Ohio Man Arrested For Having Hidden Compartment In The Car . . . Without Drugs Or Guns

trap_car.jpgThere is a truly bizarre case out of Ohio where Norman Gurley, 30, was arrested for having a hidden compartment in his car. However, there were no drugs or guns or anything illegal in the compartment. Indeed, there was nothing illegal in the car or on Gurley. However, just have a hidden compartment in your car can now be charged as a crime in Ohio. It is part of the expanding criminalization of America where virtually any act can be charged as a crime by police.

Once again, the fault for this arrest rests with legislators who give little thought to adding more crimes to their state codes, often at the request of police or prosecutors. In this case, the legislators added the following crime: “No person shall knowingly operate, possess, or use a vehicle with a hidden compartment with knowledge that the hidden compartment is used or intended to be used to facilitate the unlawful concealment or transportation of a controlled substance.”

Note that prosecutors already have criminal enterprise and conspiracy laws to nail people involved in the drug trade. This crime turns on the dubious distinction of an intention to use the compartment for illegal purposes. Moreover, it allows for the proliferation of charges in cases where drugs are found. Instead of just being charged with the drug possession, intent to distribute, and other conventional charges, the Ohio prosecutors can add a charge for the actual compartment in the car. Such proliferation of counts allows prosecutors to force people to plead guilty to avoid long potential sentences.

Lt. Michael Combs said that the officers stopped the car and then noticed “components inside the vehicle that did not appear to be factory.” That led to a full search and arrest. Combs insisted “The law does help us and is on our side.” I am sure that it does. But giving police a myriad of ways to charge citizens hardly helps society. It encourages pretext stops and allows for full searches if police spot things that “do not appear to be factory.” We have previously discussed the problem of such pretextual stops. For a prior column, click here.

Source: CBS

49 thoughts on “Ohio Man Arrested For Having Hidden Compartment In The Car . . . Without Drugs Or Guns

  1. The so called “Drug War” has created a class of “law enforcement” professionals who have forgotten what the law is supposed to do. All of us are at risk.

  2. Government employees have way too much time and money on their hands. The police also have too much time on their hands if they are wasting time enforcing laws like this. I say take away their money and shorten their hours and these kinds of problems will go away.

  3. We have a sick society where the majority has to push their (dubious) morals on all of society. Stop the madness now. Most people decry the persecution of those not in the majority religion in the middle east but we have the exact same thing here. My god says you should not smoke pot so I will put you in jail if you do. Sick, we are sick society.

  4. Paul wrote: “My god says you should not smoke pot so I will put you in jail if you do. Sick, we are sick society.”

    I don’t think that I have heard a religious argument for not smoking pot. Where does the Bible or other religious book teach that?

    I think most of society is tired of the war on drugs. They should be legalized and regulated, and education should be the main force to curb its negative effects in society. This approach seems to have worked with cigarette smoking, although local prohibitions in the work place and public accommodations also had a hand in that.

  5. Jonathan, surely your staff will be challenging this idiot law. And thanks for the wonderful job you have done thus far on other such ridiculous legislation.

  6. davidblue, In the segregationist South, most of them had visual rape laws on the books to prosecute black men who looked at white women the wrong way. I think that some of the more rabid PC women would like to see that restored too.

  7. Once again, we see the result of the Tea party types in the GOP who scream about the Constitution and then support and vote for GOP judges who spit on it. The Chief Justice of the Court of Appeals in Sharon Keller who has committed perjury, fraud, and simply closes the court to make sure no appeals can be made to a death penalty case. My ex roomie has given me enough horror stories about these so called judges to last a lifetime.

    Justice in Texas means “just US, the rich and well connected” I have to admit that I have nothing but contempt for most of the judicial system in this state. It is a farce.

  8. Beoth 1, December 19, 2013 at 9:53 am

    How on earth do they plan to prove the knowledge requirement of that statute?
    ==========================
    That would seem to be the grounds for a motion to dismiss the charges.

    The statute has this language:

    [Preamble] To enact section 2923.241 of the Revised Code to prohibit designing, building, constructing, fabricating, modifying, or altering a vehicle to create or add a hidden compartment with the intent to facilitate the unlawful concealment or transportation of a controlled substance, prohibit operating, possessing, or using a vehicle with a hidden compartment with knowledge that the hidden compartment is used or intended to be used to facilitate the unlawful concealment or transportation of a controlled substance, and prohibit a person who has committed a first or second degree felony violation of aggravated trafficking in drugs from operating, possessing, or using a vehicle with a hidden compartment.

    (B) No person shall knowingly design, build, construct, or fabricate a vehicle with a hidden compartment, or modify or alter any portion of a vehicle in order to create or add a hidden compartment, with the intent to facilitate the unlawful concealment or transportation of a controlled substance.

