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Karl Armstrong

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Karl Armstrong

Postby Huckleby » Wed May 23, 2012 10:51 pm

http://host.madison.com/wsj/news/local/ ... f887a.html

Senior citizen Karl Armstrong was arrested in his RV after his shakey hands lead to search and seizure of funny-smelling cash.

This is a sad story. Since when are shakey hands probable cause for a search? He's probably the wrong man for this particular job, the cops must assume the worst when his name comes-up on a license plate search.
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Re: Karl Armstrong

Postby Dangerousman » Wed May 23, 2012 11:44 pm

Huckleby wrote:http://host.madison.com/wsj/news/local/crime_and_courts/sterling-hall-bomber-armstrong-arrested-after-cash-found-in-vehicle/article_c5da4e80-a38c-11e1-a02f-001a4bcf887a.html

Senior citizen Karl Armstrong was arrested in his RV after his shakey hands lead to search and seizure of funny-smelling cash.

This is a sad story. Since when are shakey hands probable cause for a search? He's probably the wrong man for this particular job, the cops must assume the worst when his name comes-up on a license plate search.


They didn't need probable cause once he consented to the search. Moral: Never ever consent. If they have probable cause they won't need your consent. If they're asking consent, they most likely don't have probable cause. So don't grant it.

My question is, why ask if someone has a large amount of money? None of their business if you do or don't. It's no crime to have money, even funny smelling money.
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Re: Karl Armstrong

Postby Huckleby » Thu May 24, 2012 8:32 am

Dangerousman wrote:My question is, why ask if someone has a large amount of money? None of their business if you do or don't. It's no crime to have money, even funny smelling money.

Well, it bugs me only because I believe Armstrong is doing the lord's work, and I don't want him to get busted. But it is smart for the cops to ask about money, watch reactions, if they suspect that Citizen Armstrong is involved in smuggling.
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Re: Karl Armstrong

Postby Francis Di Domizio » Thu May 24, 2012 8:33 am

Dangerousman wrote:
Huckleby wrote:http://host.madison.com/wsj/news/local/crime_and_courts/sterling-hall-bomber-armstrong-arrested-after-cash-found-in-vehicle/article_c5da4e80-a38c-11e1-a02f-001a4bcf887a.html

Senior citizen Karl Armstrong was arrested in his RV after his shakey hands lead to search and seizure of funny-smelling cash.

This is a sad story. Since when are shakey hands probable cause for a search? He's probably the wrong man for this particular job, the cops must assume the worst when his name comes-up on a license plate search.


They didn't need probable cause once he consented to the search. Moral: Never ever consent. If they have probable cause they won't need your consent. If they're asking consent, they most likely don't have probable cause. So don't grant it.

My question is, why ask if someone has a large amount of money? None of their business if you do or don't. It's no crime to have money, even funny smelling money.


It can be apparently: http://www.ice.gov/bulk-cash-smuggling-center/faq/

He originally did say no, which is when the officer decided to call in the dog. Kind of a catch 22 for Armstrong. If he consents immediately he might have gotten lucky and the officer just does a quick look. By saying no, he made the officer more suspicious. Not sure why he changed his mind again after that and consented. I suspect a dog sniffing around the outside of his RV would probably have less chance of finding an interior compartment full of cash than a thorough interior search by an officer.
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Re: Karl Armstrong

Postby Dangerousman » Thu May 24, 2012 9:25 am

Francis Di Domizio wrote:He originally did say no, which is when the officer decided to call in the dog. Kind of a catch 22 for Armstrong. If he consents immediately he might have gotten lucky and the officer just does a quick look. By saying no, he made the officer more suspicious. Not sure why he changed his mind again after that and consented. I suspect a dog sniffing around the outside of his RV would probably have less chance of finding an interior compartment full of cash than a thorough interior search by an officer.


Simply having a lot of money is not the same as smuggling money. Did they have any reason to believe Armstrong had crossed the US border? In Illinois? Was he wearing a Mexican sombrero and surrounded by Acapulco souvenirs?

Most courts have held that invoking a constitutional right, in this case refusing a request for a search, cannot be used as evidence against a person and can't be used as part of the "reasonable articulable suspicion." Police tend to rely on subjective or unverifiable claims, e.g. "he appeared nervous" or "I smelled intoxicants." Yeah, maybe: Police would probably have to admit that a large number, if not a majority of people appear nervous when they contact them. And who can contradict what an officer claims to have smelled?

The funny thing is this. What if Karl is telling the truth? What if he had been unknowingly driving along with a shitload of cash in some old RV he picked up somewhere?

I don't know. But I know it is always a mistake to consent to a search. It won't do you much good and it could harm you. Even if you have no contraband, protecting the principle is important. Like those two guys at Culvers did!
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Re: Karl Armstrong

Postby Peanutbutter » Thu May 24, 2012 9:35 am

Madison liberals trying to protect a violent murderer?

Just another day in Dane County!
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Re: Karl Armstrong

Postby Francis Di Domizio » Thu May 24, 2012 10:53 am

Dangerousman wrote:Simply having a lot of money is not the same as smuggling money. Did they have any reason to believe Armstrong had crossed the US border? In Illinois? Was he wearing a Mexican sombrero and surrounded by Acapulco souvenirs?

