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Join the conversation! There are now 46 comments on “Police vs Privacy pg 86
    • Also I guess Jake was still annoyed she pointed them to the trunk.

      But that aside, doesn’t the (extremely poor attempt at) disposal of evidence make her an accessory after the fact anyway?

      • Ah, I’d thought (wrongly) that they had to let that go. So even though the kids acted suspiciously (asking about the trunk), the police couldn’t count that as probable cause and search it, but instead had to get a dog to gain that probable cause for searching. And they had to do this in a limited time frame, I recall?

        So the “best” course of action for a criminal–not that I’m trying to be one–is to act casually, hide stuff far away, and refuse search requests?

    • Though the look on the female officer’s face seems to say of Patty, “I don’t think you’re guilty, but at this point I don’t really have the option of letting you go either.”

  1. Buddha Buck says

    Keeping his mouth shut may be the first smart think Jake has done this whole encounter.

    It’s possible Patty could be let go without being charged, but I’m not surprised she was arrested. There’s probable cause to believe she was involved, and letting her go on would make it that much harder to get her if she’s further implicated.

    • Yeah, you can be arrested and then not charged – arrested doesn’t mean “you did it”, but “we have probable cause to believe you did something”, which they have in spades.

      Guess she’s not going to be able to start that new job though…

      • Dammit, I thought I had canceled submission when I wanted to rewrite my comment. How embarrassing.

      • Wait, how can you be arrested and then NOT charged? Isn’t the entire point of being arrested to be charged with something? Otherwise, they’d just have to let her go once she was in jail for a few hours, correct?

        • We’ll cover this later, but an arrest is not the same as being charged. A prosecutor will have to determine whether you actually committed a crime, whether it can be proven, and whether prosecuting you for it would be the right thing to do. Only then will formal charges be brought in court. We’ll go over all this in the advanced crim pro sections.

    • Yeah, the circumstances here are just way too suspicious for them to let her off the hook. Guess she’s not going to be able to start that new job. And now we see what it takes to get her to swear. :(

  2. Jeff says

    Also, the star vanished from Patty’s shirt. Again. >.>

  3. Jason says

    Man. This unmade my day.

  4. pingo1387 says

    Last panel: There goes her no-swearing streak.

  5. Icalasari says

    Dammit I’m caught up with the comic =/

    I’ve learned a lot about American law through this. Sadly, I’m Canadian, but aren’t our legal systems similar, for the most part?

    • Well, while you guys are common law (Except Quebec?), you don’t have the bill of rights and a lot of the case law that Nathan is drawing from here is based on the 4th Amendment.

      • Technically, the Canadian “bill of rights” is enshrined in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which was only enacted just over 30 years ago. (It was something the government decided to not publicly celebrate, preferring to go for the War of 1812).

        However, there are many notable differences – first of which is there’s no equivalent to the 2nd Amendment (Right to Bear Arms). In addition, the Charter is not absolute – there exists an “escape clause” (aka notwithstanding clause) that does allow for (limited) infringement of rights enshrined in it.

        It’s how Quebec gets to enforce its language laws despite freedom of speech.

  6. Stevekl says

    So is there nothing patty could have done to avoid being arrested?

      • Biscuits, no, pingo! If there’s one lesson not to learn here it’s “tell the cops your buddy had drugz” – that just gives them probable cause. And I don’t know why you’re suggesting she abetted Jake, she did nothing of the sort.

    • Not reminded the cops about the trunk in a short enough time that they could have gotten a dog to search the trunk, and had a discussion with Jake upon entering the car about the drugs (ex. if the drugs had been in the suitcase with all the rest, then he would not have felt compelled to ditch them, and the cops would have had no reason to arrest them for anything).

  7. Shayne says

    Doesn’t her comment about ‘good thing all y’all aren’t allowed to look in the trunk’ kinda prove that she knew something untoward was in the trunk?

  8. wow says

    That is really messed up.

    History will view this with horror.

