Parsing Words: Inspection or Search

It’s an event worthy of coverage from any news station or agency, but  no one is reporting on what happened at a California Inspection Station in Long Valley, California a few miles from the Nevada state line. The California Department of Food and Agriculture operates 16 such agriculture inspection stations that are located along the major highways that enter the state for the stated purpose of “helping the Governor and Legislature ensure delivery of safe food and fiber through responsible environmental stewardship in a fair marketplace for all Californians.”

In a display of government double-speak, disregard for the Constitution, and deflection of personal responsibility by police and other state enforcers, a California family was arrested and their child was placed in care of the state all because they stood up for their right to be secure in their persons and property in August.

In a video posted to social media by Brad Feinman, it shows him and his as they were stopped at a checkpoint on Highway 395. The footage begins with the family making its way through the checkpoint to sounds of a state agricultural officer asking, “Where ya coming from?”

Feinman responds that he and  his family “don’t answer questions” and will be on their way.

“You’re gonna go?” the officer asks. “This is just an agricultural inspection, I’m wondering where you are traveling from?”

Feinman then tells the officer that its “none of his business” where his family was traveling to or from from . The officer next radios a supervisor named Stacy for help.

“If you keep driving, I will contact the authorities and have them bring you back to the facility,” the woman says. “We need to conduct an inspection on the vehicle.”

“Do you have a warrant?” Feinman asks. “Cause you’re not inspecting anything without a warrant. Do you know the Fourth Amendment? I’m free from warrantless searches.”

“I don’t need a warrant, there is no search here,” Stacy answers. “You’re speaking of an Amendment that classifies searches. We are not searching…an inspection. The conveyance needs to be inspected for agricultural hosts.”

“So what part of the vehicle are you planning to inspect?” Feinman asks.

“We need to inspect the vehicle in the back and any ice-chests you may have on board,” Stacy responds.

“Oh, so you mean inside? That’s a search,” Feinman asserts.

Stacy responds again, “It’s not a search, it is an inspection.”

“That’s exactly what a search is,” Feinman says adding, “Don’t you understand the Bill of Rights?”

“I’m not going to engage in this with you, “replies Stacy. “I never said the word search. You’re talking about something other than the Fourth Amendment.”

Feinman then asks Stacy to explain the difference between the words a “search” and “inspection.”

She answers, “I don’t have a definition of a search. I don’t search, I inspect.”

“So you think that word frees you from your obligations to the Constitution?” Feinman asks.

“I’m not really sure what your question is,” Stacy says.

Feinman then reads the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution to her: “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.”

Stacy then rebuts, saying that “the initial contact” officers had with the family and with the fact that he had “a number of insects on the front of…vehicle,” indicated that the family may have been coming from some where that might be of concern. Feinman then leaves the checkpoint with Stacy telling him she is going to call the polices and have them bring the family back so she can inspect their vehicle.

The footage then cuts the Feinmans being pulled over by what appears to be officers with the Nevada County Sheriff’s Department and California Highway Patrol. Feinman continues to assert his rights as officers issue him a citation, threaten to pull him out of his vehicle and to have his children placed in Child Protective Services.

Feinman asks what law he’s broken and one officer replies that he is in violation of the “California Food and Agriculture Code.”

He’s then instructed to exit his vehicle so they can write him a ticket.

“But I live in California,” Feinman says. “Does the Agriculture code trump the U.S. Constitution? I’m a free citizen. Did you guys take an oath to defend the Constitution?”

“So you’re a Constitutionalist is what you’re saying?” another officer asks after telling Feinman he is being unreasonable.

“Yes, yes I am,” Feinman boldly asserts. “What are you?”

The officer responds by saying, “We’ve had problems with this before!”

Feinman asks the officer again if he took an oath to uphold the Constitution and the cop tells the man not to sidetrack the conversation. In response, both LEO’s then walk away as Feinman starts read them the Fourth Amendment. Moments later, an officer identifying himself as an “off-duty” California Highway Patrol Sergeant informs the Feinman that, “all…want to do is write…a ticket and if…can’t do that then…are going to have to break the window and get in and take…out.”

That Sergeant also claims Feinmans behavior is “totally unnecessary” and says “this is your choice right now…we have given you ever opportunity we can,” before an officer smashes out the back window of the vehicle and arrest the occupants.

“This is a complete violation of my rights,” Feinman yells.

The video comes to an end as officers begin yanking and pulling on Feinman, exclaiming, “Quit resisting arrest.”

“I’m not,” Feinman insists, ‘My seatbelt is still buckled.”

Eventually, the Feinman’s were released, but not until after a lengthy interrogation, threats to have their juvenile son taken away and placed in foster care and to seperate the husband and wife by transporting them other ‘detention facilities.’ Oddly, the media is quiet about this and it appears all records of the incident are being withheld because ‘of the ongoing investigation.’

Welcome to California. It’s a whole other country.

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