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Thread: Probable cause, fishing, and troopers

  1. #1
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    Default Probable cause, fishing, and troopers

    I thought I would throw this out for others to consider. The request for a fishing license by a trooper without probable cause may be a violation of our fourth amendment rights. For example, just because you have a license plate on your car is not sufficient grounds for being pulled over and having your driving license inspected. The same goes is for fishing. If the officer lacks probable cause that a violation has occurred, why does a person have to present a fishing license for inspection and/or have their belongings searched? The current process is "guilty until proven innocent." Is simply catching a fish in a designated area or even fishing for a fish or dipnetting for a fish probable cause of wrong doing? Therefore, arbitrarily requesting a fishing license without probable cause of any wrong doing seems to be trending on your constitutional rights.

    I found an interesting court case where John Mark Colosimo of Minnesota refused to allow a conservation officer to search his boat because the officer lacked "probable cause."

    State of Minnesota, Respondent, vs. John Mark Colosimo at: http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/scripts/getcase.pl?court=mn&vol=apppub%5C0207%5Cc7012181&i nvol=1

  2. #2

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    By law, you have to show your license upon request. Probable cause has nothing to do with it.

    http://www.legis.state.ak.us/cgi-bin...dll/aac/query=[group+5+aac+75!2E001!3A]/doc/%7Bt23426%7D/pageitems=%7Bbody%7D?

    5 AAC 75.005. Possession of licenses, stamps and harvest record

    All persons engaged in sport fishing or in possession of fish must show their sport fishing licenses, Harvest Records and special permits or stamps to any local representative of the department or to any peace officer of the state upon his request.


    http://www.sf.adfg.state.ak.us/state...tewideregs.cfm

  3. #3

    Default Warrantless searches

    Here is the section dealing with this in Alaska. Note the part about being reasonable and not protected. This is the major place they derive the authority to check your catch and such. Hope this helps clear this up, as a lot of folks only know about the written search warrant law we have and not this one.


    Sec. 16.05.180. Power to search without warrant.
    Each peace officer designated in AS 16.05.150may without a warrant search any thing or place if the search is reasonable or is not protected from searches and seizures without warrant within the meaning of art. I, Sec. 14, Alaska State Constitution, which specifically enumerates "persons, houses and other property, papers and effects." However, before a search without warrant is made a signed written statement by the person making the search shall be submitted to the person in control of the property or object to be searched, stating the reason the search is being conducted. A written receipt shall be given by the person conducting the search for property which is taken as a result of the search. The enumeration of specific things does not limit the meaning of words of a general nature.
    Now just why in the hell do I have to press "1" for English???

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    Quote Originally Posted by akkona View Post
    By law, you have to show your license upon request. Probable cause has nothing to do with it.

    All persons engaged in sport fishing or in possession of fish must show their sport fishing licenses, Harvest Records and special permits or stamps to any local representative of the department or to any peace officer of the state upon his request.


    http://www.sf.adfg.state.ak.us/state...tewideregs.cfm
    That pretty well sums it all up. I personally don't have a problem showing I'm legal and I must admit that I delight in seeing the skags that are illegal getting tickets. I find it satisfying that our tax dollars are at work and feel releif when I see someone busted that is doing wrong; that helps offset the tax dollars

    Why would anyone be ticked at having to follow the law on this? If you're legal, you have nothing to worry about. If the fish are running and you have to stop and show a license; big deal... they are going to still be running. If the fish ARE NOT running, big deal again; you get to chat it up with a peace officer and may find out that they are running somewhere else if you talk nicely to them... I'm sure they get enough attitude as it is; let's lighten up on them and show some appreciation. just my $.02 worth.
    Last edited by Back Country Robb; 08-04-2007 at 20:27. Reason: spelling
    "He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit is better than he who takes a city." ~ Proverbs 16:32

  5. #5

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    I absolutely agree. They can and do check licenses and coolers, and are empowered by law to do so by different laws. I applaud them for doing their jobs.
    Now just why in the hell do I have to press "1" for English???

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    Sounds like the same sort of argument used by the guys who say the gov'mnt doesn't have the authority to levy an income tax........

    I agree that they should be checking licenses, limits, methods and means and that by the mere act of going fishing we grant them the authority to do so.

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    I will be the naysayer here. I am rather surprised that so many conservatives are in favor of having their individual rights taken away as well as voluntarily having their fourth amendment rights taken away in order to go fishing.

    Let me see the intent of the law is based on a "presumption of guilt" when a person is using a fishing method or means. I fail to see any other legal activity where a person is viewed as "guilty" and thus needs to prove their innocence without having done anything that would warrant such surveillance other than have a fishing rod in their hand.

    Please note this has nothing to do with whether troopers are nice guys or not. Most fish and game folks are descent people -- however, there are some strays that abuse their position and should be reassigned and/or sent out of the state.

  8. #8

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    Why would you even bring this up... fishing is fishing, dont go looking for problems to cause. If youre doing it legal, take 10 minutes out of your time. If youre not, good thing you were caught anyway, maybe next time you'll think... and be nice they might give you a ticket or warning instead of taking your boat/car....

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    Default Checking you out

    Glad to see them out there checking people. They are there to manage the resources and enforce the rules, in my opinion if you don't want them to check you, don't go...then you won't be checked. And I have been stopped for random vehicle checks along certain highways before...was that a violation of my rights? Guess I could choose not to drive a car too...then I would not be asked for license and registration.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Back Country Robb View Post
    If you're legal, you have nothing to worry about.
    I could see where this statement, if used to justify any/all searches of individuals or the property of individuals under any circumstance (and I'm not saying that the person who said it meant it this way), could be somewhat troublesome. However, I agree with others here that I would be more than happy to show proof that I'm fishing legally and would love to see those who are not, get busted.

