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Thread: US Coast Guard Says "We Don't Need No Stinking Warrant"

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    Default US Coast Guard Says "We Don't Need No Stinking Warrant"

    Interview with top US Coast Guard Official in BoatUS Magazine Meet USCG Rear Admiral Dean Lee - BoatUS Magazine

    Quote: "We have the authority to stop and board any U.S. registered vessel, pretty much anywhere. As we don't have the luxury of obtaining a warrant, we can search a vessel if we have reasonable suspicion that there is a violation of federal law. Our ultimate goal is to clear a vessel and make sure all are safe onboard. However, the big difference is that most law enforcement needs to have probable cause, where we have a lesser threshold of reasonable suspicion to conduct a search."

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    Nothing new, been like that since 1790;

    Coast Guard Boardings and Your Fourth Amendment Rights, Part 2 | Sailfeed

    There have been literally Thousands of lawsuits over the last 222 years, (Boating rights under the 4th amendment) and None have ever been won!

    .[/QUOTE]

    Why can the Coast Guard search our boats without a warrant or probable cause, when the police can’t search our homes, cars, offices, motorhomes etc.?
    It’s always been this way. The same congress that passed the Bill of Rights passed the Revenue Service Act of 1790, which gave revenue cutters the right to search any vessel anywhere in US waters, and any US-flagged vessel anywhere in the world.
    Our fledgling nation was strapped for cash, and tariffs were the way to solvency. This was controversial even back in 1790, since many of our gripes against the British, as stated in our Declaration of Independence, had to do with tariffs (see Boston Tea Party). The crews of revenue cutters were allowed to board vessels to make sure they’d paid the tariffs on their cargoes.
    Various parties have challenged Coast Guard boardings and suspicionless searches in the highest courts, but the courts have consistently upheld the Coast Guard’s right to board vessels under the Revenue Cutter Act of 1790, and its subsequent variations.
    A boater who’s a bit miffed about a Coast Guard search usually gets over it after a few weeks and takes it no further than kvetching to his friends. He doesn’t spend hundreds of thousands of dollars and years of his life trying to overturn a 222-year-old law.
    So what does it take to have our constitutional rights extended to the water, an Act of Congress?
    Actually yes, I think it would take an Act of Congress. I’m no lawyer, but court cases hinge on case law and precedence, and when we’ve got 222 years of precedence for suspicionless searches, not even the Supreme Court can just have a change of heart. The next time they try a Coast Guard boarding case under the Fourth Amendment, I’m guessing it will go the way it’s gone ever since the Revenue Cutter Act of 1790. For the law to change, it would take a movement in Congress–with pressure from a grass roots movement that starts right here!–to extend privacy rights to the water. .[/QUOTE]
    Last edited by Seatux; 03-24-2014 at 05:10 PM.

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