing in the federal courts, the licensed drivers of Michigan continued to pursue their suit in the Michigan state court system. This time, they alleged that the sobriety checkpoints violated Article 1, Section 11, of the Michigan Constitution, which also prohibited “unreasonable searches and seizures.” On remand from the U.S. Supreme Court, the Michigan Court of Appeals recognized that while the checkpoints did not violate the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, it agreed with the drivers and held that the checkpoints did violate the Michigan Constitution. When the case came before it, the Michigan Supreme Court affirmed the Michigan Court of Appeals’ decision saying that:

    … [the] Constitutional liberties include the right to travel, and automobiles generally may not be searched absent probable cause. In this case, the state police erected sobriety checkpoints along state highways, at which all vehicles were required to stop. While stopped, the drivers were briefly inspected by officers for signs of intoxication, and permitted to resume their travels if no signs were detected. This warrantless, suspicionless stop of vehicles for the purposes of criminal investigation violated the Michigan Constitution.”

    Furthermore, the court tried to reconcile its decision with the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in this matter by stating that federal constitutional law provides a “floor” for state court litigation, and while “…state judges must not adopt state constitutional rules which fall below this floor; courts may, however, appeal to the relevant state constitution to establish a higher ‘ceiling’ of rights for individuals.” In other words, the Michigan Supreme Court found that the Michigan Constitution provided a higher “ceiling” for individual rights than did the U.S. Constitution in this particular case.

    More…

    Although the facts of the case had not changed, the legal arguments did. When the case came before the U.S. Supreme Court, the drivers argued that the sobriety checkpoints violated the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. When the Court said there was no constitutional violation, the drivers challenged the action in state court. This time, they alleged a violation of the Michigan Constitution, which also prohibited “unreasonable searches and seizures.”

    The Michigan Supreme Court ultimately concluded that the sobriety checkpoints did violate the Michigan Constitution. Since the Michigan Supreme Court was interpreting solely the state’s constitution, it did not overrule the U.S. Supreme Court.

    Even more….

    This case is an example of how the federal and state court systems interact with each other. Both the federal Constitution and the Michigan Constitution came into play. The case showed how the federal courts are the final arbiters of federal law; the U.S. Supreme Court being the ultimate arbiter. However, it also showed how the state courts have vast powers when dealing with matters reserved to their sphere, such as state constitutional law. It demonstrated that the federal courts often provide a “floor” for citizens’ rights that state courts may not go below. Moreover, it also showed how state courts can, and do, raise the “ceiling” for some of these rights.

    Btw, this is stuff that the US judiciary system gives out to law students. Given your logic, the marriage equality cases in the states of Massachusetts, Iowa, Connecticut, Vermont, New Jersey, and California would have to be dismissed because a few federal courts of appeal have (wrongly IHMO) stated that under the 14th amendment, sexual orientation is not a suspect class for equal protection purposes.

    With your logic, the religious fundies could sue in federal court to overturn state court cases that solely use their own state constitutions to determine the civil liberties of their citizens.

    I also have a feeling that our state Supreme Court may want to revisit the state DOMA law again due to the Varnum decision in Iowa, which decided a constitutional provision there which is almost exactly the same as Washington.

    I can also make arguments that the “well-regulated militia” that you define it is completely wrong in terms of what you think “well regulated” means, however insofar as the State of Washington goes, “well regulated militia” does not even exist in our RKBA provision.

  38. 44

    Gray Coyote spews:

    Thanks for excerpting the Washington Court opinion so extensively and so uselessly.

    O RLY?

    If a local prosecutor wants to make a name for himself, this is a perfect test case. Washington state court/current policy is in direct conflict with SCOTUS. In fact, the federal appeals court would rule in favor of checkpoints and the Supremes would likely not hear the case as it is established law.

    Despite the risk of further sidetrack off the main subject, this idea of the federal constitutional rights being a ceiling that the state courts cannot go above needs to be squashed.

    From the US Courts Website, which is overseen and approved by the US Supreme Court and the Chief Judges of the Courts of Appeal.

    The entirety of it is rather dry, so I’ll try to post the pertinent parts:


    Sitz v. Michigan Department of Police
    After losing in the federal courts, the licensed drivers of Michigan continued to pursue their suit in the Michigan state court system. This time, they alleged that the sobriety checkpoints violated Article 1, Section 11, of the Michigan Constitution, which also prohibited “unreasonable searches and seizures.” On remand from the U.S. Supreme Court, the Michigan Court of Appeals recognized that while the checkpoints did not violate the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, it agreed with the drivers and held that the checkpoints did violate the Michigan Constitution. When the case came before it, the Michigan Supreme Court affirmed the Michigan Court of Appeals’ decision saying that:

    … [the] Constitutional liberties include the right to travel, and automobiles generally may not be searched absent probable cause. In this case, the state police erected sobriety checkpoints along state highways, at which all vehicles were required to stop. While stopped, the drivers were briefly inspected by officers for signs of intoxication, and permitted to resume their travels if no signs were detected. This warrantless, suspicionless stop of vehicles for the purposes of criminal investigation violated the Michigan Constitution.”

