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George "geohot" Hotz Arrested In Texas For Posession of Marijuana 578

Posted by timothy
from the such-a-nice-drug-war-you've-got-going dept.
n1ywb writes "Goerge 'geohot' Hotz, famous for being the first to jailbreak an iPhone and for his spat with Sony over PS3 jailbreaking, was busted for possession of a small amount of marijuana at a U.S. Border Patrol checkpoint in Texas on his way to SXSW. The shakedown goes like this: drug dogs are run around vehicles; when they signal, DHS searches the car and finds the contraband; DHS then turns evidence and suspects over to the local sheriff. Willie Nelson, actor Armie Hammer (who played the Winklevoss twins in The Social Network), and Snoop Dogg have all gotten in trouble at the same checkpoint under similar circumstances."
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George "geohot" Hotz Arrested In Texas For Posession of Marijuana

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 15, 2012 @01:45PM (#39367133)

    "Willie Nelson, actor Armie Hammer (who played the Winklevoss twins in The Social Network), and Snoop Dogg have all gotten in trouble at the same checkpoint under similar circumstances."

    And people say that pot doesn't make you stupid.

  • by mcmonkey (96054) on Thursday March 15, 2012 @01:45PM (#39367135) Homepage

    Why would you go through a border checkpoint with marijuana unless you wanted to get caught?

    • by tylersoze (789256) on Thursday March 15, 2012 @01:54PM (#39367331)

      Uh you do understand this "border" checkpoint is nowhere near the actual border, right? It's just some random spot on I-10 like a 100 miles from the border. Completely ridiculous.

      That said, you'd think people would have heard about this and avoid I-10 like the plague in that part of the state.

      • by Isaac-1 (233099) on Thursday March 15, 2012 @02:05PM (#39367559)

        The reality is the west Texas I-10 check point outside El Paso may be 30-40 miles from the city, but that stretch of I-10 closely (within 2-5 miles) parallel's the border for about 50-60 miles, and the checkpoint is located where the highway/border start to diverege.

        • by tylersoze (789256) on Thursday March 15, 2012 @02:13PM (#39367719)

          Fair enough, but some of them are at least 75 miles from the border it looks like.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Border_Patrol_Interior_Checkpoints [wikipedia.org]

          It's still ridiculous being subjected to this nonsense without probable cause. Of course, I also think sobriety check points are unconstitutional too. Even though I would never run afoul of either since I don't smoke or drink, I still care about our actual freedoms.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 15, 2012 @02:18PM (#39367787)

        I have a friend that lives in nogalas az, and he cant leave his own city without going through a checkpoint. Sure, the city is right next to the border, but it is in America, dammit. You shouldn't be subject to those intrusions everyday of your life just because of proximity to the border.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Uh you do understand this "border" checkpoint is nowhere near the actual border, right? It's just some random spot on I-10 like a 100 miles from the border. Completely ridiculous.

        That said, you'd think people would have heard about this and avoid I-10 like the plague in that part of the state.

        First, the checkpoint was in the vicinity of Sierra Blanca, TX, which is about 15 miles from the border (as the crow flies), not "like 100 miles from the border".
        Second, check a map. Avoiding I-10 in that area isn't practical if you want to get anywhere in a reasonable timeframe.
        Third (and most importantly), there's no reason for anyone to bring marijuana to to SXSW. Last time I checked, marijuana is plentiful in Austin.

      • by El Torico (732160) on Thursday March 15, 2012 @02:33PM (#39368049)
        I go one better, I avoid Texas like the plague, and much of the rest of the South (yes, I'm from the South). If I have to travel there, I always try to look like "landed Gentry" (kind of like Thurston Howell III crossed with Colonel Sanders).
      • by Sez Zero (586611)

        It was an Interior Checkpoint [wikipedia.org], which is the "third layer" of border patrol. The checkpoint in question [google.com] it only about 10 or 20 miles from the US-Mexico border, just to the east of El Paso, situated on a stretch of I10 that has very few alternate routes.

