Pubdate: Sun, 29 Apr 2001
Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)
Copyright: 2001 St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Author: Barb Bartels


I agree with the principles behind the Post-Dispatch's report and 
evaluation of the recent Supreme Court ruling against Gail Atwater of 
Texas. Without a doubt, the police officer overstepped his authority by his 
arbitrary handling of the situation. A calmer, more objective approach 
would still have resulted in detainment for lack of proper identification.

The real issue is Fourth Amendment rights. With no evidence to suggest that 
Atwater was carrying illegal drugs or firearms, the search of her vehicle 
was, in my opinion, an abuse of authority condoned by the Supreme Court.

Will this ruling encourage law enforcement to further expand vehicle 
searches for minor offenses? I believe it will.

I also believe that one of our basic rights has been severely restricted 
because the Supreme Court's duty to uphold and preserve the Constitution of 
the United States was inexorably compromised by this decision.

Barb Bartels
St. Charles
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