Syndicated columnis Marc Munroe Dion: Out here in search warrant country
As a resident of the urban Northeast, I'm in a very, very good position to write about search warrants, restraining orders and how to get on disability by faking a mental disorder called "agoraphobia."
To begin with, law enforcement has to ask a judge for a search warrant order, and they have to show the judge that they have good reason to believe you have a meth lab in your kitchen. It's not like ordering Chinese food.
As a street reporter for 40 years, I can tell you that most search warrants result in the officers finding something -- if not a meth lab, then at least some heroin, $17,000 in cash and a pistol with a quarter-pound of electricians tape on the handle.
Where I live, telling a friend that your cousin Stevie's apartment just got searched brings two questions.
The first question is, "Drugs?" The answer is, "Yes."
The second question is, "They find anything?" The answer is, "Yes."
After that, the two of you light cigarettes and maybe talk sports for a while.
No one in the history of my little city has ever complained that a search warrant was served "unannounced." The other criminals would laugh at you.
Former President Donald Trump complained that the Federal Bureau of Investigation showed up at his gaudy Florida mansion unannounced. This is the sure sign of a man who is used to having servants, or at least a doorman.
"Excuse me, Mr. Trump," the servant says. "The FBI is here."
"Show them in, Julio," Trump says.
"I'm Maria," the servant says.
"You're fired," Trump says, before lifting his ponderous old man loins out of a leather chair made from an entire rhino.
But even that prior notice via doorman wasn't what Trump really wanted, even though it's probably what he got.
What he wanted was a phone call, maybe a couple weeks in advance, so he could make the FBI wait around a little. Making people wait around is one of the greatest pleasures rich people have in their otherwise hugely enjoyable lives. If you're poor, you can't make people wait. If you do, you get fired, or a judge puts out a warrant for your arrest.
Where I live, the phrases you'll hear most often during the execution of a search warrant is, "Get down! I said get down! Now!" The phrases will be bellowed at you by the people who are executing the warrant, and those phrases are the hors d'oeuvres to a bullet, so you should get down.
Once you are down, the police will look for the drugs or cash or stolen car parts. They will turn over the mattress in the baby's crib. They will put their hand in the baby's diaper. They are quick, rough people, and they will move quickly and roughly through your house.
The cops won't say "get down!" to you if you live in a house with a name.
Trump lives in a house called "Mar-a-Lago." They will say "get down!" to you if you live in a second-floor apartment people call "Richie's house." And when the cops come a-knockin' (if they knock), don't try answering the door with, "Welcome to Stevie-a-Lago." The cops will just think you're high and wonder if they should hit you with the Taser.
So, if you're from where I'm from, or any other place where people drive cars with a piece of plastic taped over the broken passenger-side rear window, then you figure Trump got off light on the search.
And you're right.
On those rare occasions when the search warrant doesn't yield drugs, Richie will swagger around the neighborhood saying the cops "tried to set him up." A year later, he'll get arrested, and he'll go away for three years.
The one thing everyone on the street knows is that the first search warrant isn't your last, and your first arrest isn't your last.
Donald Trump oughta remember that.
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