Colo. Supreme Court Rules Search of iPhone Required a Warrant

The Aspen Daily News reports that Aspen resident Devin Schutter won his challenge to the police search of his iPhone in the Colorado Supreme Court.

The Colorado Supreme Court on Monday upheld by a 6-1 vote the suppression of evidence against a man accused of selling cocaine, saying Aspen police exceeded “permissible limits” in trying to identify who owned a cell phone.

...In their ruling, the state justices said the “district court found that Schutter had not abandoned the iPhone, and even assuming it could be characterized as lost or mislaid property, the police invaded Schutter’s reasonable expectation of privacy in the contents of his phone without a search warrant or an appropriate exception to the Fourth Amendment warrant requirement.”

Devin had left the phone in the restroom of a gas station, along with the key to the bathroom. The door locked when he exited. He asked the clerk to retrieve it, but the clerk said he was busy. About an hour later, a cop came into the store and the clerk turned the phone over to him. The officer then answered the phone when it rang, and somene asked for Dev, whom they figured was Devin Shutter. Devin was already in their cross-hairs for allegedly selling cocaine.

When Devin went to the police station seeking the return of his phone, the police refused to give it to him. Then they searched through the text messages and calls, and based on that data, got a search warrant for Devin's mother's residence, where they discovered drugs. (Devin had been staying at his mother's home.) [More...]

The trial court suppressed the information police obtained from the phone and the search of his mother's house. The State appealed. The Supreme Court upheld the suppression order entered by the trial court:

But because the device could not be fairly characterized as abandoned, lost or mislaid, “the warrantless examination of its contents amounted to an unconstitutional search,” says the high court ruling; it was written for the majority by Associate Justice Nathan Coats. “The order of the district court is therefore affirmed.”

The warrant used to search the home of Schutter’s mother “relied on information discovered during an examination of his text messages, the probable cause and warrant for which relied, in turn, on several text messages read during [the] even earlier warrantless inspection of his phone,” Coats wrote.

The state argued on appeal that the court:

[should] adopt the view that an otherwise reasonable expectation of privacy in personal property is diminished when that property is lost or mislaid because it is only reasonable to expect that an officer coming into possession of the property will examine it to learn how it can be returned to its owner,”

The problem, as the Colorado Supreme Court held, was that the phone was neither lost or abandoned.

It cites as undisputed fact that Schutter’s iPhone wasn’t lost, abandoned or mislaid “such that the Aspen police would have had any cause to identify the owner to return it.

“Whether or not he knew the defendant’s name, Officer Burg was aware from the moment the iPhone came into his possession that the defendant inadvertently left it in the store’s locked restroom and knew precisely where it was” because that is what the clerk told the officer, the ruling said. “Officer Burg also testified that it was 4:20 in the morning, and at that time, the defendant had been gone from the store for at most an hour. Under these circumstances, the officer had no grounds to believe the property’s safe return required the discovery of any further information.”

The dissenter in the case, no surprise, was Allison Eid, married to former Colorado U.S. Attorney Troy Eid.

While this is a big win, Devin is not out of the woods yet.

While Schutter still faces several other charges in Pitkin County, the cocaine distribution and possession allegations, along with that of being a habitual offender, carried the most ramifications. At one point he was facing more than 200 years in state prison.

The Aspen Police are not the same as the Pitkin County Sheriffs. They are far more pro-active than the Sheriffs, particularly in drug crimes.

The bottom line, from the opinion:

Because the iPhone in question could not be fairly characterized as abandoned, lost, or mislaid under the circumstances of this case, the warrantless examination of its contents amounted to an unconstitutional search.

My view: Kudos to Devin, and his lawyer Kevin McGreevy for fighting this to the top. [Disclosure: I represented Devin's brother Stefan ten years ago in two cases in Aspen, so I am well acquainted with the family.)

