Here’s a slippery slope if ever there was one…
WAYNE CO.—The arrest of a Wayne County man over the weekend has lead to charges that few of us have ever even heard of, let alone seen implemented.
Griffin Spicer, 27, of Fairfield, was busted Saturday when, through whatever method (snitch, surveillance, mad ex), authorities obtained a warrant and searched his home on West Douglas Street. Fairfield police found and seized 17 pot plants and more than 30 grams of pot in the bust.
However, they not only charged him with marijuana production; he was also charged with Criminal Fortification of a Residence. This law, 720 ILCS 5/19-5 (from Ch. 38, par. 19-5), reads like this:
Sec. 19-5. Criminal fortification of a residence or building. (a) A person commits the offense of criminal fortification of a residence or building when, with the intent to prevent the lawful entry of a law enforcement officer or another, he maintains a residence or building in a fortified condition, knowing that such residence or building is used for the manufacture, storage, delivery, or trafficking of cannabis or controlled substances as defined in the Cannabis Control Act or Illinois Controlled Substances Act.
(b) “Fortified condition” means preventing or impeding entry through the use of steel doors, wooden planking, crossbars, alarm systems, dogs, or other similar means.
(c) Sentence. Criminal fortification of a residence or building is a Class 3 felony.
Now, granted, this law does specify that the place has to be basically a drug house. However, note that that’s not the (a) portion of the language, the “key,” if you will, to the whole thing. That “key” is the “intent to prevent the lawful entry of a law enforcement officer” and “maintains a residence or building in a fortified condition.” As with most laws in our country, it has a specific intent. But as with many laws in the country, the ‘intent’ can become blurred in the future, and some of the language, taken out of context, can criminalize a whole section of the populace that is doing nothing more than protecting their homes from criminals…and law enforcement officers attempting to make ‘entry’ on other than ‘lawful’ grounds, such as what happens a lot in Crawford County, as an example.
Is it at this point okay for our legislators to say “Ah….we need more laws, this was a good one in part, let’s parse it and enact it so that we get MORE people on the fines and fees merry-go-round”?
Let’s see: Perhaps you don’t have enough money to afford Broadview security, but you’re pretty handy with tools and building materials, so you “fortify” your old-ass back door from break-ins you’ve reported and the cops have done nothing about (we here at Disclosure are all to familiar with THAT). Then that works out so well that you ‘fortify’ your other doors the same way. And then local law enforcement, mistakenly acting on a “tip,” can’t bust down your door if they believe there’s cause for a search. Whoops! You fortified. Didn’t matter what you did or didn’t have in there; you prevented the local gestapo from breaking down your door effectively….and in order for you to avoid prison time, you’re going to pay heavily.
Don’t think it can’t happen….remember, our legislators, when enacting our ignorant ‘seat belt laws,’ said they were only going to be ancillary to a primary traffic stop, not the reason for the stop. THAT changed about 12 or so years ago, didn’t it.
Just something to think about. Mr. Spicer, dufus-looking character that he is, is in a world of trouble in Wayne. We’ll follow this story in the next print version, on stands 09.13.10!
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