Not Now, Jody

One of a continuing series

Iconic police state image

Alan Diaz/AP Photo

Chapter Seven

I’m spending some time reviewing  It’s Now Or Never: A Call to Reclaim America by Georgia Congressman Jody Hice. Go back to the original post to get my overview of the book and the lowdown on the front matter. This is Chapter Seven, titled “The Rise of America’s Police State.”

As always, I’m going to review this chapter by posting selected quotes from the book and adding my own comments. Here’s for starters:

The Declaration of Independence states that God Himself has given us the rights and liberties that we enjoy. In essence, that is the meaning of ‘unalienable’ rights. They are rights recognized as not being man-made or man-given. Instead, it refers to that which is God-made and God-given and is therefore, beyond the scope and jurisdiction of human government. Our entire American political and legal system is based upon that unique premise. There is no other safeguard to defend the natural rights of humans apart from the recognition that they are divinely authorized. If we remove God, we will also remove all claims to American rights and liberty.

Dr. Jody Hice (2012-01-13). It’s Now Or Never: A Call to Reclaim America (p. 120). WestBowPress. Kindle Edition.

[Emphasis added]

 

I highlighted the significant passage. Allow me to translate: “If we remove an imaginary person created out of thin air by people living 3000 years ago in the Eastern Mediterranean, then we are S.O.L. This chapter is getting off to a rough start.

It’s been a few days since I read through this chapter, but my recollection is it goes like this: Our government is increasingly exercising its massive power to oppress the population. Congressman Jody Hice is going to explain all of this, and he’s going to provide some examples. Here is one:

The story behind the decision is quite interesting. It involves a Vanderburgh County married couple that was having a domestic dispute. The woman called 911 and law enforcement officers soon arrived on the scene. Once there, the woman told the police that her husband had not harmed her in any way, and couple went inside their home. An officer began demanding entry into the home and the man told him that everything was fine, and that their services were not needed. Nonetheless, the officer forced his way inside the home against the husband’s will. The husband then pushed the officer against a wall in protest of the forced entry. Another police officer, who was assisting the first one, shot the husband with a taser gun and arrested him. Shortly thereafter, the couple put forth a lawsuit claiming their Fourth Amendment rights had been violated.

Dr. Jody Hice (2012-01-13). It’s Now Or Never: A Call to Reclaim America (p. 122). WestBowPress. Kindle Edition.

 

The married couple lost their lawsuit in a decision much denounced by Congressman Hice. Not being a legal scholar (neither is the congressman), but I am sure it works this way:

  • There was a domestic dispute.
  • Somebody involved felt it important to call 911.
  • The police responded. That’s what they are supposed to do.
  • When the police arrived the husband said it was all a misunderstanding, and the police should go away.
  • The police are not so inclined in situations like this. Somebody phoned 911 and requested police intervention. Officers at the scene need to verify whether a threat actually exists. The police need to enter the residence and check on the safety of people inside.
  • The police do not need a warrant from a judge in cases like this. The husband was wrong in resisting the police.
  • Congressman Hice is flat wrong in his assessment of this situation. He has coughed this up and dressed it out in a way to present a distorted picture of the circumstances.
  • Congressman Hice is having considerable difficulty with the commandment relating to false witness.

The congressman cites another example:

The specifics involved a 9-year old girl (known as S.G.) in February of 2003, at an Oregon elementary school. An Oregon Department of Human Services worker and a uniformed armed deputy sheriff, without a court order and without notifying the child’s parents, entered the school and removed the young girl from her elementary classroom. Following the directives of government authorities, the school administrators did not object. S.G. was taken to an empty conference room and left alone with Sheriff James Alford and caseworker Bob Camreta, and for two hours they interrogated her about alleged sexual abuse at home, supposedly by her father. According to S.G.’s attorneys, when the caseworker asked the 9-year-old girl if her father touched her “all over [her] body,” she said “yes;” she was referring to affectionate hugs, kisses and piggyback rides. Camreta then asked “over and over again” if “some of those were bad touches.” Over and over again, S.G. said “no.”[142]

Dr. Jody Hice (2012-01-13). It’s Now Or Never: A Call to Reclaim America (p. 127). WestBowPress. Kindle Edition.

There is more to it than just the foregoing. If the description in the book is correct, the situation was gruesomely intimidating to the girl. Guns were visible. The girl was not informed she did not have to endure the questioning. After two hours of this she lied so she could leave and catch her school bus home.

The citation is to

 John Whitehead, “Alford v. Greene: A Case with Far-Reaching Implications for Parents’ Rights,” The Rutherford Institute, February 2, 2003, http://www.rutherford.org/articles_db/commentary.asp?record_ id=700.

The case eventually caught the attention of the Supreme Court:

Holding: Although the Court may generally review a lower court’s constitutional ruling at the behest of governmental officials who won a final judgment on constitutional grounds, here the case is moot because the respondent (the plaintiff below) no longer has a stake in preserving the court’s holding because she no longer needs protection from the practice at issue.

Plain English Holding: A government official can ask the Supreme Court to review a lower court’s ruling that he violated the Constitution, even if the lower court ultimately concluded that he could not be sued for that conduct.

Judgment: Vacated in part and remanded on May 26, 2011. Justice Scalia filed a concurring opinion. Justice Sotomayor concurred in the judgment, in an opinion that was joined by Justice Breyer. Justice Kennedy filed a dissenting opinion that was joined by Justice Thomas.

The Rutherford Institute has this to say, written by John W. Whitehead
(February 28, 2011):

On March 1, the United States Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Alford v. Greene, the first major case involving Child Protective Services to go before the United States Supreme Court in 21 years and one of the most important parents’ rights cases ever to reach the Court.

