Friday, August 10, 2012

My Night in Jail: Update

I need to add a couple more details to my arrest the other night at some other people's suggestion.

I managed to wind up going out the door of our house bleeding from the lip. The deputy asked about the blood, and I told him I'd probably bit my lip because I was so angry. I didn't then and don't now remember how I got the cut. However, it turns out I couldn't have bit my lip. I tried to reach the cut with my teeth the next day, and I can't. It's too far down from my lower lip.

My wife noticed it the next morning because I still had a little blood caked in my goatee. I didn't dare clean up the cut in the filthy sink they offered me, and there wasn't any soap anyway. I didn't even want to touch the push-button spigot.

Okay, those details being added, here's what I hope will happen. I expect to write a letter to the editor, or get my story published in the local papers. My goal is that:
  • McNairy County puts procedures in place to double check warrants before they are issued.
  • That citizens are guaranteed at least a phone call, if not a visit, during the day when court and lawyer's offices are open, before a warrant is issue in the middle of the night.
  • That jail cells are cleaned between prisoners.
I've always been frustrated by the use of laws to prevent government workers from being allowed to do any thinking on their own. Any thinking person would have recognized that a potential death sentence--which is what locking me in a jail cell filthier than most gas station bathrooms was--is inappropriate punishment for putting a few drops of milk on a deputy who was unlawfully seizing my son from my house in the middle of the night.

I say "any thinking person" because as soon as a person allowed by the law to think came in, I was released.

If the deputies were allowed to think rather than being obligated to serve an obviously incorrect warrant, none of this would have happened, even with the poor record keeping of our small county. I don't even mind the poor record keeping. I'd rather live in a small, friendly county than in a big, computer-efficient county (where even less thinking by underlings is allowed).

However, if your record keeping is going to be poor, you have to give leeway to your officers to be lenient when leniency is obviously the wisest choice. Remember, there was no crime! This was a clerical error on the part of McNairy County for which they were unreasonably breaking into our house and seizing my son after 11:00 at night!

We speak of "unlawful" search and seizure, but the Constitution of the United States uses the word "unreasonable." The fourth amendment says this:
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
This seizure may have been "lawful," but it was not reasonable.

Think about this. The founding fathers wanted us to be "secure in [our] persons, houses, papers, and effects." I don't think they meant, "As long as some judge somewhere says 'Go ahead and seize them or their property' then that will constitute lawful, reasonable seizure. However, if the judge fails to sign his name, that is unlawful."

No, the founding fathers, in trying to protect us from the government, weren't concerned about whether the government stopped for 25 seconds and signed a paper. They were concerned that the government would break into people's houses, with or without a warrant, for no good reason--"unreasonably."

All of this could have been avoided with a phone call during business hours.

As an important side note, my daughter is visiting friends and my brother out in California. I count it very fortunate that my wife was staying overnight in Nashville, so she could bring Janelle to the airport at 4:00 a.m.

One more note: The police drove my son and I, handcuffed and without seat belts, about five miles on two highways at 90 mph and a little over without turning on their police lights or siren. My son and I both read that off the speedometer; that's not a guess. Isn't that reckless endangerment or something? It's certainly a severe traffic violation.

I was told by a friend they passed on the way to my house that they flew by her, and she was driving 70 when they passed. Again, no lights or siren. Another friend gave them directions to my house and was so shaken up by the deputy's attitude that he has written up a description of the encounter. This was before they made it to my house. I just found out about that today.

Okay, I have that all written down. I'm done complaining now. Time to go back to gladness, getting well, and getting this to the people that matter!


  1. It's sad to say that the constitution is about as usefull now as that tp you were deprived of. I had the vehicle I was riding in searched by our co. Drug enforcement officers. They pulled us over because the vehicle was registered to a person with a Mexican name. They gave us the option to wait for them to get a warrant or let them search and then let us go IF the vehicle was clean. It took 15min. They had no probable cause. That's not needed any more. Welcome to the police state of the 21st century.

  2. Well, you can settle for that if you want, but I'm not going to. If this were a matter of Christian persecution, then I would just rejoice in the persecution. If it is a matter of mistreatment of McNairy County citizens, I'm doing something about it if I can.

  3. I'm sorry this happened to you. Truly. However, a lot of this would have been avoided if you did not loose your temper. The officer had no choice but to arrest you. He did not know what aggressive actions you would do next. I'm sure they deal with a LOT of aggressive people. As for the meds, if they were not in the was he to know what they were, especially here in McNairy!
    This is a tool that God is using to deal with you. Maybe God is dealing with your bad temper. Maybe something hidden, I don't know. But I would thank God for this situation, and Him dealing with YOU, rather than finding fault with everyone else.

  4. To all: I read these last two blog posts again, certain that I'd specifically said that I do not blame the officers for arresting me. I deserved the arrest. It was my son's arrest that I'm objecting to, not mine. I'm also objecting to the filth of the cell.

    It turns out I did not specifically say that, however, so let me say it now. From the moment I was arrested, I was never angry with the officers for arresting *me*. They were completely justified in arresting me. It was my son they unreasonably seized, not me.

    As for learning a lesson, I have a lot more to learn than just to control my temper. Being exhausted from a long year and a very tough week, I let my guard down. I was not alert nor aware of the spiritual battle that we are a part of, and I let our spiritual enemy get the better of me.

    As for the medications, the sheriff's department took a list of all the medications I'm on, by name, when they booked me, then promised to show them to the nurse. They knew my situation and my depressed immune system.

    I couldn't give them the bottles because the deputies didn't let me get anything but my flip flops (recommended to me over shoes because I could keep them in the cell) when they left.

    Finally, I can't agree that the officers had "no choice." I do not believe they felt threatened by me; I just made them angry (again, justifiably so; I am not complaining about *my* arrest, just my son''s).