Friday, February 20, 2015

Authorities storm Bryan VFW to photograph, fingerprint and DNA swab secessionist group

At a VFW hall in Bryan, reported Zeke MacCormack at the SA Express News (Feb. 19), the Kerr County Sheriff along with the "FBI, the Texas Attorney General’s office, Bryan police and Brazos County deputies" raided a VFW Hall where sixty members of the Republic of Texas were holding a meeting, ostensibly because two of them allegedly committed document fraud, though "No one was arrested and no charges have been filed."

Anyone who's followed the Republic of Texas' antics wouldn't doubt some of their members issued phony liens, writs or summonses. It's sort of their thing.

Rather than focus on the particular offenders, though, "officers photographed, fingerprinted and confiscated belongings of numerous members even though only two are accused of wrongdoing," and are "are examining computers, phones and other items seized" from the group. Here's a bit more detail on the search warrant:
A sworn affidavit filed by Kerr County deputy Jeff McCoy in support of the search warrant alleges that Cammack, 53, and Kroupa, 59, committed the misdemeanor of simulating legal process. ...
If charges are brought in the case, they could be filed in Kerr County or Brazos County, said Assistant Kerr County Attorney Ilse Bailey.

The search warrant issued Feb. 12 by state District Judge Keith Williams authorized collection of fingerprints, photos and DNA swabs from those at the VFW hall to prevent anyone from providing a false identity to authorities.

It also authorized officers to seize computers, cell phones and paper documents “relevant to, or which describe criminal conduct or suspected criminal activity.”
Detaining, photographing, fingerprinting and swabbing members of a political group because they attended a meeting is a lot different from investigating wrongdoing by individuals. I've no problems with investigating these misdemeanor document fraud cases (though I'm surprised it would require the FBI to do it), but as described that seems like an awfully sweeping warrant.

My advice to authorities would be: Don't overreach and make martyrs of a bunch of kooks. Prosecute the ones who commit crimes but leave the rest of them free to believe whatever false, nutty, nonsensical silliness they want. Judge Williams may be fed up with the Republic of Texas' courthouse antics, but he'll hand them an unintended public relations victory if the mailed fist of justice fails to distinguish suffciently between villains and fools.

Correction: This post originally said the VFW hall in question was in Kerrville. The search warrant affidavit was filed in Kerr County but the actual raid was in Bryan. Sorry for any confusion.


Anonymous said...

How can DNA be used to identify someone unless you already have their DNA to compare it to? The only way I can think of this could be used to verify their identity is if they happened to have been convicted of a felony and their DNA have been entered in the database. This sure seems like a huge Fourth Amendment violation. The warrant was pretty close to a "general warrant" which was the practice that led to the creation of the Fourth Amendment.

Anonymous said...

Additionally, the reasoning of preventing them from giving a false identity is problematic. First, they don't have to identify themselves at all. Second, a search warrant is issued to find evidence of a crime already committed, not to prevent one that may be committed.

Anonymous said...

If this is an overreach (and it looks like it most certainly is). Not to worry, the feds will make it so it will no longer appear as an overreach. It's sort of their thing.

Anonymous said...

This is looking like a little "tit for tat" exercise. I personally feel the secessionist are "kooks" but the State overreaches their authority on a regular basis whether by the local policing policies, the child welfare investigators or the department of Probation and Parole...why are we surprised at the violation of any constitutional rights in this State?

The rest of this country would be better off if we were to allow the crazies to secede, build a "border fence" around the entire state and keep all the kooks in...then perhaps we can keep the lunacy from infecting the rest of the nation.

Anonymous said...

Those that are sworn to defend the constitution make a mockery of it by such tactics. Like all agents of the State, they are above the law they claim to represent. When that is the case, there is tyranny.

Anonymous said...

Isn't this precisely the kind of governmental overreach that plays right into the delusional systems of these folks? What an incredibly stupid - as well as probably unconstitutional - make-work project for the uniformed Boys with Toys.

On another note, as a criminal defense lawyer, every so often I encounter a client from one of these sorts of groups who wants to run their defense on the theory that the courts are not "real" courts, that the Uniform Commercial Code trumps other law, and other wacky propositions that the secessionist/militia types come up with. No amount of patient explanation will convince these clients that their "defenses" are ludicrous and will never prevail, and down they go, sometimes for very long periods of time ... Tragic.

Anonymous said...

Indeed, any defense that does not rely on case law is going to fail. Legal defense using principles of liberty envisioned by those that rebelled against British have been thoroughly undercut.

As Tacitus wrote in the first century AD, "The more corrupt the State, the more laws there are."..Selective application of the law gives the powerful control over the population. Which becomes the real purpose of the State.

Exploitation and pacification of the population by powerful special interests is achieved via the illusion that an individual, or even a large consensus of the population actually has a say in their fate. The don't.

Although the powerful may find it convenient to "give" the population something, it is on the terms of the rulers : it is as supplicants. The general population is ruled, not governed let alone self governed.

Anonymous said...

Note to Citizens of Bryan: You can cut your Police budget by 1/3 with no threat to public safety.

Anonymous said...

Next thing we'll be condoning is the simultaneous raiding of Deny's where they swab & doc those cray ass AARP folks. I can't wait for them to finally put a stop to them old crusty mofos taking advantage of senior citizen discounts and trying to pass off invalid coupons. The Republic of Geriatrics must be stopped if we are going to get a handle on senior citizen corruption. Plus, how long did they think they can get away with only tipping with change. The hard part is trying to Get 'em before they get to their Bus, who knows where they'll abscond to.

You don't need a goddamn warrant in Texas when you got - a Judge (Keith Williams), an Attorney General (Dan Patrick), the Kerr County Sheriff (name goes here) and his Deputies (Jeff McCoy) in your pocket.

Yep, it's condoning if you learn about a wrong, perform ample vetting and confirm it's a blatant in your face wrong, and decide to do nothing about it (all because the victims of the wrong wore black and were left handed).