The ACLU has filed a complaint against the Customs and Border Patrol and the Woodstock Police Department calling the Immigrations stops done on I-93 in Woodstock last summer unconstitutional.
When I first read about this story last summer my legal brain was triggered. Customs and Border stops are routine and completely legal under the Constitution assuming all proper procedures are followed. In summary thoss procedures are: the stops must be brief, they must let locals go through, and they must be within 100 miles of the border. Seems simple enough right?
Well, that is until the WoodstoCK PD got involved.
During the checkpoint (hereinafter, “the August 2017 checkpoint”), CBP stopped vehicles and directed them to a primary checkpoint location where CBP agents asked about passengers’ citizenship. While these vehicles were stationary, approximately three CBP agents utilized their drug-detection dogs to perform “pre-primary free air sniffs” of the vehicles waiting to go through the primary checkpoint. See Sixteen Police and Border Patrol Reports from Aug. 2017 Checkpoint, attached as Ex. 3. If a dog alerted to an odor that it is trained to detect, the K9-agent alerted the primary agent who then sent the vehicle to a secondary checkpoint for further investigation. See, e.g., Godwin Aug. 26, 2017 CBP I-44 form, at DEF050, attached as Ex. 3. Once in the secondary checkpoint, CBP searched the vehicles. If contraband was found, CBP surrendered it to the WPD, which was at the scene of the checkpoint. The WPD then charged these individuals in state court for violating State Law.
By getting involved Woodstock PD trampled on the rights of every citizen who drove through that check point, having the Feds do their “dirty work”. They created a drag net that violates our 4th Amendment rights.
I have no issues with the limited scope of CBP stops, but they must be kept on a tight leash. Hopefully the judge throws out the entire stop and any evidence siezed is tossed.