Driver arrested in Ohio for having empty secret compartment in car

hidden-compartmentsWith the National Security Agency’s end run around the Constitution to gather phone metadata, critics are pointing to 2013 as the year the 4th Amendment became irrelevant in America.

While a harsh assessment, such a stance is reinforced by the report of a driver in Ohio being arrested for having a hidden compartment in his car — even though the space was empty.

The driver, 30-year-old Norman Gurley, was pulled over for speeding and the officer noticed wires running to a secret compartment, according to The Daily Caller. Saying he smelled marijuana, the officer searched the space but did not find any drugs.

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But the driver was arrested anyway, and the action is backed by a new Ohio law that prohibits secret compartments, according to the report.

A law that brings to mind the words of Benjamin Franklin, who said “any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both.”

The Ohio law states:

“No person shall knowingly operate, possess, or use a vehicle with a hidden compartment with knowledge that the hidden compartment is used or intended to be used to facilitate the unlawful concealment or transportation of a controlled substance.”

“We apparently caught them between runs, so to speak, so this takes away one tool they have in their illegal trade,” the Highway Patrol’s Lt. Michael Combs told the local NBC affiliate.

John Whitehead, president of civil liberties group the Rutherford Institute, isn’t buying it, as pointed out by The Daily Caller.

“Although Norman Gurley had no drugs on his person,” Whitehead wrote. “Nor in his car, nor could it be proven that he intended to conceal drugs, he was still arrested for the ‘crime’ of having a hidden compartment in the trunk of his car.”

“This is what a world without the Fourth Amendment looks like.”

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Tom Tillison

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