X-Ray Backscatter vans and searches...

Discussion in 'National Laws, Bills and Politics' started by Montieth, Oct 1, 2010.

  1. Montieth

    Montieth Active Member

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    What are the Legal thoughts on the use of the X-Ray Backscatter technology to drive down a street and scan every car that police pass for illegal items like bombs? Where will this go when they scan someone's car and perform a hands on search to seize the firearms within? How the heck does this work or pass muster given the opinion in Kyllo v US. Is that different because it's a home and not vehicles?

    I'm quite concerned about this given that I go to WWII events with a truck and will often be carrying firearms and other gear for the event. I'm curious if I can refuse a search at a roadside check. More so for driving around in a normal situation where I'm armed or have firearms in my car and my vehicle is scanned by police with van equipped as above.
     
  2. RedLeg17

    RedLeg17 Active Member

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    If they're scanning from the side, lay the weapons so that it is laying across the cargo area, not front to back. Although, a backscatter scan is better at detecting organics (explosives) than metallic items.
     

  3. gunsmoker

    gunsmoker Lawyer and Gun Activist

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    I think it could go either way.
    THere is a huge "vehicle exception" to the 4th Amendment.
    Because vehicles are mobile, they are NOT like a home or business. At a building the cops can stake-out the location, gather intelligence from neighbors, and try to get a warrant to search when they think they have probable cause.
    With a vehicle moving down the road, there are a lot fewer effective options for how to gather information about it. And you can't expect that when you find enough information to give you P.C. to search it or arrest the occupants, the vehicle will still be within sight, still in your jurisdiction, etc.

    Morally, it's a no-brainer. Using backscatter technology is a search. Just like if the cops opened your doors, the hood, the trunk, and even made you open your bags and boxes that you were transporting.

    Legally, I think it could go either way. Judges will hesitate to deny law enforcement an effective tool, IF it looks like it would be effective, and not interfere with the travel plans of innocent people.
     
  4. mountainpass

    mountainpass Under Scrutiny

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    I see a new market for lead sheetrock.

    As a stopgap...where can I get some lead paint?
     
  5. 45_Fan

    45_Fan Well-Known Member

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    I think it needs caselaw. I think guiding principals for that caselaw will come out once SCOTUS rules on GPS trackers and expectations of privacy in public places.

    Technology is leading law at this point and it is going to take time to sort it all out. Here are some of my what-if thoughts on where the technology could wind up:
    Scanning Times Square for quantities of explosives 4 oz or greater from a UAV at 60k feet.
    Scanning and cataloging the contents of any vehicle passing a given point on any roadway.
    Scanning every vehicle for humans hidden in secret compartments during Amber alerts.
    Remote BAC detection from similar distances as radar guns.

    I think the courts are going to be busy for a while...
     
  6. Puffyfish

    Puffyfish New Member

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    This! When done properly they can't see diddly.
     
  7. RedLeg17

    RedLeg17 Active Member

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    Exactly! I have experience (2 years) operating an AS&E system....... a lot of their effectiveness comes from the operator's ability to distinguish what he's looking at, a weapon X-rayed from an angle looking into the barrel and down the item lengthwise is REALLY hard to identify.
     
  8. CountryGun

    CountryGun New Member

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    Is this the same xray that's used on truckers in weigh stations?
     
  9. RedLeg17

    RedLeg17 Active Member

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    From what I saw in the video, the system they used was a similar setup to what I used..... the X-ray emitter is in the body of the truck, the boom that is extended over the target vehicle contains the detectors for the "transmission" image. If the system has "backscatter" capabilities, those detectors will be in the body of the scan vehicle. The boom in all the systems that I've seen is at a slight angle off of perpendicular to the scan vehicles body, so the image does have a little bit of depth, but an item not laying on the lengthwise axis of the target vehicle will still have a much smaller crossection.
     
  10. GAGunOwner

    GAGunOwner Active Member

    My guess is that the "plain view doctrine" will be used to justify it.
     
  11. gruntpain1775

    gruntpain1775 New Member

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    You you serious? That's ridiculous. Unless everyone has the ability to use xray vision as their "plain view" it won't happen. Seriously, use your head.....it will be justified under the Commerce clause......... :mrgreen:
     
  12. GAGunOwner

    GAGunOwner Active Member


    Yes, I think they will use that, or some similar reasoning, to justify it.
     
  13. gunsmoker

    gunsmoker Lawyer and Gun Activist

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    How will it be legal?

    Maybe the government will operate under an "implied consent" theory, and say that if you cannot operate or even occupy a vehicle on public roads (which is considered a privilege, not a right) unless you give up the right to be scanned (which, unlike a search, does not require you to be detained even temporarily, nor approached by gun-toting agents of the State).

    Maybe the government will say that driving an automobile is a "highly regulated activity" where your expectations of privacy are greatly diminished. And in modern post-911 times, they might say, you are not REASONABLE to have an expectation of privacy from being sniffed, scanned, X-rayed, or any other such non-search.

    But the most likely way the courts would uphold it is to say it's not a "search" at all, nor a "seizure." The "plain view" doctrine would not apply, but some other theory might be stretched to cover it.

    BUT, I think the courts will disapprove of backscatter x-rays, which see through walls and clothes. Other types of sniffing the air around your vehicle for molecules of explosive materials may be OK. Scanning the exterior of your vehicle for radiation might be OK too, as long as they don't detain you to do it. (Or unless they set up a roadblock and detain everybody equally.)
     
  14. hillba

    hillba New Member

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    I dont think they are looking for anything with these xray machines they are cooking us to death slowly.How much radiation does ones body get with this type of xray, does anybody no for sure.
     
  15. RedLeg17

    RedLeg17 Active Member

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    I do.....

    the answer is: very little.
     
  16. mountainman444

    mountainman444 Active Member

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    When they x-ray a commercial motor vehicle they ask you if there is anyone else or pets in the truck. Then they start the x-ray behind the driver's seat (right at the sleeper) so "in theory" you're not exposed (much).

    These x-ray machines can't "see" anything without a receiver on the other side can they? If this is true how could they x-ray a house? And they sure wouldn't just randomly x-ray every car at a road block, would they?
     
  17. gruntpain1775

    gruntpain1775 New Member

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    I was sorta joking around. Lol.
     
  18. Campeck1911

    Campeck1911 New Member

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    "Traditional X-ray machines detect hard and soft materials by the variation in transmission through the target; in contrast, backscatter X-ray detects the radiation that reflects back from the target. It has potential applications in situations where non-destructive examination is required, and can be used even if only one side of the target is available for examination."

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Backscatter_X-ray
     
  19. mountainman444

    mountainman444 Active Member

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    Thanks for your reply. Now that I have gone out and done some research on Backscatter I have a question. All the pictures I've seen with Backscatter are very shallow, meaning they just (basically) go through the outer skin of a vehicle. They don't have a lot of depth to them. If the contraband (people, bombs, weapons) was in the center of the load would it still show up? Or maybe at least show up as a strange "shadow" in the middle? If you're in a war zone do they help out a lot or are they just "better than nothing"? I guess I'm just asking how deep will it show in a stack of something? And lastly (maybe), do you have to have 2 machines (1 on each side) to shoot both sides of the load and into the middle?

    Here is an example of what I'm talking about. Thanks

    http://media.defenseindustrydaily.com/i ... Ray_lg.jpg
     
  20. Vern

    Vern New Member

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    Just get you an armored vehicle. Can't see anything through them with the scanners.

    Anyone ever see the Discovery show about East Berlin and how they spied on all of their people? History repeats itself.