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    Totally Off Topic (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by ScottW714 on Wed Mar 30, 2011 at 09:20:04 AM EST
    What is this, Train Spotting, who in the H sets their phone down in a public restroom, but much less a gas station can ?  It's creeping me put out just thinking about the filth and it's proximity to ones mouth and ears.

    slightly more off topic (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by CST on Wed Mar 30, 2011 at 09:46:49 AM EST
    I left my phone on the trunk of the car I was driving yesterday.  Drove about 15 minutes down fairly windy roads with it sitting on the trunk, got out of the car and it was still there, intact.

    People leave things in all sorts of places.  In my case I was searching my purse for my car keys and set down my phone which I forgot to put back.

    While I don't think my phone would send me to jail, I sure am glad no one was reading my text messages.


    If you have an iPhone (5.00 / 1) (#21)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Mar 30, 2011 at 10:35:55 AM EST
    you should lock it so that no one can access the info on it without the four digit code.  Also, should you lose it, with a $99 subscription to Mobile Me , you can log onto Mobile Me from a computer and erase the data on it. You can also find your phone if you don't know where you misplaced it. Considering that most people have personal information, including financial or other account information and email accounts on their phone (either directly or through apps) it's crazy not to do that even if you don't think the police would be interested in your info. Phones are a roadmap to your life these days and you should protect the information.

    In drug cases these days, wiretaps have become routine. They get your phone calls, your voicemails, your texts, your photos, your address book (contact) and more. Even if the person doesn't say something incriminating, they can put the story together by the pattern of calls, particularly when coupled with cell site locator info and/or physical surveillance. Even without a wiretap, just with a pen register/trap and trace, they get every number you dial and every number that dials you. With only a subpoena, they can then get the subscriber info for those numbers from the phone companies.

    You may not be committing a crime or under investigation but you don't know that people you call (your mechanic, co-worker, hairdresser, someone whose classified ad you are responding to, etc.) isn't. Once your number shows as connected to someone under investigation, the cops will seek more info to see whether you are a part of the criminal activity.

    Be smart and protect your data.


    Simply Not True (none / 0) (#31)
    by ScottW714 on Wed Mar 30, 2011 at 12:49:17 PM EST
    iPhones can easily be hacked with freeware.  And in my case, it occasionally gave me access (through my home network) before I entered the code.

    All you need is the phone's IP address which is the same for nearly all iPhones (must be on the same network), or plug it into the USB port with the right software.

    The reason being certain programs in which I either wanted the data to back-up on my hard drive and/or enter data on my computer to put on my phone.

    Trust me, if you take your phone to a phone dealer/repairer and tell them you lost your code, they will be in it in under a minute and hand it back to you without a code.  Can't imagine the cops not having this ability.

    Agreed about MobileMe, Android has Lookout which also contains a virus program, but no backup, but it's free.

    Both programs allow you track your phone down, reset the phone, or even flash something on the screen like "call me at __", wipe the memory, or even activate a loud whistle should your phone be lost in your home.  

    Side note, this function can also be used to track someone.  Toss your phone in a purse or under a car seat and you can track them on your PC, even record their movements.


    I password protect my phone (5.00 / 1) (#36)
    by CST on Wed Mar 30, 2011 at 01:13:19 PM EST
    but that's it.  Honestly, it's too much work/effort to be paranoid.

    1984 technology is here, but the effect is not.  There are too many mice for the cat to watch them all.

    I'm sure the more vigilant people who read this blog will heed your advice.  But I'm the type that likes to walk alone at night.


    I Went Through This.... (none / 0) (#37)
    by ScottW714 on Wed Mar 30, 2011 at 03:52:30 PM EST
    When my friends started getting iPhones.  I didn't want my last name and address in them, period.

    I lost the battle and eventually joined the other side.

    One phone can be linked to names and addresses which can be linked to the the phone(s) registered there and the whole web of certain activities can be traced nearly instantaneously.