If it goes the right way–i.e., to bolster parents’ rights–it will mean that state agents will have to obtain a court order in order to question a child at school. If it goes the wrong way, which the Obama administration is advocating for, along with 40 state attorneys general, law enforcement agencies, social workers, prosecutors and defense attorneys, it will be a serious blow to parental rights as well as the rights of children in the public schools. And then there’s the possibility that the Court will either vacate the lower court opinion, leaving the police and other government agents free to question students at will, or sidestep the issue altogether and simply choose not to rule on it, declaring it moot because the young girl involved is no longer a child.

For some reason a lot of emphasis here is being placed on parental rights. I would have hoped the rights of a nine-year-old child would get more attention.

The facts are not disputed. The girl should properly have been questioned by a woman officer or even a woman counselor. Anybody less intimidating than two male police officers. Her right to get out of the situation should have been carefully explained to her. The school should have been more protective.

This next example requires some reading:

Take for example the early-morning terrifying experience of Anthony Wright on June 7, 2011, just days after the Supreme Court decision. At 6:00 A.M., federal agents started pounding on the door of his California home and before he could even open the door, government personnel entered the home and Wright was immediately overtaken by police. According to a neighbor’s eyewitness account, the agents forced entry into the home and then “dragged [Wright] out in his boxer shorts, threw him to the ground and handcuffed him.” His own words describe the scenario, “He [a federal agent] had his knee on my back and I had no idea why they were there.”[146] He was a victim of a raid from the Department of Education SWAT team. Furthermore, while Wright was being unconstitutionally mishandled, the federal agents took his three children (ages three, seven, and eleven) and detained them in a squad car while a search of the home was conducted. You would think this type of behavior was reserved for major felons or persons on the FBI’s ‘Most Wanted’ list. What crime had Wright committed? Evidently, the agents were not even looking for Mr. Wright. They were allegedly seeking information on his estranged wife, Michelle, who no longer lived at that address. So, what was her grievous crime? She was suspected of financial aid fraud! News reports said the raid was in regard to some delinquent student loans![147] Was this ‘show of force’ necessary for a delinquent school loan? A simple conversation would have been more appropriate and would have achieved the same purpose without frightening the children and abusing the rights of a private citizen.

Dr. Jody Hice (2012-01-13). It’s Now Or Never: A Call to Reclaim America (pp. 130-131). WestBowPress. Kindle Edition.

The book cites:

 John W. Whitehead, “SWAT Team Mania: The War Against the American Citizen,” The Rutherford Institute, June 13, 2011, http://www.rutherford.org/articles_db/commentary.asp?record_id=715.

That link is not working. This one gets you to the appropriate page:

For example, it was heavily armed agents from one such OIG office, working under the auspices of the Department of Education, who forced their way into the home of a California man, handcuffed him, and placed his three children (ages 3, 7, and 11) in a squad car while they conducted a search of his home. This federal SWAT team raid, which is essentially what it was, on the home of Anthony Wright on Tuesday, June 7, 2011, was allegedly intended to ferret out information on Wright’s estranged wife, Michelle, who no longer lives with him and who was suspected of financial aid fraud (early news reports characterized the purpose of the raid as being over Michelle’s delinquent student loans). According to Wright, he was awakened at 6 am by the sound of agents battering down his door and, upon descending the stairs, was immediately subdued by police. One neighbor actually witnessed the team of armed agents surround the house and, after forcing entry, they “dragged [Wright] out in his boxer shorts, threw him to the ground and handcuffed him.”

This is not the first time a SWAT team has been employed in non-violent scenarios. Nationwide, SWAT teams have been employed to address an astonishingly trivial array of criminal activity or mere community nuisances: angry dogs, domestic disputes, improper paperwork filed by an orchid farmer, and misdemeanor marijuana possession, to give a brief sampling. In some instances, SWAT teams are even employed, in full armament, to perform routine patrols.

There is hardly any way to read this without thinking excessive firepower was being employed. An Internet search for additional information produced scant results. One item may bring clarification:

In a statement to FoxNews.com, Education Department Press Secretary Justin Hamilton confirmed that its Office of Inspector General executed the warrant with the presence of local law enforcement authorities.

“While it was reported in local media that the search was related to a defaulted student loan, that is incorrect,” the statement read. “This is related to a criminal investigation. The Inspector General’s Office does not execute search warrants for late loan payments.”

Hamilton declined to comment on the specifics of the case, citing an ongoing investigation.

“We can say that the OIG’s office conducts about 30-35 search warrants a year on issues such as bribery, fraud, and embezzlement of federal student aid funds,” the statement continued.

At the very least, Anthony Wright has now become Kenneth Wright. It is also possible the case involves actual criminal activity. The book provides no additional clarification.

Regarding Congressman Hice’s keen interest regarding overbearing police action, my own brief Internet search found little to none regarding Congressman Hice and some recent instances:

  • The killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri
  • The killing of Tamir Rice in Cleveland, Ohio
  • The death of Freddie Gray in police custody in Baltimore, Maryland
  • The death of Eric Garner while being arrested by Staten Island police
  • The bizarre arrest and death of Sandra Bland in Texas

A later book, perhaps.

Coming next, Chapter Eight, “Parental Rights Vs. Guardian Government.” There should be something here of interest to everybody.

Keep reading. And may Jesus have mercy on your soul.

One thought on “Not Now, Jody

  1. Pingback: Not Now, Jody | Skeptical Analysis

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