Most courts have held that invoking a constitutional right, in this case refusing a request for a search, cannot be used as evidence against a person and can't be used as part of the "reasonable articulable suspicion." Police tend to rely on subjective or unverifiable claims, e.g. "he appeared nervous" or "I smelled intoxicants." Yeah, maybe: Police would probably have to admit that a large number, if not a majority of people appear nervous when they contact them. And who can contradict what an officer claims to have smelled?


Not having actually transported the money across the border doesn't mean it wasn't being smuggled. Using multiple couriers isn't exactly an brand new sophisticated tactic.

You are correct that courts have ruled that refusing a search is not permitted as evidence of suspicious behavior. On the other hand, as you point out, countering an officer's subjective claims isn't really likely either. If they have already asked if they can search your vehicle, they probably have some reason to be suspicious (even if it is just that you happened to have blown up a building 40 years ago). As I said, a catch 22 for Armstrong.

It would indeed be funny if he didn't know anything about $815,000 in heat wrapped cash sitting in the back of his RV.
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Re: Karl Armstrong

Postby Prof. Wagstaff » Thu May 24, 2012 10:54 am

A cop can ask any question they want to. But you're under no obligation to answer. As soon as Armstrong received a ticket (which according to the link, happened before the questions about what was in the van were asked), he should have asked if he was free to leave.
"Do you have any guns or cash?"
"Am I under arrest, sir?"
"Do you have something to hide?"
"Am I free to leave, officer?"
"May I search your car?"
"No, I do not consent to a search."
Different states have different rules about whether your car may be searched without your consent, but either way, you never want to give it.

You can never be expected to provide any information which might incriminate yourself (thank you, Fifth Amendment.) But here's the thing: Anything you say to a cop might incriminate you. So keep your mouth shut. Never, ever, ever offer information to cops who are in the process of trying to decide if you've committed a crime (or even just a moving violation), no matter how innocent you may be, or how truthful or innocuous your statements might be. Remember: "Anything you say may be used against you in a court of law." The little-known flip-side is that anything you say to a cop will not be used to help you. So no matter what a cop says, you are never "helping yourself" by talking to them. It's irrelevant whether you are guilty or innocent -- anything you say to a cop may be used to make a criminal case against you. So shut your mouth. You don't know why you were pulled over, you have no idea how fast you were going, and you don't have to answer at all if asked if you're carrying large amounts of cash, no matter how shaky your hands may be.
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Re: Karl Armstrong

Postby Dangerousman » Thu May 24, 2012 11:48 am

Francis Di Domizio wrote: If they have already asked if they can search your vehicle, they probably have some reason to be suspicious...


I agree with everything you wrote but that. Many police routinely ask if they can search a vehicle without any reason to be suspicious. It's just a fishing expedition taking advantage of many people's reluctance to say "no" to a police officer. Again, if they're asking permission they probably have nothing go on.

Another thing to remember, if one grants permission for a search, one can rescind it at any time also. The prudent thing is to not grant permission in the first place. If you said "Sure search my car, but oh, not the trunk" I think the police will be very curious to know what is in your trunk.
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Re: Karl Armstrong

Postby Marvell » Thu May 24, 2012 11:58 am

Peanutbutter wrote:Madison liberals trying to protect a violent murderer?

Just another day in Dane County!


Peanutbutter making a childish strawman argument?

Just another day on the Daily Page!
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Re: Karl Armstrong

Postby Dangerousman » Thu May 24, 2012 12:02 pm

Peanutbutter wrote:Madison liberals trying to protect a violent murderer?

Just another day in Dane County!


Oh come on P Butter, how is anyone protecting him? Nobody here tried to justify the bombing. It's in the past, Armstrong served his time.

We're simply discussing the case involving his traffic stop and what lessons can be learned from it. But it could have happened to anyone and the fact that is Karl Armstrong makes it mildly interesting mainly because he is a local figure. But that it was Armstrong is largely irrelevant.

Search and seizure is not a topic of interest only to "Madison liberals."

Now it's lunchtime and I'm wishing Radical Rye was around!
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Re: Karl Armstrong

Postby Huckleby » Thu May 24, 2012 12:14 pm

Peanutbutter wrote:Madison liberals trying to protect a violent murderer?

Just another day in Dane County!

Huh? Armstrong did the time for his crime. Not the subject here.
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Re: Karl Armstrong

Postby Henry Vilas » Thu May 24, 2012 1:21 pm

The courts have ruled the mere smell of marijuana is probable cause.
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Re: Karl Armstrong

Postby Dangerousman » Thu May 24, 2012 1:26 pm

Henry Vilas wrote:The courts have ruled the mere smell of marijuana is probable cause.


That might have lead to the probable cause for the search of his home and seizure of his phone and computer, but the news story suggests that the smell was discovered after the money was found and being processed by the investigators. So the smell had nothing to do with the vehicle search.
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Re: Karl Armstrong

Postby Henry Vilas » Thu May 24, 2012 1:31 pm

The police dog would have smelled it. I think that is why Armstrong eventually consented, since he knew the dog was on his way.
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