Brave Utah Nurse Defends 4th Amendment from Police

Utah Nurse, Alex Wubbels, has been all over the headlines recently after an altercation between her and Utah police was posted online and went viral.  The incident happened July 26, when a car crash victim was admitted to the University of Utah Hospital burn unit; he was in a coma. Though the man was not a suspect in the wreck, which killed the other driver, police asked for his blood to be drawn.

According to CNN reports:

-“Wubbels, the charge nurse in the burn unit, presented the officers with a printout of hospital policy on drawing blood and said their request did not meet the criteria. Hospital policy specified police needed either a judge’s order or the patient’s consent, or the patient needed to be under arrest, before obtaining a blood sample.
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Salt Lake City Mayor,Jackie Biskupski ,said Wednesday the officers violated several city and department policies, including those pertaining to arrests, ethics and officer conduct. The officers have 20 days to respond to the results of the internal investigation, after which Chief Mike Brown will determine what employment action should be taken. The police department said it had no comment on the report. “
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Video shows Utah nurse arrested on the job
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Detective Jeff Payne eventually grabbed Nurse Wubbels when she demanded a search warrant before allowing the patient’s blood to be drawn. She was then arrested as the altercation became more aggressive on part of the officers involved. Payne and the other officers involved have been placed on administrative leave. As a Libertarian, and staunch supporter of constitutional law, let us examine exactly why Alex Wubbels is a hero, from both a legal and moral standard.
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Legally, Wubbels was defending not only her company hospital policy, but the 4th amendment of the United States Constitution, the supreme law of the land.  The 4th amendment of the Constitution reads as follows:
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“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”
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In this particular situation, the police are attempting to seize a man’s blood. Is blood considered personal property? Well, if we analyze any basic traffic stop, an officer who wants to seize a vehicle or any contents inside the vehicle, must first obtain the owner’s voluntary consent or obtain a certified judicial search warrant with probable cause established. If vehicles are considered personal property, it is easy to imagine that blood is the ultimate definition of personal property, a substance that is literally manufactured by our own bodies.   In 2013, the Supreme Court decided in Missouri v. McNeely ,  that the harvesting of blood in regards to a police investigation did require consent and/or a warrant.
Honestly, how would any of us feel if an officer could just walk up to us and say, “You look a little buzzed, roll up your sleeze, im drawing your blood now.” In 2015, the Tennessee Highway Patrol did just that with their  controversial “No refusal DUI checkpoint stops”, that were met with harsh criticism by civil liberties activists. Many even disobeyed and fought the constitutionality of such checkpoints. Regardless, search warrants were still issued during most of those check point stops.
A warrant creates a necessary roadblock between police and arbitrary abuse of power. It creates one last opportunity for a judge to look at the situation and say, “This officer doesn’t have the right to do this”,  or “This officer has the right”.  While many judges often distribute search warrants arbitrarily and unfairly, atleast it creates a small deterrence for officers to easily abuse their authority. And this is exactly why the founders drafted the 4th amendment the way they did. They were sick of the British walking into their houses and confiscating their good without any regard or debate of legalities.
This Utah nurse not only made a stand for the Constitution but also for human rights. The victim at hand was not accused of any crime  and the officers had no legal authority to take his property; i.e. his blood.  If the 4th amendment did not apply to our blood, it could create an opportunity for blood harvesting, experimentation, and all sorts of deadly scenarios.
In my Shadow Report,  Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform , I address the problem of “policing for profit”, whereas police departments often seize properties illegally, only to turn around and sell those items to profit their departments.  Civil asset Forfeiture is a huge concern all across this nation. I could only imagine if a market for blood was opened up to private corporations. It would create another fascist relationship between big pharma and big government.
Kudos to Alex Wubbels for defending life, liberty, and the 4th amendment of our Constitution.  It is a sad day in this country when a nurse is doing more to protect the 4th amendment than our elected congress members who passed laws like the Patriot Act which undermine the 4th amendment.
Maybe Ms.Wubbels should act as a Constitutional consultant to our Republican and Democratic leaders on what it means to strictly adhere to the founding principles of this nation which lead to the rise of what used to be known as— “The most free nation on Earth. “
I look forward to seeing Ms.Wubbels attain justice for the abuse she suffered protecting our beloved bill of rights.  She is a true role model to girls,boys,women, and men residing in this great nation of the United States and elsewhere.
Godspeed.
Nalini-Global
2017

Kentucky Police Department tests the 4th Amendment

To: Paducah Police Chief, Brandon Barnhill-  bbarnhill@paducahky.gov

From: Nalini-Global- Naliniglobal@yahoo.com 

The Paducah Police Department of Kentucky has recently launched a new initiative known as the, “Lock it or Lose it” campaign. Officers will now be encouraged to conduct sweeps around the city to check vehicles parked on public property, to see if they are properly locked and/or if valuables are in plain-view. If the vehicle is found to be unlocked and unattended by the owner, the officer will run the license plate and make attempts to reach the owner of the vehicle by telephone. If the officer cannot make contact, the officer will place a door hanger on the owner’s registered home address linked to the license plate. The informational door hanger will contain a warning to keep their vehicle properly locked up.