    And don't even get me going on the whole GeoCoding on every pic in phones.  One can only hope these invasions of privacy will actually keep a couple of innocents out of jail.  No better alibi than a picture with the location stamp.

    It's the same love/hate relationship I have with the net and most girls I date.  The pros outweigh the cons, but the cons are still significant.


    I think we'd all be unpleasantly... (none / 0) (#16)
    by kdog on Wed Mar 30, 2011 at 10:05:29 AM EST
    surprised by how little the man would need to find in our phones to get us chained & caged up, should an official choose to target us.

    "Find me the man, I'll find the crime."
    - Lavrenti Beria

    LOL! (none / 0) (#12)
    by Zorba on Wed Mar 30, 2011 at 09:28:01 AM EST
    That's the first thing I though of, too!  

    This happened to a friend of mine (none / 0) (#13)
    by jbindc on Wed Mar 30, 2011 at 09:28:14 AM EST
    She went in the stall with her 4 day old iPhone.  Forgot it when she came out, but realized it when she was washing her hands.  In the meantime, a young woman went in the stall.  My friend waited for her to come out, but phone was gone.  Friend politely asked young woman if she picked up phone by mistake. Woman would not answer her and left restroom.  Friend followed and asked her again.  Again, woman barely looked at her and shook her head and left the restaurant with her friend.  My friend followed them out and started yelling that woman took her phone.  Woman fled.  Friend never got her phone back.  Cost her hundreds to replace 4-day old phone that was "mislaid" for all of 5 minutes.

    That Sucks (none / 0) (#32)
    by ScottW714 on Wed Mar 30, 2011 at 12:57:59 PM EST
    But still, did she set it down on the TP dispenser, the toilet, where do you set a phone down in a public bathroom stall ?

    I'm not a germaphobe, but I have a high respect for them.  Namely I don't want others germs, especially the restroom variety no where near my mouth or ears.

    I have never, ever set mu phone down in public restroom ever.


    you learn to live with the germs (none / 0) (#39)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Mar 30, 2011 at 07:06:55 PM EST
    Ever used a restroom at the jail when you have your purse or briefcase or files? You have to put them on the floor, filthy as they probably are. There usually isn't a hook on the door. And when you wash your hands, you have to put them down again, since the sinktops are usually wet with splattered water from the last user. Even if you don't need to use the restroom, it's a good idea to wash your hands when you leave. Better to have rid your hands of germs even if your possessions still have them.

    As for a phone, you could always put toilet paper on the floor and lay your phone on top of it.


    I have been fortunate enough (5.00 / 1) (#40)
    by Zorba on Wed Mar 30, 2011 at 07:17:40 PM EST
    not to have ever used a restroom at a jail.  I have, however, used restrooms of questionable cleanliness which lacked hooks for purses.  I always carry a shoulder bag (I prefer them), and I have been known to hook the strap of the purse over my neck while I (ahem) "do my business," in order to avoid putting my purse on the floor.  There is a reason that we have immune systems, and I'm certainly not a complete nut on germs, but why take a chance?   ;-)

    you are fortunate (5.00 / 1) (#41)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Mar 30, 2011 at 08:10:09 PM EST
    I drove an hour to a jail today, and was with my client for 3.5 hours. If I didn't use the restroom when I got there or left, I would have gone 5.5 hours, too long. I elected to use it in the reception area before I went down to the visiting block. Since I won't leave a jail without washing my hands, on the way out, I washed my hands with no place to put my things but the floor. I had a canvas bag holding a three ring binder, expandable file pockets with more documents, my calendar, my iPad and a pen. My purse was spared by putting it in the locker first (you can't take a purse or a phone into the visiting booths)although the locker probably has germs too.

    I've never gotten sick after visiting a jail or using a public restroom. Knock on wood.

    Places I'm much more concerned about: airplanes. Sitting a cabin with strangers you don't know (especially sick babies or children) who are coughing into the recirculated air. Now that's a germfest. Even putting your hand in the seatpocket in front of you or re-reading a magazine probably has germs.

