Friday, September 6, 2019

#TXLEGE: Greg Abbott Don't Need No Stinkin' Bill of Rights

"You shall do no injustice in judgment. You shall not be partial to the poor, nor honor the person of the mighty. In righteousness you shall judge your neighbor."
Leviticus 19:15

That's not good:
  • Order No. 1 Within thirty days of this order, the Texas Department of Public Safety shall develop standardized intake questions that can be used by all Texas law enforcement agencies to better identify whether a person calling the agency has information that should be reported to the Texas Suspicious Activity Reporting Network.
  • Order No. 2 Within thirty days of this order, the Department of Public Safety shall develop clear guidance, based on the appropriate legal standard, for when and how Texas law-enforcement agencies should submit Suspicious Activity Reports.
  • Order No. 3 Within sixty days of this order, the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement shall make training available to educate all law-enforcement officers regarding the standards that will be developed pursuant to Order No. 1 and Order No. 2.
  • Order No. 4 The Department of Public Safety shall create and conduct an initiative to raise public awareness and understanding of how Suspicious Activity Reports are used by law-enforcement agencies to identify potential mass shooters or terroristic threats, so that the general public and friends, family members, coworkers, neighbors, and classmates will be more likely to report information about potential gunmen.
  • Order No. 5 The Department of Public Safety shall work with the Texas Education Agency and the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board on ways to better inform schools, students, staff, and families about the importance of Suspicious Activity Reports and how to initiate that process.
  • Order No. 6 The Department of Public Safety shall work with local law enforcement, mental-health professionals, school districts, and others to create multidisciplinary threat assessment teams for each of its regions, and when appropriate shall coordinate with federal partners.
  • Order No. 7 The Department of Public Safety, as well as the Office of the Governor, shall use all available resources to increase staff at all fusion centers in Texas for the purpose of better collecting and responding to Suspicious Activity Reports, and better monitoring and analyzing social media and other online forums, for potential threats.
  • Order No. 8 Beginning January 1, 2020, all future grant awards from the Office of the Governor to counties shall require a commitment that the county will report at least 90 percent of convictions within seven business days to the Criminal Justice Information System at the Department of Public Safety. By January 1, 2021, such reporting must take place within five business days.

"Suspicious activity reporting," "multidisciplinary threat assessment teams," and "fusion centers."  It doesn't take a genius to see how this goes horribly, horribly, wrong.  Greg Abbott should party with George Orwell.

[Note: You can learn why so-called 'fusion centers' are bad, bad, bad, bad, bad news here; likewise 'multidisciplinary threat assessment teams' here.]

There's been a lot of commentary about how Greg Abbott's actions will impact the Second Amendment.  That's certainly appropriate.  However, the truth is that the long term impact remains to be seen.

That being said, we don't have to speculate how Greg Abbott's actions will impact other parts of the Bill of Rights.

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.
The Fifth:
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.
The Sixth:
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.
[Note: Emphasis added.]

Go back an re-read Greg Abbott's executive orders.

Do you see the phrase "probable cause"?!?

Neither do we.

How about "indictment" or "due process of law"?!?


"[I]nformed of the nature and cause of the accusation," "confronted with the witnesses against him," or "assistance of counsel?!?


Furthermore, remember that these new powers the office of the Governor just assumed for itself will remain on the books long after Greg Abbott departs.

Bottom Line: While the long-term impact on the Second Amendment remains to be seen, the Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Amendments are already toast.

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