  9. Ben says

    And this kids is why you never pick up hitch-hikers or go on cross country trips with people who might be carrying drugs around.

    I will note however that drug sniffing dogs are a real pain when you bought your car at a police auction and need to travel from Texas to Arizona. There is nothing to find because I am squeaky clean, but now I know what the person who originally owned my car did for a living.

  10. Karen says

    Law lessons aside, I really, really hope you’ll re-introduce Patty again somewhere. Of all the enthralling players you’ve introduced us to, I so want her to have a happy ending.
    Pretty please?

  11. Vu says

    I need the full vocabulary list for this girl’s exclamation words.

  12. Legion says

    You put my waifu in prison.
    You…MONSTER!

  13. John says

    It’s been my (perhaps incorrect) understanding that a vehicle operator is 100% responsible for the contents of the vehicle, just like you are responsible for knowing the laws of you’re country, state etc. It’s your job to make sure all passengers know there is no illegal activity allowed and to not let them in if they are going to anyway.

    • I’m not gonna say that sounds “right”, since the implication is that no prudent person would ever give anyone a lift without a virtual strip-search, but it’s probably correct as a matter of law.

  14. Kehcalb says

    You know, it’s two years later and this section still bothers me. I keep racking my brain for what she should have done differently, starting at the point where they first came into the stop. If you are pulling into a traffic stop and your passenger goes “well, shoot, I’m carrying , what SHOULD you have done. Would telling the officer as soon as they arrived been the right answer for her, legally? Playing it cool probably would have worked better, but clearly they didn’t have that particular skill….

    • Unfortunately, it’s possible to get arrested without doing anything wrong, because sometimes the cops just don’t know for sure, and we generally want them to arrest people who probably committed a crime (and then figure out for sure after we’ve made sure the suspect can’t run away). We don’t want real criminals to get away just because they’re good actors.

      Turning in Jake would probably have helped her, but if the cops still had reason to think the drugs might be hers (for instance, if Jake made a counter-accusation) I imagine she could still easily end up getting arrested while they sort it out.

      And I don’t think she was required to turn him in–an earlier chapter taught us “you don’t have a duty to police others.” Though doing so might protect her from being charged with conspiracy (and it’s plausible an observer would think she conspired with Jake, even if she actually didn’t).

  15. How the heck is this fair? Who cares what the law says In cases like these? If one or more people seem truly and completely innocent (such as the female officer suspects, I assume), can’t they just let them go? What’s fair about sending innocent people to jail? I really think there should be something like a “gut instinct” law, or something like that, that can be used in these kinds of situations where someone may possibly be innocent. I mean, think about it. If they let the person go, the police won’t have to worry about them anymore if they’re innocent. And if they’re guilty, they either won’t do it again due to deterrence, or there’s a good chance they’ll be caught again sometime later. And if they don’t get caught again later on, so what? It’s not like it’s possible to arrest everyone who’s ever committed a crime, anyway. Some criminals get away or are never found out; it’s a matter of fact.

    Sorry for this little rant, I just had to get this off of my chest.

    • While we once believed it was better for ten guilty men to go free than one innocent man end up in prison, cops are now financially rewarded for arrests, tickets, and theft of property (“civil asset forfeiture), a.k.a, we can’t prove YOU did something wrong, but the MONEY you’re carrying was OBVIOUSLY obtained through illegal means.” Examples are “Kentucky vs. $500.00”, though the amount varies. )

      Remember, kiddies, you can commit more crime and be protected, if you do it “legally.”

  16. Aieou says

    …I’m kind of confused. So, Jake wasn’t drunk, but she and/or he was smuggling weed and didn’t tell the other until they got pulled over?

    • Neither was drunk, he had enough weed to get into hot water, no poker face, and no awareness of what cops could do at a checkpoint. And after all that, he was “nice” enough to make his so-called friend look guilty by failing to tell the truth, that she knew nothing about it (and why not, he was already endangering her future by bringing the pot along, hardly the action of a friend).

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