        I'm not sure about the legality or Constitutionality of these checkpoints, but if I were setting up a third layer to catch people that have slipped past the first two, this seems like a really good spot to do so.

        No highways to the east get any closer to the b

      • by twmcneil (942300) on Thursday March 15, 2012 @02:47PM (#39368275)
        Last week, I saw a car marked "Border Patrol" in the I-75 median half way between Tampa and Ocala. I could not for the life of me figure out what border the officer could possibly be patrolling. Obviously it was the border of insanity and he was on the other side.
    • by ISoldat53 (977164) on Thursday March 15, 2012 @01:54PM (#39367333)
      Some roads in Texas you have no choice but to drive through a checkpoint. I always avoid Texas. Not for that reason, just for general principles.
    • by TheNinjaroach (878876) on Thursday March 15, 2012 @02:00PM (#39367457)
      You must not be an American. In this corner of the world, we setup "border checkpoints" up to 100 miles away from the nearest border.

      Taking marijuana away George Hotz is only one of many important steps our government makes every day in order to keep us free.
      • by elrous0 (869638) *

        Think of it like that scene in Airplane 2 where heavily-armed terrorists are walking right through the security checkpoint while the TSA holds an old lady at gunpoint to search her purse.

  • Solution (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 15, 2012 @01:45PM (#39367143)

    Don't share a car with Willie Nelson and Snoop Dogg.

  • by Immostlyharmless (1311531) on Thursday March 15, 2012 @01:47PM (#39367193)
    How exactly these things (armed BP checkpoint charlies) are legal under the 4th Amendment.....they certainly shouldn't be. :(
  • jailbreak? (Score:5, Funny)

    by kirkb (158552) on Thursday March 15, 2012 @01:47PM (#39367195) Homepage

    Is he going to post bail to get out of jail legally, or just jailbreak?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 15, 2012 @01:48PM (#39367211)

    It is very key that the poster used the word "when" when referring to the drug dogs, rather than saying "if they signal". Multiple studies have shown that drug dogs are essentially a fraudulent way to get around probable cause during a vehicle stop.

    • by Uberbah (647458) on Thursday March 15, 2012 @02:06PM (#39367581)

      Yep. I saw a drug bust once...cops had a car surrounded and brought out the drug dog. Basically went like this:

      Cop points to the car and claps his hands.
      Dog looks at the car, looks back at the cop.

      Cop points to the car and claps his hands.
      Dog looks at the car, looks back at the cop.

      Cop points to the car and claps his hands.
      Dog looks at the car, looks back at the cop.

      After the third time, the cops go ahead and search the car, but I sure couldn't see any "tell" from the dog. Wish I'd recorded it with my cellphone and given it to the defense attorney, but 1. it was a night and 2. I had a really shitty cell phone at the time.

  • Meh (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anrego (830717) * on Thursday March 15, 2012 @01:49PM (#39367213)

    engineers and technical masterminds throughout the country would give their right arm for.

    Not me.

    I always questioned why the hell they hired him in the first place. I'm no fan of GeoHot .. but I recognize he has some serious skills. Why the hell would he want to crank out web apps for a living. He's an intelligent guy and all, but what the heck would he have done for them where his true skills would be of any real use (his actual code is pretty meh..).

    As for the story itself.. my god.. who cares. It's what.. a misdemeanour offense? He probably pleads guilty, pays a fine and goes home. He might not even see a jail cell in between.

    • Re:Meh (Score:5, Informative)

      by eratosthene (605331) <eratosthene AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday March 15, 2012 @02:04PM (#39367525) Homepage Journal

      Clearly you don't know very much about how many counties in Texas operate. Sure, in Travis county (where Austin is located), it would be a minor offense. Right next door in Williamson county? Any contraband, including just a pipe, will guarantee an overnight stay in jail. Paraphernalia is a minimum of $500 fine. An oz of weed could net you a year's probation. Anything over a gram of any other illegal substance will be a felony, with 4-10 years probation if you take the plea bargain. It's fucking sickening.