    (C) No person shall knowingly operate, possess, or use a vehicle with a hidden compartment with knowledge that the hidden compartment is used or intended to be used to facilitate the unlawful concealment or transportation of a controlled substance.

    (I) This section does not apply to a box, safe, container, or other item added to a vehicle for the purpose of securing valuables, electronics, or firearms provided that at the time of discovery the box, safe, container, or other item added to the vehicle does not contain a controlled substance or visible residue of a controlled substance.

    (Ohio Legislation, emphasis added). So there is “with the intent to facilitate” and there is “with knowledge that the hidden compartment is used or intended to be used to facilitate“.

    The statute may be over-broad and/or ambiguous because it could apply to even the tires on the vehicle.

    And how, in terms of intent or knowledge, do they discern the deferences in section (I) and the other sections viz a viz whether such a box, safe, container, or other item is not what the defendant in this case had?

    And as you say, from the facts in the case how do they have probable cause to arrest absent a confession?

    The same could apply to a firearm in the sense that it could be used for bad.

    Therefore since the compartment could be used to conceal controlled substance, it must have been intended to be used in the future for that purpose alone out of many legal purposes (hiding valuables from thieves, etc.).

    Somebody call Maxwell Smart.

  9. Why do we ever accept crimes against the state? Just what is this “state”?

    Certainly not the people or an actual reflection of even the will of the majority. just a total farce of an excuse to enslave and control.

    Where’s the damaged party in a purported crime such as this one? Prosecutors should have to return to the days of having to prove an actual injury i order to prosecute. Remember “injuria absque damno”?

    This is why there is so much contempt for our present policy/political/police New World Order. Its nothing but a police state, which all statists models always have been, and those vested with financial interests will never admit it. And that includes most lawyers, judges, and everyone else that has their grubby little entitlement paws in the public purse. Just grant the state
    the authority over the currency system and this is inevitably the societal dunghill you will find yourself at the bottom of.

  10. I have the unfortunate habit of emitting a loud laugh whenever I hear the USA being praised for freedom and liberty. Ticks some folks off.

  11. The remarkable (remarkable to me, if to no one else) forms of group psychosis facilitated by humans’ mirror neuron system continues to intrigue and fascinate me.

    I happen to have an Amateur Radio Extra Class license issued by the Federal Communications Commission, and I have two motor vehicles with mobile amateur radio station installations, which I put together for possible use in disaster communication situations.

    The wiring from the receiving and transmitting apparatus to the antenna mounting is run, in one of the vehicles, through concealed spaces in the vehicle, those spaces being the essence of the vehicle’s monocoque design and construction. The motor vehicle manufacturer also used those concealed spaces as conduits for electrical wiring.

    Remove some trim pieces, whether made of metal, plastic, or something else, and every motor vehicle I have ever studied which is of monocoque design and construction has concealed spaces which someone could intend to use for concealed carry of illicit substances.

    And it gets better as it gets worse. Consider the four door sedan my wife and I acquired in 1986 for her to use to get to her work as a Chicago Public School teacher during the years 1986-1993. The back seat bottom was removable with effort, and there was a rather large concealed space under the back seat bottom cushion, a space large enough, I speculate, to hold perhaps a million dollars of street value of some illicit substance.

    What if “the rule of law” itself eventually becomes its own greatest violation?

    What if that violation is already an accomplished fact of law?

  12. @ Lrobby, whats more unfortunate is the fact that there aren’t more people like u and i who are aware and honest enough to laugh. People are deluded into believing their free and so our laugh makes them mad. When it becomes too late for the Honest to exhibit our laugh then get ready to swim in the river of tears. In the meantime, Honesty is the best policy.

  13. Dredd wrote, “And as you say, from the facts in the case how do they have probable cause to arrest absent a confession?”

    Try these two scenarios on for size.

    1. The cop excites his dog to declare the smell of drugs. Happens all the time., or

    2. Cop asks you to stand outside and because it appears that you are holding your buttcheeks tightly together that you must have drugs stuck up you arse. So its only logical then to assume that at some time in the past the drugs must have been in the concealed compartment.

    Oh you don’t recall the case about the buttcheeks and the exploratory surgery to find the nonexistent drugs, well it was posted on this blog sometime ago. Maybe somebody has the link.

    Listen when people are insane enough to believe they have the authority to initiate violence against others under color of government (statism), why would you think that probable cause would be hard to dream up?

  14. I notice he is black. Knowing how racist this country is I suspect this has something to do with it like Black + Secret Compartment = Probable Cause for Illegal Drugs. Either way, its pretty evil. Maybe you want to stash money in there according to your Magna Carta Rights that were apparently suspended by the NDA Act Jan 2012. I had a cop ‘smell drugs’ & ask to search my van, parked for selling rugs 100 feet from the road. I let him & he talked me into getting in the back of his cruiser while he looked. (a touch of guilty-before-proven-innocent as the back of a cop car is a mini jail) I immediately smelled what he had smelled in the back of the cops’ car! (there were two of them) The investigating cop did not find his meth lab in my van. They went on their way seemingly disinterested in my solving their problem by locating the actual source of the smell! (I’m Anglo Saxon White so I suppose I was cut some slack!)

