Law Enforcement reality tv shows

180gROC

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So there's been a surge in various types of "Cops" type tv shows. Border Patrol, various agencies here and there, mostly far away from me, usually fairly entertaining as far as how stupid/bold criminals can be and such.

Today there's a show, I assume new, that is was more local to me. California game wardens are featured and it looks like they are up in the Tehama and Butte County areas. I've been stomping those grounds and cooperating with those wardens my whole life.

One thing came up in the show that made me wonder some things about what law enforcement can do when trying to find someone. A guy had failed to appear on a poaching charge and they showed up in force at his house, only he wasn't there. Room mates invited game wardens in to look around, and eventually the warden asked they room mate if he could text the guy to see where he was or when he's coming home. His initial question sounded like just that, a question. Asking a favor, per se. The guy agreed. Immediately the warden says, "But don't tell him the game wardens are here!"

You could see the guy hesitate, realizing what he was getting into. The warden followed up immediately with "Let me see that phone screen before you send anything!". That's when the room mate protested, bringing up the fact that finding this guy was not his responsibility, it was their job.

So over the next couple minutes they basically set this guy up. When the wardens were leaving they got firm with the guy again and said if he warns his friend they are coming they will come back and arrest him on such and such charge. He added that he would be checking the perps phone to see if he needed to come back and make another arrest.

So... should the guy have just flat refused to help by texting in the first place? How does asking for help turn into watch out or I'll arrest you? I'm all for game wardens and law enforcement in general, and against poachers and bad guys in general, but as a tactic of tracking down bad guys is this kind of manipulation of friends or acquaintances normal? It seemed like a trick the way the guy went from asking to demanding as soon as the guy agreed to help. Made me wonder how the warden would have reacted if the guy just said "no".
 

Cygnus X1

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Seems they would need another search warrant for use of telecom devices.
At least that's what I would BS them with.
Similar to a phone tap isn't it?

"Sorry, can't do it. Ain't gonna happen"...
 

180gROC

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The room mate was in a "sick of his shit" mentality when he first agreed to let them in for a search and to text the guy.

You could see his mentality change when he realized he was kinda being strong armed and had pretty much stepped in shit with his room mate.
 

LongBeach

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He should have refused.

I like Coastwatch, that's about it.
 

180gROC

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He should have refused.

I like Coastwatch, that's about it.

My first gut reaction when the warden asked was "Sure, if I can be straight up with him about why I'm asking where he's at"

"I can't? then no... "

The room mate did protest, but didn't stand firm. The story goes he was involved in the same poaching charge his room mate was, but didn't fail to appear and was in the middle of the judicial process himself. The wardens had enough leverage to pressure the guy a bit I guess.

I feel he still should have refused.
 

Caleb

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In a lot of circles, that would be considered effective police work. The warden asked consent, the guy gave it, the guy then started to waffle, the warden got a little firm (without force, mind you), the guy changed his mind and cooperated, the bad guy went to jail, the roommate is still a free man.

The street isn't a courtroom, and probable cause for arrest isn't the same standard as proof beyond a reasonable doubt for conviction.

That being said, I realize that there are other circles here and in the world who would consider the above situation an example of a fascist police state ruled with an iron fist by a modern day gestapo. So I guess opinions may vary.
 

Blackie

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Just waterboard the roomate.........thats legal now right ?
 

floyd84

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I don't know California law, but here in New Jersey, not cooperating is called Obstruction of the Administration of Law.I'm sure they must have something similar. I see it used alot. Here's the specific statute:

NJSA 2C:29-1. Obstructing administration of law or other governmental function

a. A person commits an offense if he purposely obstructs, impairs or perverts the administration of law or other governmental function or prevents or attempts to prevent a public servant from lawfully performing an official function by means of flight, intimidation, force, violence, or physical interference or obstacle, or by means of any independently unlawful act. This section does not apply to failure to perform a legal duty other than an official duty, or any other means of avoiding compliance with law without affirmative interference with governmental functions.

b. An offense under this section is a crime of the fourth degree if the actor obstructs the detection or investigation of a crime or the prosecution of a person for a crime, otherwise it is a disorderly persons offense.
 

Blackie

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............lawfully performing an official function...........

The police can not make you call anyone.
 

Thumpalumpacus

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I don't think that law would cover this incident. Denying someone the use of one's texting service is not "means of flight, intimidation, force, violence, or physical interference or obstacle, or by means of any independently unlawful act."

Also, he should have said no right off the bat.
 

RossingtonLP

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its a case of...... "if you done nothing wrong........ you ain't nothing to be scared of!"
 

floyd84

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............lawfully performing an official function...........

The police can not make you call anyone.

Texting your friend that the cops are looking for you, or telling them not to come around does constitue preventing "a public servant from lawfully performing an official function ". I can see how advising the guy not to alert his friend of their presence isn't meant to be an order (lawful or otherwise), but just good advice, so that he doesn't get hung up. Maybe they're only trying to get their intended subject and not get anyone else in trouble. That's all I'm saying
 

Thumpalumpacus

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Texting your friend that the cops are looking for you, or telling them not to come around does constitue preventing "a public servant from lawfully performing an official function ".

Those are both active measures. There's nothing to say that he cannot simply passively refuse to send a text. There is no duty to assist law enforcement in such a manner.
 

Blackie

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Texting your friend that the cops are looking for you, or telling them not to come around does constitue preventing "a public servant from lawfully performing an official function ". I can see how advising the guy not to alert his friend of their presence isn't meant to be an order (lawful or otherwise), but just good advice, so that he doesn't get hung up. Maybe they're only trying to get their intended subject and not get anyone else in trouble. That's all I'm saying

No........where is Dice at...............
 

180gROC

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I'm not going so far as to say the wardens were being fascist. They were invited in and allowed to search. They didn't have a search warrent so they needed cooperation for that. Nothing incriminating was found on the premises, dude just wasn't home.

I was a bit taken aback by how quickly the officers tone changed from asking to threatening.

The room mate has more than the guys arrest warrant to worry about. He was right. That is NOT his job, it's the game wardens. If they are friends, they may not be anymore after the police used the guys phone to set his buddy up. He could have left them on the porch and talked through the latch. Probably should have.

Like I said, I have nothing against law enforcement, and these guys are poachers, I'm not trying to defend them so much as just trying to resolve the sequence of events.
 

LongBeach

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The point I was going with is that he should have just played dumb.
He was probably intimidated and buckled.


My grandfather was with Fish & Game his entire life.
Poacher's are bad news.
 

floyd84

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Those are both active measures. There's nothing to say that he cannot simply passively refuse to send a text. There is no duty to assist law enforcement in such a manner.

And I never said that or implied it. I was specifically adressing what obstructing by means of a "heads up" was
 

KSG_Standard

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Just waterboard the roomate.........thats legal now right ?

Not if he's a United States citizen...And not since Obama signed an executive order prohibiting the practice.:thumb:

Isn't it legal for LEOs to use deception/lies, bullying and trickery during the course of their investigations and interrogations?
 

KSG_Standard

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I would imagine that being a game warden is one of the more dangerous LEO jobs...everybody they approach is armed and they are generally out in the woods where there are no witnesses. My hats off to Fish & Game officers.
 

floyd84

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Isn't it legal for LEOs to use deception/lies, bullying and trickery during the course of their investigations and interrogations?

Actually, yes :thumb: It's "providing false information to a Law Enforcement Officer" that's bad :D
 

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