  • by ehiris (214677) on Thursday March 15, 2012 @01:49PM (#39367217) Homepage

    These checkpoints are not for those who cross the border. They are unconstitutional search and seizure checkpoints within the US. The pretense is that they are close to borders.

    If the borders are so well protected, why do they need these checkpoints? There is no warrant.

  • by swb (14022) on Thursday March 15, 2012 @01:50PM (#39367247)

    Even if you grant them mandatory illegal alien checkpoints, how is it possible for them to subject you to a search for something unrelated to border enforcement and prosecute you for it?

    I know we're largely flushing the entire constitution down the toilet these days, but this seems really egregious.

    I've been through the checks outside of Sierra Vista & Tombstone, AZ, and they were more or less roll to a stop, yes we are citizens, have a nice day. No dogs run around the car, no bullshit, although there were dogs at the checkpoints.

  • Shop local! (Score:5, Informative)

    by Matt_Bennett (79107) on Thursday March 15, 2012 @01:56PM (#39367377) Homepage Journal
    Austin is proud of its local businesses- 'Keep Austin Weird" is an advertising slogan of the Austin Business Alliance- Surely, he could have supported one of our local entrepreneurs and looked for a local source.
  • by cpu6502 (1960974) on Thursday March 15, 2012 @01:58PM (#39367415)

    Or possibly another one similar in design. The cops claimed the dog signaled the presence of drugs. The pastor knew that was a lie, and refused to exit the video, so the cops smashed-in the windows, drug the pastor out, and started beating him (the video is on youtube).

    Later in court it was discovered via testimony that the dog had NOT signaled and the cops were lying. They were/are just using the dogs to perform searches without cause. So the charges were dropped, and now the pastor is suing the police for damages to his car and person.

    According to several SCOTUS rulings, these checkpoints are legal but ONLY for the purpose of idenitfying illegals, or escaped criminals, but nothing else. And any contraband must be thrown out, since a judge-issued warrant was not obtained, and the search is unconstitutional. The cops are ignoring the justices rulings and arresting people anyway.

    • by Myopic (18616) * on Thursday March 15, 2012 @02:10PM (#39367645)

      Wow that's crazy. (Link?)

      So how many years are the cops spending in jail for violation of the public trust, battery, conspiracy to commit battery, vandalism, conspiracy to commit vandalism, and violation of civil rights? Also, if they physically moved the pastor more than ten feet (very likely), then I'd expect them to be prosecuted for kidnapping and conspiracy to commit kidnapping, too.

      Oh, what, zero years? You don't say...

    • My dad was pulled over the other day for talking on his cellphone. I was in the passenger seat and no one was using a cellphone, so it was clearly a bullshit stop. The cop looked the car over to find a reason to justify his search; he checked the registration sticker, the inspection sticker, the headlights, everything. My dad didn't have his driver's license at the time because the DMV lost it in the mail so the cop gave him a hard time about it. The cop then asked me for ID, so I handed him my business card. I'm a lawyer. The cop walked back to his car, came back a minute later, and said that we were free to go.

      Seriously, folks, cops can do really shady things. Don't get me wrong, I love cops because they've saved my ass a few times, but there are some rogue ones who really should be slapped down. I mean, if cops can lie to get you into tickets, then what the fuck incentive do we have for doing the right thing (aside from doing the right thing)?

    • by n1ywb (555767) on Thursday March 15, 2012 @02:24PM (#39367913) Homepage Journal
      According to OTHER SCOTUS rulings the cops can legally detain you for a LONG time (hours) and then walk a drug dog AROUND you car and if the dog signals (or if the cop SAYS the dog signals) they have probable cause to search. E.g. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Illinois_v._Caballes [wikipedia.org] Also the definition of a "reasonable amount of time" to detain somebody while waiting for a drug dog is very ambiguous; courts have found hours long detentions while waiting for drug dogs are legal.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by cpu6502 (1960974)

        You left-out an important detail: The driver had already committed a crime (speeding). The checkpoints along the border state highways are stopping-and-seizing drivers who are not guilty, and therefore it's an illegal warrantless search.