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    I always fish legal and read the regulations prior to fishing. I have never gotten a fishing citation. However, the point being made or explored here is that I see no reason to request a fishing license when nothing wrong has occurred. This is a problem because it is a "presumption of guilt" and without any probable cause. However, if someone is doing something illegal (e.g., snagging in fresh water, going over the limit, fishing in a closed area, etc.) that is grounds for requesting a fishing license and throwing the book at them.

    I see this as similar to driving - if your are speeding, driving erratically, failing to turn on turn signal, not wearing a seat belt, etc. you should be pulled over and have your license checked and may be given a citation. Yet, if you are driving without violating Alaska roadways laws there is no reason for you to be pulled over. The exception here would be if someone with a similar car was involved in criminal activities -- probable cause.

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    [quote=AKFishOn;1305 And I have been stopped for random vehicle checks along certain highways before...was that a violation of my rights? Guess I could choose not to drive a car too...then I would not be asked for license and registration.[/quote]

    Yes according to the supreme court and the 4th Amendment it is a violation of your rights!!And they can only ask for your licence and registration if you've been stopped for violating the law!
    The problem isn't getting asked to present your papers comrade the problem is that the state and the feds can't follow there own rules!
    Sure there is a loophole for proving that your fishing legally on the books but that doesnt mean it's anymore constitutional than the FCC or banning guns from national parks! Personally when I see A Trooper checking licences and ignoring the guy 10 feet away doing the keani two step I think "ya fascist uphold the law as concerned with obvious offenders and leave me alone". Are Riverrat and I the only patriots left? are we the only ones who care about our rights as the constitution spelled them out? The state can already seize your home and give it to a private developer if the state can prove it would increase there tax base whats it going to take to get you to stand up and say enough is enough I'm tired of you using the Constitution as toilet paper? For those who would call fishing a privilege not a right I would point out that in Alaska every citizen owns 1/650000 of those fish it's bad enough that Alaskan residents need a licence to harvest there own fish let alone have someone demanding to see your papers!

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    If you want to be checked (random or check point), head down to San Diego, drive highway 5 just North of the boarder, the Highway Patrol often set up check points.
    License and registration is what they ask for, illegal’s from across the board are what they are looking for. I guess they could claim probable cause by all that travel the road as I imagine there are a lot of people who are not suppose to be in the US traveling the road. I also imagine the same could be say for your favorite stream, maybe they claim probable cause because the statistics say that when they check 100 people 4 of them are breaking the rules/laws.

    Licenses pay for managing the fish to among other things I have no issues with paying for a license.

    Maybe another analogy is have you ever been asked for ID when you buy a beer. Why ask for that, guess they are enforcing a law much like asking for a fishing license.

    Just my thoughts, I'm for them checking even if it is to just keep the honest person honest.

  14. #14
    Member Rick P's Avatar
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    The 4th amendment reads "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". In the 1980's these right were extended by the supreme court to include your car. So given California's stated policy of not checking immigration status what are they really looking for? And what probable cause do they have? Statistics? Really as my Statistics professor in college pointed out you can develop a statistical study to prove anything you want, including gum chewing leads to murder! So I'd say they are on really shaky ground constitutionally. And I hardly think searching everyone because of a 4% violation rate is reasonable.

    Yes a portion of your license fee dose pay the budget of F&G, but that still doesn't give them the right to violate the state and federal constitution! Nor is the simple act of fishing probable cause.

    As too the Beer analogy it is a private citizen asking for your ID and there is a age limit on the purchase of alcohol. There is no such limit on fishing. Also you can refuse to let a store clerk search your car or cooler, try that with a state trooper!

    The 4th amendment was enacted too protect the honest from government interfeirence. Next time F&G or a state trooper asks for your licence take a moment and think...dose fishing automatically mean I'm a criminal? Dose the simple act of feeding my family with the fish I already own violate any laws? Where is the probable cause that I've committed a crime? Am I truly secure in my "person, home, papers and effects" as long as any state representative can go through my papers belongings and vehicle simply because I was fishing legally?.....I'm reminded of the words my favorite founding father had too say more than 2 centuries ago "Those who would give up freedom in the name of security deserve neither" Ben Franklin.

    In this Alaskans opinion you'd better start standing up for the rights you have no matter how small because the bigger rights are next! Make no mistake folks the greatest threat to your freedom is not the terrorists it is the federal and state government! That's why the founding fathers gave us the Bill of Rights and more specifically the 2nd amendment.

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    Default 4th Amendment or no...

    this law will stand, as long as it's not challeneged by anyone...bad laws are written as long as good men do nothing...

  16. #16

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    I must be missing something here. If I you are fishing and an officer asks to see your license how is that considered a "search" . The officer is not accusing you of anything, he is just checking your license.

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    Default It's just like being pulled over...

    & being checked to see if you have a driver's license on you, even though you broke no law...

    I remember in Wisconsin, the conservation officers would sit & wait & watch to see if you broke any laws, & then approach & ask for ID's & licenses...

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    LastSplash,

    I agree "checking" does not mean seize or searching, they are just checking.

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    Next time an officer asks for your license, politely say no thank you. See what happens. I'm betting nothing if he/she doesn't have probable cause.
    The individual right to keep and bear arms shall not be denied or infringed by the State or a political subdivision of the State.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gogoalie View Post
    & being checked to see if you have a driver's license on you, even though you broke no law...

    I remember in Wisconsin, the conservation officers would sit & wait & watch to see if you broke any laws, & then approach & ask for ID's & licenses...
    I can't speak for other states, but here in AK, we have to have probable cause to pull a vehicle over.
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