    I guess I've just decided there are more important things to worry about. But I understand how you all feel.


    Airplanes are awful (5.00 / 1) (#48)
    by Zorba on Thu Mar 31, 2011 at 10:54:25 AM EST
    I swear, I get a cold just about every single time I fly.  Too many people, packed too closely together, breathing each others air.

    For what it is worse (none / 0) (#52)
    by nyjets on Thu Mar 31, 2011 at 06:13:38 PM EST
    Humans are constantly eating, breathing, and absorbing organism from our environment. I would lay good odds that, unless someone in the airplane is contagious, a plane is no more unsanitary than any other locations.

    Kudos to the Colo. Supreme Court (none / 0) (#1)
    by republicratitarian on Wed Mar 30, 2011 at 07:20:21 AM EST
    for getting this one right. Although it sounds like Mr Schutter has more on his plate to worry about. If he had password protected his phone it might have saved him some grief.

    What would be the definition of a mislaid phone?
    I can understand abandoned or lost, but I don't see how mislaid is different than lost?

    I could be wrong about this (none / 0) (#2)
    by jbindc on Wed Mar 30, 2011 at 07:37:19 AM EST
    But I think the fact that he knew where his phone was, he didn't intend to leave it there, and asked to get it back is what makes it "mislaid".  

    From what I can read above (none / 0) (#4)
    by republicratitarian on Wed Mar 30, 2011 at 08:15:03 AM EST
    it says the phone was not
    characterized as abandoned, lost, or mislaid under the circumstances of this case

    Your definition makes sense, but it wasn't considered mislaid. I'm trying to figure what differentiates mislaid from abandoned and lost.


    Try this as a starter (none / 0) (#5)
    by jbindc on Wed Mar 30, 2011 at 08:55:42 AM EST
    Got it, thanks (none / 0) (#17)
    by republicratitarian on Wed Mar 30, 2011 at 10:10:09 AM EST
    With so much of the law... (none / 0) (#3)
    by kdog on Wed Mar 30, 2011 at 08:02:42 AM EST
    working against us instead of for us, stupid lazy cops might be our lone saving grace...as long as we still have courts with a healthy respect for individual rights, as displayed here by the CO S.C.

    6-1..not even 4-3...I like it.

    I Doubt the SCUTUS Would Agree. (none / 0) (#6)
    by ScottW714 on Wed Mar 30, 2011 at 09:06:15 AM EST
    I wonder why he did this? (none / 0) (#7)
    by jimakaPPJ on Wed Mar 30, 2011 at 09:07:41 AM EST
    Devin had left the phone in the restroom of a gas station. It was locked. He asked the clerk to retrieve it, but the clerk said he was busy. About an hour later, the clerk called the police and turned the phone over to them.

    Why would he just leave the phone? You would think anyone would just stay there until the clerk was able to unlock it the restroom. Or why didn't he just get the key from the clerk and unlock it himself?

    No big deal, just curious.

    I Assummed He had Left and Called Back. (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by ScottW714 on Wed Mar 30, 2011 at 09:24:38 AM EST
    Here's what I don't understand. why would the cops answer a phone they knew the owner was coming to retrieve.

    It sounds like they knew the kid by name and probably thought they stuck gold when they got the phone.  Otherwise answering or going through it just doesn't make sense.


    Doesn't look like it (none / 0) (#14)
    by jbindc on Wed Mar 30, 2011 at 09:33:01 AM EST
    According to the dissent:

    In a brief dissent, Justice Allison Eid wrote that the phone was abandoned, and, as such, the defendant "had no legitimate expectation of privacy in [the phone's] contents." Schutter left the store without making arrangements with the clerk to get the phone, and neither left his name nor returned to the store later.