Officers who come across vehicles that are properly locked, will leave a “Thank you” card on the windshield of the vehicle. On the back of the card, a survey can be completed and mailed to the Paducah Police Department. Those who fill out the survey are automatically entered into a drawing contest to win prizes.  Officer Christopher Fearon recently spoke on a local Television program called “The Paducah View“, promoting the initiative stating that , “….Paducah is a safe town to live in, and sometimes people gain a false sense of security because of that.”   The initiative is not a nation-wide federal mandate, however, other cities and states have launched similar programs such as the “Lock it or Lose it” program launched in Lakeland,Florida last year. The Lakeland Police Department uses even more invasive tactics such as placing a bright orange cone on the top of an unlocked vehicle and leaving “lock it or leave it” brochures inside of the vehicle in order to send a “wake up” message to the car owner to lock up his/her valuables.

According to an article written by the West Kentucky Star, Officer Fearon states that, “……the Paducah Police Department will not leave warning hangers on the car itself nor will they open the car doors.” However, there is a million dollar question that comes with such a statement.

How can you know if a car is unlocked unless you try to open it?

On the surface, such a program may seem innocent or even well-intended. To be honest, it probably is well intended. Some may jump to conspiracy theories about, “Big Brother is Watching”, or claim that there is some secret agenda, yet, I believe it is simply a plan that is not well-thought out albeit well intended.

I have two problems with this initiative.

  1. A potential breach of the 4th Amendment
  2.  An abuse of power 

For an officer to make contact with a person or his property, there generally has to be “probable cause” or “Reasonable Suspicion”. “Probable cause” is a principle that is highly debated, especially with practices such as the “Terry Stop” being the norm these days.  A “Terry Stop”, is more a less an officer’s legal right to stop someone for questioning if the subject is doing something “suspicious” but is not engaging in a blatant activity that warrants probable cause for arrest or seizure of property.

Looking at the “Lock it or Lose It” program, I can see many pitfalls with this well-intended program.

Under the 4th Amendment of the United States Constitution, a private individual has the right to be secure in his possessions and maintain his privacy. This includes his home, his personal belongings, his e-mails, text messages, and yes……his vehicle! If an officer wants to enter the home of a citizen, search a vehicle, or seize property, he must obtain a warrant signed from a judge or the subject must voluntarily consent.

If an officer routinely approached your house, unwarranted, and began to “jiggle” the locks on your door to make sure they are “secured”, would you feel safer or violated? If your answer is “violated”, then you are probably not a supporter of this initiative. Or at least you shouldn’t be.   In order for an officer to determine whether or not a vehicle is locked, unless the door is left wide-open, the officer will have to physically attempt to open the door of the vehicle. The Paducah Police Department claims that they will not open doors, but how else could they test whether or not a car door is locked?

If this program becomes the norm around the nation, citizens will begin to develop a false-sense of trust for law enforcement officers who “check” their locks. While I believe most officers have good hearts and truly want to protect their communities, who is to say that this program wouldn’t be alluring to an officer who may be inclined to use this program to conduct full on searches or to plant evidence illegally? This type of program could create a curtain for abuse of power and make it easier for law enforcement to target citizens or to obtain an arrest and/or conviction.

If my car is stolen, or my valuables are taken because of my own negligence, I have no one to blame but myself and the person who lacks the moral aptitude to refrain from stealing.  Our local police are already burdened with investigators looking to track down murderers, pedophiles, rapists, and other violent criminals.  We cannot expect law enforcement to protect us 24/7 unless we all agreed to live in a militarized police-state where our every action, thought, and movement were all being recorded or monitored.

With the rise of the TSA, Terrorist threats and the controversy surrounding the “NSA Spy Program” leaked by former intelligence officer Edward Snowden, many Americans look at this program with the same question that has plagued us all since September 11th, 2001.

“How do we balance security while respecting our individual liberty and privacy?”

The police and military have a job to do. Their #1 duty is to protect the life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness of their fellow residents and citizens. Their job is not to make sure we button up our shirts correctly, brush our teeth every morning, or lock our cars when we run inside the grocery store to purchase a loaf of bread.

Not only is this program disrespecting the 4th amendment of the Constitution, but it is also creating unnecessary, “Busy Work” for police officers who could be applying their time and resources towards tackling and solving crimes that are actually taking place or have already taken place.  From a tax burden issue, who will pay for these informational cards to be printed up? What will be the administrative cost of this program a year from now?  How many man hours will be dedicated to this program? These, among other issues, certainly need to be addressed before further implementation of this program continues.

What are your thoughts? Should the program be discontinued, altered, or do you see it as perfectly innocent?

Let me know at, NaliniGlobal@yahoo.com

Thank you,

With love and honor

Randell D Stroud,

Founder of Nalini-Global

2017

(To be Submitted)