10/3/2005South Carolina: Public Opinion About Roadblocks Irrelevant
Police in Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina will not allow a survey of motorists stopped at safety roadblocks.
Mount Pleasant, South Carolina police will not allow an opinion survey of motorists stopped at police roadblocks. Last Thursday, the Charleston County Libertarian Party attempted to distribute a questionnaire to motorists who had just passed through a police "safety checkpoint," but were rebuffed by police officials. Their survey asked three questions:
"1. Do you consider this police roadblock, set up to detect ordinary crimes, as having violated your right to be secure in your person against unreasonable searches?
"2. Do you consider this roadblock as having violated your constitutional protection against unreasonable invasions of privacy?
"3. Should these types of roadblocks be prohibited in South Carolina as they are in some other states such as Texas?"
A police spokesman explained that they could not allow volunteers to stand in the road because it would create liability concerns. As an alternative, the police suggested that a random public opinion survey could be used.
Ed Haas, vice-chairman of the Charleston County Libertarian Party, countered that a random survey would not be accurate. "What we want to collect is actually data that can be used to determine whether the public thinks the usage of police roadblocks in Charleston County to detect ordinary crimes violates Sec. 10 of the Constitution of South Carolina," Haas said.