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John A. Steakely

Attorney John Steakley is a 1996 graduate of the University of Tennessee College of Law. He began his career as the Special Prosecutor for Drug Crimes for a multi-county, multi-agency drug task force in Tennessee, where he represented the State of Tennessee in thousands of felony and misdemeanor cases in a 5-county judicial district.

Unconstitutional Roadblocks in Adairsville?

Unconstitutional Roadblocks in Adairsville?

Adairsville PD Checkpoint Nets Nine Arrests (The Daily Tribune News

The United States Supreme Court has made clear that randomly stopping innocent people doing nothing wrong is unconstitutional: 

 

"We have never approved a checkpoint program whose primary purpose was to detect evidence of ordinary criminal wrongdoing. Rather, our checkpoint cases have recognized only limited exceptions to the general rule that a seizure must be accompanied by some measure of individualized suspicion. We suggested in [Delaware v. Prouse, 440 U.S. 648 (1979)] that we would not credit the "general interest in crime control" as justification for a regime of suspicionless stops. Consistent with this suggestion, each of the checkpoint programs that we have approved was designed primarily to serve purposes closely related to . . . roadway safety."  Strickland v. Georgia, 265 Ga. App. 533 (2004) quoting City of Indianapolis v. Edmond, 531 U.S. 32, 41-42, 121 S.Ct. 447, 148 L.Ed.2d 333 (2000). (Emphasis added)

But then here comes the Adairsville PD.  From the article:   

Adairsville Police Department established highway safety checkpoints Saturday around the city after several entering auto reports in the areas of Kuhlman and Lawrence streets.  The checkpoints were conducted in an effort to reduce crime and apprehend criminals, according to an APD press release.

In other words, members of "law enforcement" aren't enforcing the laws they don't like, such as the ones that say roadblocks (or "checkpoints") have to be for a specific purpose related to roadway safety.  Now, everyone in this line of work knows that almost every roadblock is really for the purpose of general crime, not roadway safety.  (That's why these "roadway safety checkpoints" often have a drug dog at the scene.)  But the police are always smart enough to lie and say that they are just out there looking for traffic violations. 

Except in Adairsville.

I wish a couple of these people would call and hire me.  We could have some fun up in Adairsville. 

UPDATE:  I had to get my fun elsewhere.  On Monday, October 21, 2013, the Georgia Supreme Court issued opinions in Brown v. State, S12G1287 and Williams v. State, S13G0178Brown was my case out of Cobb County and Williams was a case out of Bibb County.   Both were unanimous decisions finding these particular roadblocks to be unconstitutional, for different reasons.  Based on them, I think most of those people in the Adairsville roadblock could have avoided permanent felony convictions.

-John

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