In the dystopian culture that defines modern America, law-abiding citizens are becoming less shocked by outrageous privacy invasions. Billions of supposedly private communications are being stored in databases by our government while surveillance cameras track virtually every movement made in public.
One judge in Texas, however, wants to exacerbate the situation by expanding law enforcement’s reach to a level reminiscent of the 2002 science-fiction thriller “Minority Report.”
In that film, citizens faced punishment for crimes they had not yet committed. Judge Lawrence Meyers of the Texas Criminal Appeals Court ruled authorities in the state can now secure search warrants based on the same criteria.
In his opinion, which struck down a lower court’s ruling, he concluded that officers can obtain warrants “based on predictions of the commission of future crimes.”
The case stemmed from a Parker County incident in which a suspected methamphetamine manufacturer’s home was searched by police without a warrant. When an informant offered authorities a tip regarding Michael Wehrenberg’s ostensible proclivity toward amateur pharmaceutics, police reportedly detained several suspects while snooping through the residence.
Officers apparently found indicators of a meth lab operation inside; though an appeals court in Fort Worth ruled the evidence could not be admitted into trial. Meyer’s ruling supersedes that decision, meaning authorities can now look through a citizen’s property without even insinuating a crime has been committed.
While few express sympathy for a man who, according to reports, was prepared to manufacture an illegal and dangerous drug, millions of Americans are already wary of the government’s encroaching presence in their private lives. This ruling provides even more leeway through which citizens may be harassed based on little – if any – evidence of wrongdoing.
Perhaps even more upsetting is the fact that this ruling originated in the Lone Star State, which as a whole has long championed individual liberty.
–B. Christopher Agee
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