Friday, January 27, 2012

How Do You Say "Fourth Amendment" in Mexican?

So, here's a thing that happened here.  Bunch of stoner-looking guys were walking down the street, clearly guilty of being slightly unkempt, and so a cop stops them, carries out a "routine inspection" and, wouldn't ya know it - weed!  And, because this was their lucky day, it happened right where all the local news photographers hang around waiting to stenographize politicians's utterances. Bummer, dudes!

 
Let's put aside for now their mistake in breaking Burro Hall's Golden Rule #1 For Living in Mexico: "Never ever be in possession of any drugs, ever - whatta you, fuckin' stupid? You see Midnight Express? Yeah, we know it's Turkey - don't be a smart-ass." Instead, we're curious about the "routine inspection" part. We've tried a couple of times to read the State Civil Code [pdf], but it turns out to be just as impenetrable as an American legal code, only in Spanish. So here's our question for locals, Mexicans or people who are simply smarter than us (that would be all of you who live east of the Sea of Cortes): cops can just stop you and go through your shit? Seriously - one of the hardest things for a foreigner here is figuring out what his rights are. Does the fact that a dude smells like patchouli constitute probable cause? Or can cops just make this stuff up?

[Clarification:  Despite the poor phrasing, we're asking about Mexicans' rights.  We assume foreigners' rights are whatever the police say they are at any given moment (hence, Golden Rule #1 above), but if we were going to act under the assumption that most cops don't actually know the law very well (this has been our experience whenever we've had a run-in), what's the actual law as regards unwarranted searches and seizures on the street?]

13 comments:

Crazy Rita said...

It took me a minute but I finally got the gist of the east of the Sea of Cortez comment. I don't know the answer to your question, but highly suspect that foreigners have NO rights. However I wouldn't even dream of deluding myself as smarter than you.

Burro Hall said...

Living in Reynosa cost you a few points, but you're still pretty smart.

I should clarify that I mean what's the law for Mexicans.

Dave said...

I just checked with my wife, (who's family apparently has managed a pattern of staying out of trouble with all but the traffic cops) and got this response that sounds, well, a bit Mexican... "Well, I'm not a lawyer.... but I guess there is a limit also, but it is trespassed all the time."

There is a lawyer in the family too, but considering end of her comment and my (limited) knowledge of the legal system there, I'm guessing it really doesn't matter.

Mike Dunne said...

I've waited a minute and I still don't get the "east of the Sea of Cortez" remark. Could you clarify for those of us west of the Sea of Cortez?

Maggie said...

No way Frank - you and Richard dragged me into this months ago - you started it with your bullshit emails about Fulano's identity.

You are abusive and you need to cut the crap. So, it's okay for your cabal to be abusive and deceitful, and it's not okay for me to react?

FUCK YOU I fucking hate you and your faggot friends.

Oddly Frank, just a few months ago you said I had the best news source coming out of TJ - what happened ? I'M STILL THE SAME, NOTHING HAS CHANGED ON THIS END.

You know, Linton didn't have shit to say about what was going on down here until he absolutely had to, what a phoney.

FUCK YOU

ABUSIVE FUCKING PRICK

Why don't you go pick on some real assholes? Oh right, I forgot - your boy Linton was right there in the Baja Nomads supporting George Bush.

FUCK YOU

Burro Hall said...

Southeast Asia. [rimshot]

Maggie said...

Right Frank, like you say - whatever. We'll see how far you can get listing my blog here under a weird name without my permission.

Oh well, the emails are in good hands.


Faggot. Damn I knew it all the time, you didn't suck Linton's cock, you sucked Cheney's. Well actually you probably sucked em both.

LOL

Anonymous said...

Cop (aka Dude)¨ Hey ninos, looks like you have some good herb¨
Stoners (aka pothead) ¨Dude, I got nothing man.
Cop ¨I am really not a cop I am a zeta and I need to see if you are doing our stuff or the other guy´s (gulf dudes) herb. Show me the herb.
Stoner ¨sure dude, look it has your trademark¨
Cop ¨have a nice day¨+

bicyclepirate said...

Article 16 of the Mexican federal constitution would seem to protect against a search of a person without a warrant, unless that individual was in the act of committing a crime, or had just committed a crime.
But, everyone knows the rights elaborated in the constitution are only honored in the breach.

Anonymous said...

Same as in NYC, "stop and frisk". It does not happen by nationalities but by race.

Anonymous said...

tomorrow's story
http://www.newyorker.com/arts/critics/atlarge/2012/01/30/120130crat_atlarge_gopnik

Anonymous said...

one more Burro. "Like Water for Chocolate" was banned in arIZoNA

http://www.progressive.org/banned_in_tucson.html

Burro Hall said...

In fairness, it's a really annoying book.