  15. It is very simple, read the law again.

    “No person shall knowingly operate, possess, or use a vehicle with a hidden compartment with knowledge that the hidden compartment is used or intended to be used to facilitate the unlawful concealment or transportation of a controlled substance.”

    Let these cops and prosecutors “prove” that this man had knowledge that this compartment was “used or intended to be used” to facilitate the unlawful concealment or transportation of a controlled substance.

    This country is out of control. It really is only a matter of time before a few, then many, will head the words of Jefferson and refresh our liberty with new blood.

    The backlash against those who are todays current “Red Coats” will be furious when the first few citizens say enough is enough.

    Stephan Gregory Patterson

  16. Good point Darren. I do not understand how they get past the intent issue. Unnecessary law. I guess we should all stay out of Ohio if there are any non-factory installed accessories in out cars.

  17. Those officers would go into overload on any summer Saturday evening on our main street if they are looking for something “non-standard” as grounds for arrest.

    Years ago, one of the local drive-in restaurants had a “1950s Night” promotion. A few 1955, 56, and 57 Chevys and Fords showed up. The car owners started getting together and formed the Carter County Car Club. It just grew, so now the entire downtown is closed off and customized rides show up from all over the area, just for bragging rights. Link is to a recent cruise-in (photo heavy). Eye candy for all the gearheads:

    http://www.yenko.net/ubbthreads/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=375684&page=2

  18. On the matter of a private corporation pulling folks over for cheek swabs, there’s more to it than collecting dna. Here’s the story from Fort Worth

    http://www.nbcdfw.com/news/local/North-Texas-Drivers-Stopped-at-Roadblock-Asked-for-Saliva-Blood-232438621.html

    excerpt:
    But a Fort Worth attorney who is an expert in civil liberties law questioned whether such stops are constitutional.

    “You can’t just be pulled over randomly or for no reason,” said attorney Frank Colosi.

    He also noted the fine print on a form given to drivers informs them their breath was tested by “passive alcohol sensor readings before the consent process has been completed.”

    “They’re essentially lying to you when they say it’s completely voluntary, because they’re testing you at that moment,” Colosi said.

  19. randyjet
    1, December 19, 2013 at 10:31 am: “I think that some of the more rabid PC women would like to see that restored too. (southern visual rape laws to persecute black men.)
    ****

    Right, just like some men will go out of their way to perpetuate rape culture today:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/12/18/mens-rights-occidental-rape-reports_n_4468236.html

    ****
    As to the actual news item IMO under normal circumstances the ‘state’ would have a hard time making its case unless clairvoyance and prognostication is now a recognized proof of guilt.

  20. Can Ohio charge me with a criminal act by merely reading about this? Or, wondering where would be a suitable location in my own car for a hidden compartment?

    Because I haven’t done either.

  21. As I suggested before. Someone needs to place a copy of The Pentagon Pagers in one of those hidden compartments and then drive through Ohio and get pulled over. You then sue the igPays for abridging your First Amendment Right to Petition Your Government for Redress of Grievances. You could also put a copy of the Constitution in there.

  22. This summer I hear them coming.
    They’re probably on their way.
    Gonna get down to it.
    Solders are cutting us down.

    –Four Dead in O Hi O.

  23. itchinBayDog here. Here are the lyrics from Ohio. Neal Young.

    “Ohio”

    Tin soldiers and Nixon coming,
    We’re finally on our own.
    This summer I hear the drumming,
    Four dead in Ohio.

    Gotta get down to it
    Soldiers are cutting us down
    Should have been done long ago.
    What if you knew her
    And found her dead on the ground
    How can you run when you know?

    Gotta get down to it
    Soldiers are cutting us down
    Should have been done long ago.
    What if you knew her
    And found her dead on the ground
    How can you run when you know?

    Tin soldiers and Nixon coming,
    We’re finally on our own.
    This summer I hear the drumming,
    Four dead in Ohio.

  24. My half blind guy and I just left Target Store. We hide the credit cards in a secret compartment in the car. Why can’t we have a safe in our car
    in O H I O? I blame Nixon. I blame Ford. Then Reagan. Then Bush I and Bush II. Hotsie Tot Sie, I smell some Nazis.

  25. Putin has a law like this in Russia. Anyone have a problem with OHIO doing same? Ding dongs in OHIO. Fly over and flush.

  26. So is it illegal to have a money belt….. How about a hidden compartment in a wallet…. Are you guilty of money laundering…..

  27. Darren,

    That part of Ohio is policed by kangaroos….. And the court is officially known as the kangaroo court of common pleas…..

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