    "By leaving the convenience store without making any arrangements for recovery of the cell phone left in a public restroom, defendant abandoned the phone," she wrote.

    read the opnion (none / 0) (#18)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Mar 30, 2011 at 10:18:36 AM EST
    the clerk turned the phone over to the police rather than waiting for Devin to return. The cop answered the phone when it rang and the caller said "Devin" or "Dev." Since Devin is well known to them, and has been for years, they figured it was Devin's and decided to search it for texts and messages, hoping to find evidence.

    I wasn't arguing about what the cop did (none / 0) (#19)
    by jbindc on Wed Mar 30, 2011 at 10:23:00 AM EST
    The dissent said Devin never told the clerk when he'd be back or gave him a number to call or any indication he was coming back - in response to Scott's question.

    Talk to the judge about what she states or perceives are the facts.


    how could he give a number to call (5.00 / 1) (#22)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Mar 30, 2011 at 10:43:40 AM EST
    when his phone was in the bathroom? And why should Devin have to give a time he was returning? If someone tells a clerk they want their phone from the bathroom, how is it that the clerk, after an hour, decides the person won't be back? Maybe if the clerk waited a few days, but an hour?

    A convenience store clerk turned the phone over to an officer who came into his store shortly after the defendant inadvertently locked it in the store's restroom, along with the bathroom key. The clerk explained to the officer that he refused the owner's request to retrieve the phone because he was too busy at the time, and that the owner left when he was told he would have to come back later.

    ....The district court found that after using the restroom facilities of a convenience store across the street from the courthouse, the defendant approached the store clerk and asked for help in retrieving his cell phone, which he had inadvertently locked in the restroom along with the restroom key. The clerk advised the defendant that he was too busy at that time and that the defendant would have to come back later. After the passage of perhaps as much as an hour, during which time the defendant had not returned, the clerk turned the iPhone over to Officer Burg, who had come into the store.

    Plus Who Calls the Cops... (none / 0) (#33)
    by ScottW714 on Wed Mar 30, 2011 at 01:00:55 PM EST
    ... over a lost phone ?  Not that it was lost, but when did the cops become the public lost and found ?

    please don't quote the dissent as fact (none / 0) (#24)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Mar 30, 2011 at 10:45:40 AM EST
    when the majority opinion and the trial court found differently.

    And why (none / 0) (#8)
    by jbindc on Wed Mar 30, 2011 at 09:11:35 AM EST
    did the clerk decide to call the cops?

    he didn't call the cops (none / 0) (#23)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Mar 30, 2011 at 10:44:55 AM EST
    A cop came into the store within an hour after Devin left and he gave the phone to the cop.

    My comment below still stands (none / 0) (#27)
    by sj on Wed Mar 30, 2011 at 11:32:42 AM EST
    This is not a normal course of events for the handling of a mislaid item.  There was zero reason to involve the police in a simple case of telephone "lost" and found.

    Unless the police asked for it.


    The clerk... (none / 0) (#35)
    by kdog on Wed Mar 30, 2011 at 01:13:00 PM EST
    could be an informant maybe???

    Is it possible (none / 0) (#43)
    by sj on Wed Mar 30, 2011 at 10:11:52 PM EST
    to be too paranoid these days?

    That's my question (none / 0) (#26)
    by sj on Wed Mar 30, 2011 at 11:24:40 AM EST
    In the course of my life, I've left things in many places to include restaurants, libraries, church, department stores, busses, the post office and, of course, restrooms.  [Okay, so I can be a bit absent-minded]

    And the "clerk is busy right now" thing is something that has come up with uncommon frequency when trying to recover my items.  It has not been unusual to have to wait overnight or longer for recovery.

    From your other comment:

    Schutter left the store without making arrangements with the clerk to get the phone, and neither left his name nor returned to the store later.

    My question is, was it Schutter's decision or the clerk's to not leave his name.  I submit that it's far more likely that the clerk declined to take his name, than that Schutter declined to leave it.  If the clerk was "too busy" to unlock the bathroom, I expect the clerk was "too busy" to take his name.  

