Thursday, May 12, 2005

New Lakewood Law & Our Constitution

Lakewood has just passed some new city laws, at least one of which seems wrong and unconstitutional to this non-law school educated bloke.

Basically, the way the Press-Telegram tells it:

The City Council introduced changes Tuesday night that double the maximum fine for those convicted of having illegal fireworks and give Los Angeles County Sheriff's deputies the power to cite drinkers in public and unenclosed private open areas such as a resident's front and side yards that are not gated or fenced.

The deputies' authority also expands to those having an open container of alcohol in public areas such as parks, parking lots and hospitals.

The council followed suit with state law by increasing the maximum fine from $500 to $1,000.


Sheriff's Lt. Mark Weldon said the department's intention is to use this new authority to cite raucous drinkers causing repeated neighborhood disturbances, not individuals quietly enjoying a drink.

That may be their intentions, but property rights should still matter and I still don't like the fact that they will have this new unjust authority to enter someone's property just because there is no fence. If I am drinking on my friend's front porch, enjoying the evening, they should not have the authority to enter the premises. It's real simple.

If we are breaking the law, about to break the law, then fine. Come on in. Do your job. However, I do not like police having this authority (of course, considering no law is being violated; if one was, then they could enter whether or not I was drinking). I wonder if challenges to laws like these have reached the Supreme Court.

Growing big government worries me, and growing police authority when someone is not breaking a real law worries me more.

Guess I will have to bring an E-Z put-up fence with me from now on.

No comments: