Police Request Vs Order?

The item below and subsequent discussion on The High Road about the police actions in Oskhosh got me to thinking about another, related issue.

Specifically, the police “evacuated” a 6-block area and forced the residents to a shelter for the duration of their search.  What rights does a private citizen have to refuse to leave his home in the face of a police demand to evacuate?

My first thought about it is that in the absence of a specific, immediate threat, I would be reluctant to leave.  I’d ask the officer whether it was a request or an order.  If it’s just a request, I’ll tell him to get lost.  If it’s an order, then I think the law would require me to leave, but I’d insist on locking the house and arming the alarm.  I just don’t trust cops enough anymore to leave things open for them to get in and mess with my stuff.  This incident simply reinforces that.

Update:  This has also brought up something that’s been stewing in the back of my mind for a while now.  The weekly Keller newspaper publishes records of all arrests from the previous week.  Reading through them, the majority are either DWI (no objection there, for the most part) or small drug posession arrests based on a consent search following a simple traffic stop (headlight out, speeding, failure to signal, etc).  It amazes me that people would consent to a search in this circumstance, but I understand that a lot of people a.) don’t know their rights, and b.) are often browbeaten or intimidated into consenting.  Now that I know the Keller cops are search-happy on traffic stops (and I already knew they were like sharks in a small pond when it comes to looking for traffic violations), I’ll be more on guard.  However, asserting your rights can get you arrested if the officer feels like it.  Texas law allows them to arrest you for simple traffic violations if they feel like it.  Given this, I think I need to find a good criminal defense attorney and if not put them on retainer, at least establish a relationship.  Besides, it’s probably stupid of me to have gone this long without doing so.  Partially it’s a matter of procrastination, but there’s also the fact that I haven’t a clue about how to find a good lawyer.  I’ve found a few directories that list attorneys in the area by speciality, but I have no idea how to determine if they’re any good.

1 Comment

  1. I’d love to hear if someone has tried this:
    “Of course we’re all good people with nothing to hide.  So I’ll happily give you permission to search, on one condition: that you do so in the nude.”