    I say this as an absent-minded person who has mislaid many items.  And who has been told on more than one occasion that I must "wait for the manager to come in".

    And apparently:

    About an hour later, the clerk called the police and turned the phone over to them.

    One hour?  Really?  I've had varying levels of success recovering my items.  But not once were the police called because I left something somewhere -- regardless of value.

    I'm not going to conjecture about any motivation or previous experiences of the clerk.  I will only say that such an action is not a normal response to a forgotten or mislaid item of a patron or customer.


    Nice to Meet You SJ (none / 0) (#34)
    by ScottW714 on Wed Mar 30, 2011 at 01:11:04 PM EST
    I am so absent minded it's become an issue with my friends.  I can not keep track of my phone or keys to save my life.  I bet I spend 10 hours a week looking for one or the other, and yet I never set my phone down in a public restroom.

    Jim, ffrom the opinion: (none / 0) (#9)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Mar 30, 2011 at 09:14:59 AM EST
    "Whether or not he knew the defendant's name, Officer Burg was aware from the moment the iPhone came into his possession that the defendant inadvertently left it in the store's locked restroom and knew precisely where it was; that his immediate demand for its return had been refused by the store clerk, who controlled access to the restroom; and that he left the area only when he was told by the clerk that he would have to come back later to retrieve his phone."

    IMO (none / 0) (#28)
    by jimakaPPJ on Wed Mar 30, 2011 at 11:44:27 AM EST
    The clerk knew the guy and wanted to cause him problems. Call me paranoid but I think he wanted to get the phone to the police from the very beginning.

    May be legal, but definitely a nasty trick.


    Me, too (none / 0) (#20)
    by Lora on Wed Mar 30, 2011 at 10:33:33 AM EST
    I don't recall if I have ever left anything in a locked restroom.

    But if I did, I would have the highest expectation of getting the key from the clerk and retrieving it myself.

    If the clerk said he had to unlock it, I would wait until the clerk was not busy.  I would expect to wait only a few minutes.

    I would also have the highest expectation that if the clerk retrieved my phone from a restroom and I was not present, that the clerk would simply put it in the office, or at the front desk, to be claimed at a later time.  ESPECIALLY if I had already asked about it.

    Something doesn't smell right here.

    However, I am glad about the court ruling.  At least somebody thinks that the cops should get a warrant for some things!


    He couldn't get the key (none / 0) (#25)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Mar 30, 2011 at 10:50:35 AM EST
    because he left it in the bathroom with the phone.

    I understand that Devin couldn't (none / 0) (#29)
    by jimakaPPJ on Wed Mar 30, 2011 at 11:51:08 AM EST
    but the clerk must have had a second key or else how did he get it to give it to the police??



    It wouldn't surprise me (5.00 / 2) (#30)
    by Zorba on Wed Mar 30, 2011 at 12:08:27 PM EST
    if this gas station had one set of keys that they give to customers to unlock the restrooms, and another master set that management forbids the clerks giving out to customers, in case a customer locks the master key in the restroom, too, loses it, or drives off with it.  If I owned such an establishment, I sure wouldn't have only one set of keys, and I wouldn't give the master set out to anyone- it would be station employee use only.  You only have to pay a locksmith to come out once to figure this out.

    I get it, thanks (none / 0) (#38)
    by Lora on Wed Mar 30, 2011 at 05:37:05 PM EST
    Nevertheless it still seems strange for the clerk to just hand the phone over to a police officer, rather than set the phone aside for its owner.

    colored by the crime (none / 0) (#42)
    by diogenes on Wed Mar 30, 2011 at 09:19:49 PM EST
    Why do I think that if Devin had committed a hate crime or a rape instead of a drug crime and was caught via his phone that people really wouldn't care a whole lot.    

    well (5.00 / 1) (#44)
    by CST on Thu Mar 31, 2011 at 09:34:40 AM EST
    I think you would have the same position from the front pager at the very least.

