Pubdate: Tue, 13 Apr 2004
Source: AlterNet (US Web)
Copyright: 2004 Independent Media Institute
Author: Kevin Nelson


This week, the Supreme Court considers the constitutionality of
allowing drug sniffing dogs during routine traffic stops; Holland's
right-leaning government considers reclassifying potent marijuana as a
hard drug; two top Mexican police officials are arrested for
protecting drug traffickers; a Texas District Attorney will face legal
action for his role in the Tulia drug sting; and the White House drug
"czar's" office begins a nationwide tour promoting random drug testing
in schools.

APRIL 6- The Boston Globe reports: The Supreme Court agreed yesterday
to rule on the constitutionality of police using dogs to sniff for
illegal drugs in vehicles stopped for routine traffic violations.

In a brief order, the justices voted to hear an appeal by the State of
Illinois arguing that sniff searches are not covered by the
Constitution, so police are allowed to make them without having
grounds for suspecting a vehicle may be carrying drugs.

The Illinois Supreme Court, however, ruled that a canine search could
be done only at a traffic stop if the officers have specific reasons
to think there are drugs in a vehicle. Without those suspicions, the
state court said, a routine traffic stop broadens into a drug
investigation, and that can be justified only with some evidence
greater that "a vague hunch."

The case gives the Supreme Court an opportunity to explore an
increasingly complex constitutional question: What more may officers
do during routine traffic stops, beyond asking for a driver's license
and registration?

APRIL 6- Reuters reports: Tourists who flock to Amsterdam to smoke
cannabis in its "coffee shops" without fear of prosecution may find
their choice curtailed as part of a proposed review of liberal Dutch
drug laws. The Dutch government is considering a ban on the sale of
highly potent strains of cannabis under the proposed review, cabinet
sources said Tuesday. The center-right government in the Netherlands,
where cannabis smokers can openly buy and smoke the drug in hundreds
of government-regulated "coffee shops," is to discuss the proposed
review in cabinet Thursday.

APRIL 7- The San Diego News-Tribune reports: Two top officials of the
investigative police in central Morelos state were arrested for
protecting a branch of a major Mexican drug organization, a federal
authority announced Wednesday.

Raul Cortes and Jose Agustin Montiel, operating director and general
director, respectively, are accused of protecting a cell of the Juarez
Cartel, so-named for the northern border city where the organization
conducts its business.

The two officers were part of a network of police officials dedicated
to providing protection for the cartel and worked with cartel leader
Vicente Carrillo, federal organized crime prosecutor Jose Vasconcelos
told a news conference. The network's job included protecting
airplanes arriving with cocaine from Colombia. The investigation began
in 2002.

The arrests of five other suspects were pending, Vasconcelos said,
without elaborating.

APRIL 9- The Amarillo Globe News reports: The State Bar of Texas filed
a petition this week accusing the district attorney who prosecuted the
Tulia drug sting cases of "serious" misconduct, including withholding
evidence and making false statements in court to prop up the
reputation of an undercover agent who has since been indicted for
perjury. District Attorney Terry McEachern faces discipline ranging
from a public reprimand to disbarment if the allegations against him
are held up at trial, which should happen this year, said Dawn Miller,
chief disciplinary counsel for the bar.

"We do consider it a very serious case," Miller said. "But it's very
early on in the process to really know what ( punishment ) our
evidence will support."

APRIL 9- Rocky Mountain News reports: White House drug policy
officials came to Denver on Thursday, saying random drug testing of
students can survive legal challenges and is "dirt cheap." "You can
protect an entire high school for about $1,000 a year," said David
Evans, with the Drug-Free Schools Coalition, who was invited by the
White House to speak about the issue on a multi-city tour.

Mary Ann Solberg, deputy director of National Drug Control Policy,
convened the meeting with community leaders and school officials.

Speakers said random drug testing of one in 10 students typically
reduces use of marijuana and other drugs by 30 percent to 40 percent.

They said schools that follow the right formula have won most of the
legal challenges posed by the American Civil Liberties Union, which
opposes drug testing in the name of privacy and personal freedoms.
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