          It's just the same as if a cop went door-to-door and started sniffing around your home's doors. It's harassment and the reason the 4th amendment was created in the first place.

  • Terrible evil! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by bahstid (927038) on Thursday March 15, 2012 @02:18PM (#39367785)
    So geohot is in the top 10 programmers/hackers in the world...

    or the top 100..
    or top 1000
    or top 10000
    ...
    or top 10 000 000
    or whatever.

    lets forget the the multitude of "legitiate" uses of marihuana for a bit, and just wonder what exact detrimental effect the narcotic use thereof is supposedly having on its users that the government and its agents should be protecting us from.

    I know the the english word "assasin" is supposedly derived from the arabic for hashish, but I seriously want to know where the harm is when its not interfering with high-level functionality.
    • by forkfail (228161)

      Note on the whole hashasin thing: the reward for doing a killing was that they got to get high for the rest of their lives. The drug itself wasn't used in anyway during the actual killing.

  • by rjejr (921275) on Thursday March 15, 2012 @02:19PM (#39367823)
    I got stopped and searched at one of these checkpoints in 1988, 24 years ago. We were nowhere near the border, about 30 miles away, somewhere in Arizona. There weren't any dogs, just some guys in uniforms and mirrored Cool Hand Luke sunglasses. We had to get out of the car while they searched it. So, this isn't new, and it isn't near the border. And they don't stop doing it b/c it works. Probably shouldn't call it "border" patrol though, more like "rape your rights' patrol.
  • by sl4shd0rk (755837) on Thursday March 15, 2012 @02:35PM (#39368057)

    "He quit a job that engineers and technical masterminds throughout the country would give their right arm for. So now, there's another black spot on his record,..."

    Most hackers I know don't get their jollies sitting in a cube writing TPS reports. Sure, it pays well but I don't think Facebook would have much need for someone who's used to staring at de-compiled code or messing with JTAG cables . Don't diss him for not following the crowd; the most interesting hackers never do.

  • Slippery Slope (Score:5, Interesting)

    by tranquilidad (1994300) on Thursday March 15, 2012 @03:22PM (#39368817)

    These checkpoints represent the epitome of the slippery slope.

    I travel on this section of I-10 quite frequently driving from Scottsdale, Arizona to Baton Rouge, Louisiana. There are two permanent checkpoints on this stretch of I-10: just west of Las Cruces, New Mexico and east of El Paso (about 100 miles east). The U.S. Supreme Court held in U.S. v. Martinez-Fuerte that these permanent checkpoints were constitutionally reasonable seizures because they were minimal in scope and time. When stopped, the border patrol agent will ask if everyone in the car is a U.S. citizen.

    Then the slippery slope began and the border patrol started deploying drug detection dogs at the checkpoints. The dogs aren't generally used to do a walk-around of each vehicle. Instead, the handler and the dog are stationed down-wind of the vehicle. If the dog alerts while the occupants of the car are being asked about their citizenship then the handler and the dog will approach the car and attempt to do a more thorough check and/or search.

    Checkpoints to check for illegal drugs have already been ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. This type of hybrid check has not been challenged at that level yet.

    This is a classic example of a slippery slope where the government justifies an action for one reason and then starts piggybacking on top of that action.

    If any of the Supreme Court justices had actually driven through one of these checkpoints they would probably not have concluded that the stop was minimally invasive.

    It is outrageous to me that anyone driving down the highway in this country can be stopped, interrogated and searched.

    A side note: On my last drive through the checkpoint near Sierra Blanca, Texas on I-10 the car in front of me was released after answering the citizenship question. The drug dog and handler were next to my car, about 30 feet behind the car being checked, and the dog alerted. The border patrol called to the car to stop and the handler and dog approached the car. The dog immediately took a left turn and stuck his nose up the tailpipe of a border patrol pickup truck and either refused or couldn't extricate his nose. We had to wait a few minutes while they got the dog free from the pickup truck.

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