    In that case I would hope they would have more evidence than a phone they stumbled upon.  Frankly, a crime of violence is much less likely to be found in someone's phone, unless they texted their friend bragging about it.  And I would seriously hope that who ever was investigating the crime would do their job and follow due process so as to not waste evidence. If they didn't, I would be p*ssed off at them for f*cking it up, not at the law.

    You are right, most people do not consider a drug crime to be as bad as a hate crime or rape. That doesn't let the cops/prosecuter off the hook to do their job.


    There was more evidence in this case (none / 0) (#45)
    by jbindc on Thu Mar 31, 2011 at 09:41:47 AM EST
    Such as, the evidence found at his home.  However, since it was found based on the initial search of the phone, it was tainted and rightly excluded.

    But this case was not just based on the phone.


    I wasn't talking about this case (none / 0) (#46)
    by CST on Thu Mar 31, 2011 at 09:53:19 AM EST
    I meant in the hypothetical situation being discussed.  They would have to have more than a phone they "stumbled" upon.  And if they tainted any other evidence, than they aren't doing their job.

    You could say the same about this case.  But the fact is, I think a lot of us are ok with this case being "tainted" where we would not be ok in the case of a violent crime.

    What I was trying to poing out to diogenes is, that doesn't mean in the case of a violent crime you get to catch someone by any means necessary.  It means you should be hyper-vigilant not to break the law, so that you can in fact legally put them away.


    I guess the thing is (none / 0) (#47)
    by jbindc on Thu Mar 31, 2011 at 10:38:19 AM EST
    We should expect the police to follow the law and protocol. When they don't, the evidence gets thrown out and suspects get to go free.  But that doesn't mean we should "be okay with" it because it was a non-violent offense.

    The officer screwed up royally.  (He is no longer with the force).  The court's ruling was absolutely right on. But that doesn't mean that we should "be okay" with the individual's actions.


    that is not for you or me (5.00 / 1) (#49)
    by CST on Thu Mar 31, 2011 at 11:33:46 AM EST
    to decide.  Everyone gets to make up their own mind with what they are "okay with".

    Personally, I'm not going to lose any sleep because this guy is still walking the streets.

    There are people who are "okay with" what Bradley Manning did.  I'm not one of those people, but I recognize that people are entitled to their own opinion.

    Legally wrong and morally wrong are not always the same thing.


    Uh, wrong (none / 0) (#50)
    by jbindc on Thu Mar 31, 2011 at 01:14:55 PM EST
    If the law says "X", you don't get to decide that you are ok not obeying X.  Well, you could, but then you can't argue "Hey, I didn't like law X, so I didn't think I needed to follow it."

    If you don't like the law -work to change it.  But no, it's generall not "okay" (like in 99.5% of the cases) when someone doesn't obey it - whether or not they are ever held legally liable for it.


    umm (5.00 / 1) (#51)
    by CST on Thu Mar 31, 2011 at 01:30:37 PM EST
    You don't get to decide what other people are morally okay with.

    You are arguing a legal point.  Which is that if you break the law you should expect to pay the consequences.  I agree with that, that's how the system works.  What I disagree with is the elimination of personal opinion in your equation.  You don't get to decide how people feel about the law or the application of consequences to those actions.

    If you want to change something, you don't simultaneously sit there and cheer for/be "okay with" the current system.  That's kind of the point of wanting to change it.


    "follow the law???" (none / 0) (#53)
    by diogenes on Thu Mar 31, 2011 at 07:08:21 PM EST
    From the article:

    "The ruling says there was no U.S. Supreme Court opinion nor Colorado law on the matter for Chief Judge James Boyd of the 9th Judicial District to consider."

    I think, then, that it was not at all obvious what a scrupulous policeman would do to "follow the law"


    Site Violator! Topit (none / 0) (#55)
    by Zorba on Sat Apr 02, 2011 at 10:37:05 AM EST