    Furthermore, the court tried to reconcile its decision with the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in this matter by stating that federal constitutional law provides a “floor” for state court litigation, and while “…state judges must not adopt state constitutional rules which fall below this floor; courts may, however, appeal to the relevant state constitution to establish a higher ‘ceiling’ of rights for individuals.” In other words, the Michigan Supreme Court found that the Michigan Constitution provided a higher “ceiling” for individual rights than did the U.S. Constitution in this particular case.

    More…

    Although the facts of the case had not changed, the legal arguments did. When the case came before the U.S. Supreme Court, the drivers argued that the sobriety checkpoints violated the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. When the Court said there was no constitutional violation, the drivers challenged the action in state court. This time, they alleged a violation of the Michigan Constitution, which also prohibited “unreasonable searches and seizures.”

    The Michigan Supreme Court ultimately concluded that the sobriety checkpoints did violate the Michigan Constitution. Since the Michigan Supreme Court was interpreting solely the state’s constitution, it did not overrule the U.S. Supreme Court.

    Even more….

    This case is an example of how the federal and state court systems interact with each other. Both the federal Constitution and the Michigan Constitution came into play. The case showed how the federal courts are the final arbiters of federal law; the U.S. Supreme Court being the ultimate arbiter. However, it also showed how the state courts have vast powers when dealing with matters reserved to their sphere, such as state constitutional law. It demonstrated that the federal courts often provide a “floor” for citizens’ rights that state courts may not go below. Moreover, it also showed how state courts can, and do, raise the “ceiling” for some of these rights.

    Btw, this is stuff that the US judiciary system gives out to law students. Given your logic, the marriage equality cases in the states of Massachusetts, Iowa, Connecticut, Vermont, New Jersey, and California would have to be dismissed because a few federal courts of appeal have (wrongly IHMO) stated that under the 14th amendment, sexual orientation is not a suspect class for equal protection purposes.

    With your logic, the religious fundies could sue in federal court to overturn state court cases that solely use their own state constitutions to determine the civil liberties of their citizens.

    I also have a feeling that our state Supreme Court may want to revisit the state DOMA law again due to the Varnum decision in Iowa, which decided a constitutional provision there which is almost exactly the same as Washington.

    I can also make arguments that the “well-regulated militia” that you define it is completely wrong in terms of what you think “well regulated” means, however insofar as the State of Washington goes, “well regulated militia” does not even exist in our RKBA provision.

  39. 45

    czechsaaz spews:

    Fine, I don’t really want to get further off topic.

    I don’t really have the inclination to research if Sitz v Michigan ended in a State Prosecutor declining to seek appeal (as seems to be the case in City of Seattle v. Mesiani.) Unfortunately, part of the court system involves which party exhausts resources or desire first.

    And yes, religious fundies have every right (if they have the money to pay a lawyer, or a pro bono lawyer who thinks he can make the case) to petition the federal court system on appeal of a state court ruling relying solely on state constitution. I wouldn’t say they would win, but they can certainly try.

    I’m a little T&E right now so I think I’ll quit. Actually, it was nice getting into it with a rational person here on H.A. (Beats the hell out of arguing with MarvPuddiStam, and the various manifestations of “Truth.”) Sorry I implied you were a knuckle dragger. I owe you a beer. I still think there’s an untried 2nd amendment argument to be made should the make-up of the court change significantly.

  40. 46

    Gray Coyote spews:

    I don’t really have the inclination to research if Sitz v Michigan ended in a State Prosecutor declining to seek appeal (as seems to be the case in City of Seattle v. Mesiani.) Unfortunately, part of the court system involves which party exhausts resources or desire first.

    A State’s Supreme Court is the final arbiter of the state constitution’s version of the Bill of Rights. I’ll have to try to dig up some SCOTUS cites for that particular determination to finally solve the question.

    And yes, religious fundies have every right (if they have the money to pay a lawyer, or a pro bono lawyer who thinks he can make the case) to petition the federal court system on appeal of a state court ruling relying solely on state constitution. I wouldn’t say they would win, but they can certainly try.

    And they’ll very clearly lose at every level that any first year law student can easily defeat.

    I’m a little T&E right now so I think I’ll quit. Actually, it was nice getting into it with a rational person here on H.A. (Beats the hell out of arguing with MarvPuddiStam, and the various manifestations of “Truth.”) Sorry I implied you were a knuckle dragger. I owe you a beer.

    You know, I’m willing to bet with the exception of the “gun issue”, you and I agree on a lot of things politically. It’ll make for some interesting conversation. I won’t be at tommorow’s “Drinking Liberally” or another one until one occurs on a Saturday night (I work for a living). I’ll take you up on your offer of beer or another alcoholic beverage. :)