Kurt Kerns, Attorney at Law
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A boy scout with a map (cont.)

There are many questions raised by this scenario. The officer stated he had pulled over multiple drivers who had flashed their headlights at him, all mistaking his vehicles lights for high-beams. Why had he continued to pull over these types of drivers? Why hadn't he had something done to fix the issue with his vehicles headlights? Why was it necessary to continue to escalate this encounter?

The officer will not be charged with a crime in this case, but the investigation is not yet complete. 

What can we learn from this tragedy? Law enforcement make mistakes. That 17-year-old boys are impulsive and headstrong? That arguing with a police officer once they have ordered you to do something can lead to your being killed?

Sadly, none of this is new.

But for anyone out there who believes they "understand" their constitutional rights, keep a few things in mind. The U.S. Constitution and Kansas Constitution contain explicit "rights." However, those rights are typically very general.

It is up to the thousands and thousands of cases that have followed the enactment of those documents to better explicate the meanings of those broad pronouncements in particular circumstances. Those cases come out on a daily basis and some might match a scenario that you experience closely, or they may not.

Never overestimate your "knowledge" of this body of law. And remember your attorney can make impassioned argument to defend your rights at a trial only if you remain alive.

Source: washingtonpost.com, "Mistake over high beams ends with Michigan cop killing teen," Radley Balko, June 22, 2015

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