Friday, April 4, 2014

INDIANA JONES?

Here is what the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution says:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, house, 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.

Now here is what I learned today on my AOL news page:

The FBI is removing thousands of artifacts from the home of 91 year old Donald Miller of Rush County, Indiana.

Miller, a world traveler, has been collecting artifacts for three quarters of a century for display in his homemade museum, which he shows to school children and neighbors in his rural Indiana home.

The FBI’s Special Agent, Drew Northern, told reporters that they were collecting and analyzing the artifacts with the goal of  “repatriation.” He was careful not to say whether they believed that Miller had stolen anything or broken any laws.

Citing  “complex state, federal and international laws’ Patty Gerstenblith, a professor of law at DePaul University in Chicago, noted that some countries, such as Egypt, forbid the export of any cultural objects that have been dug from the ground.

Among Miller’s treasures is a 60 foot long, four foot wide anaconda snakeskin, and a collection of human skulls, one with an arrowhead stuck in it. Upstairs is a pipe organ which Miller plays for visitors.

Donald Miller is a community treasure in his hometown of Waldron, Indiana. An active church member and local philanthropist, he is somewhat of an artifact himself. Claiming, among other things, to have been involved in the development of the atom bomb while in uniform during WWII, Miller regales listeners with tales of meeting such historically significant people as J. Robert Oppenheimer, Enrico Fermi, Albert Einstein and Harry S. Truman.

His tales of artifact collecting adventures mark him as a real life Indiana Jones, the State of Indiana’s own.

Fascinating as Donald Miller’s story may be, what caught my Constitutionally interested attention was the report that the FBI was not claiming that Miller had broken any law, nor were they claiming that a warrant had been issued, or that there was probable cause to suspect that a law had been broken by anyone.

I’m sorry, but I just don’t get it.

Here are swarms of officers of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, entering this man’s home, without a warrant, without any particular description of the things to be seized, with absolutely no legal or constitutional authority so far as anyone can tell, except that there are “complex laws” both domestic and international which the FBI is relying on.

And what do they propose to do with the artifacts they are stealing from Mr. Miller?

They are going to catalog them, and then they are going to “repatriate” them.

When I was in law school, I learned about the writ of replevin. When someone had something that belonged to you, you went to court and asked for a writ that would give the sheriff the authority to go and get your stuff.

Whose stuff does Mr. Miller have?  And how is it that the government is taking stuff away from Mr. Miller that they say belongs to somebody else, but they don’t know what stuff or who it might belong to?

I smell a rat. A political rat. I smell a favored Middle Eastern nation expecting our government to jump through unconstitutional hoops just to prove that they can make the United States of America grovel.

It makes me sick.



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