Friday, February 4, 2011

Open-faced sandwich, anyone?

As I was perusing the blawgosphere this morning, I came across an interesting piece written by Scott Greenfield about the era Scott refers to as the Dropsy Days.
Dropsy was when a police officer merely approached a person, without any questions or commands, and, inexplicably, the person would let a package whose contents were unknown fall from his hands to the ground.  He would drop it.  By doing so, he abandoned it, thus removing it from the purview of the warrant clause, whether state or federal.
The officer would then reach down, having seen the "thing" fall from the person's hand to the ground, and pick it up.  He would look at it.  He would know, based on his training and experience, that it contained contraband.  He would seize the package, and the person who inexplicably abandoned it on the ground.  
This happened in case after case, defendant after defendant, day after day.  It was incredible!  Didn't these criminals ever learn?
Down here in these parts the days of suspects conveniently dropping their dope has been replaced with suspects conveniently leaving their dope out in plain view either in the front seat of their car or on the floorboard.

Here are a few examples from actual offense reports:
"I returned to the driver's side of the Ford to try and located [sic] any insurance paperwork, at which time I observed a small beige piece of rock lying on the floorboard between the driver's door and the driver's seat."
"Officer S---- advised he observed two loose beige colored rocks to be on the floor board between the driver seat and the driver door, in plain view as the driver door was ajar."
"During an over view of the interior of the [vehicle], I saw a small off white rock like substance I believe to be crack/cocaine on the passenger side floor board in plain view."
"As I opened the back left passenger door, I immediately observed a small beige colored rock lying in plain view, on the left rear seat cushion."
Of course everyone gives verbal consent to search their car. The officer is never searching the vehicle, he's conducting an inventory of the contents of the car. And there's always a reason for stopping the driver -- usually something along the lines of he failed to signal his intent to turn at least 100 feet prior to turning. (That's an actual traffic offense in Texas.)

Dropsy is dead! Long live Dropsy!

1 comment:

Klina Hooper said...

I know what you mean. Recently my cousin and I were pulled over for that exact reason. When asked how to visually measure 100ft, the officer said "I don't know, several car lengths." We now carry camcorders with us whenever we drive in BRIDGEPORT, TX, County of Wise. Sure can't wait till next time...