Posted by: reformedmusings | April 14, 2009

When DHS knocks, shut up and call your lawyer

I never thought that I’d ever write a post like this. However, the events of the last few months, especially the shameful Missouri Intelligence Analysis Center report and the new Department of Homeland Security Report have given me serious pause. Both target Obama’s political opponents, those who take our 2nd, 9th, and 10th Amendments and our Declaration of Independence seriously. The wrong political choices, moral beliefs, or even military service now set you up to be profiled as a potential terrorist in the eyes of DHS. How long until these reports are used by other federal agencies, your state or local police? Days? Months? That’s anyone’s guess. If you are a U.S. veteran or political conservative or libertarian, or a serious Christian, it’s best to be prepared for when they come knocking.

Before we get to the details, have you ever heard of 18 U.S. Code, Section 1001? It’s a bit long and dense, but here’s a great summary by Solomon Wisenberg:

Title 18, United States Code, Section 1001 makes it a crime to: 1) knowingly and willfully; 2) make any materially false, fictitious or fraudulent statement or representation; 3) in any matter within the jurisdiction of the executive, legislative or judicial branch of the United States. Your lie does not even have to be made directly to an employee of the national government as long as it is “within the jurisdiction” of the ever expanding federal bureaucracy. Though the falsehood must be “material” this requirement is met if the statement has the “natural tendency to influence or [is] capable of influencing, the decision of the decisionmaking body to which it is addressed.” United States v. Gaudin, 515 U.S. 506, 510 (1995). (In other words, it is not necessary to show that your particular lie ever really influenced anyone.) Although you must know that your statement is false at the time you make it in order to be guilty of this crime, you do not have to know that lying to the government is a crime or even that the matter you are lying about is “within the jurisdiction” of a government agency. United States v. Yermian, 468 U.S. 63, 69 (1984). For example, if you lie to your employer on your time and attendance records and, unbeknownst to you, he submits your records, along with those of other employees, to the federal government pursuant to some regulatory duty, you could be criminally liable.

Please go to the link and read the whole article. The bottom line is that if you even unknowingly lie to a government agent, even indirectly, you could go to jail. Think that Martha Stewart went to jail for securities fraud? Nope. Her trades turned out to be legal. However, during the investigation, she apparently said something to federal investigators that wasn’t entirely true in the comprehensive scheme of things. Boom – go directly to jail, do not pass Go. And her lawyer was sitting right next to her during the interview in question. What chance do you think that you have? It’s a giant pit that you can hardly avoid unless you have comprehensive knowledge of all possible situations and the law. No human being has that kind of knowledge. Better to keep your mouth shut. That’s why the founders recognized our God-given right to keep our mouths shut in the 5th Amendment to our Constitution.

Professor James Duane of Regent Law School (a former defense attorney),  addressed a class on why you should never, never, never talk to the police without talking to a good lawyer first. Never ever. Ever. Really, ever. The address is outstanding, but a bit long (27 minutes). Trust me, it’s worth watching to the end:

In Part 2, veteran detective George Bruch of the Virginia Beach Police Department agrees with everything Professor Duane said and adds more great insights (21 mintues):

Honestly, I was shocked when I watched these lectures. I guess I’ve been incredibly naive. Bottom line: Nothing that you say to the cops can ever help you, so keep your mouth shut until you talk to a lawyer.

In this day and age when U.S. veterans and political and religious conservatives are being profiled by out-of-control DHS morons, who are federal agency morons under 18 U.S. Code, Section 1001, be prepared to keep your lips sealed. No matter how innocent you are, you cannot possibly know any situation comprehensively or know how your words will be reported and used by the cops. Know your rights and exercise them – just shut up.

Remember that you do not have to let the cops search anything. You do not have to talk to them. There is some succint advice on how to handle situations from ExpertLaw and Brain Cohoon, and a checklist here. Know your rights and exercise them.

Again, I’m saddened that I would ever feel compelled to write a post like this, but times are deteriorating rapidly in the U.S. I spent 30 years “supporting and defending the Constitution of the United States from all enemies, foreign and domestic.” Now I, along with my compatriots with whom I served, am being profiled as a potential terrorist by DHS. I pray that you never have to use the information provided, but you better cover that Ron Paul bumper sticker with something innocuous – like an Wahhabi Islamic one. They won’t dare profile you with one of those. Strange times…

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