Lawyer for Anti-Illegal Immigrant Group Gets SWAT Raid for Son's Graffiti, But He's Still Not Worried About Law Enforcement Excess

Via Cato @ Liberty comes this Washington Post story about attorney Michael M. Hethmon, who is general counsel for Immigration Reform Law Institute and who is a supporters of the various tough on illegal immigrant bills seen in Alabama, Georgia, and of course Arizona. According to the Post, Hethmon is one of the two important architects of the idea that local and state governments can take immigrant law into their own hands, ideally making illegal immigrants feel so constricted that they "self-deport":

Judges have blocked some of the legislation, resulting in a pile of legal bills for the governments they helped, and on Wednesday the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments about the law in Arizona that has become the centerpiece achievement of the self-
deportation movement.

Supporters say the idea would never have advanced this far without [law professor Kris] Kobach and Hethmon, who have been editors, advisers, ghostwriters and legal defenders for politicians nationwide.

“They’re the wizards behind the curtain,” said Oklahoma state Rep. Randy Terrill (R), whose bill they rewrote. “They were the face and the muscle behind the effort that really synthesized it into a movement. Do I think it would have happened without them? Most certainly it would not have.”

One of the most worrying aspects of these laws, and one which seems like it will likely be upheld by the Supreme Court, is the one that tells police to check the immigration status of drivers that they pull over. But worries over racism or xenophobia aside, it's clear that Hethmon is an equal-opportunity fan of police power; if his reaction to a recent SWAT raid on his home is any yardstick, that is:

Hethmon had an up-close and unpleasant experience with the same kind of local police he had done so much to empower.

The problem began with graffiti on a highway overpass in Bowie. Police there suspected that Hethmon’s teenage son might be involved and obtained a search warrant. They arrived at 7 a.m. on March 9 with a heavily armed team of county officers.

“Come in with masks, guns, screaming. You know, knocking everybody down,” Hethmon recalled. “I tried to explain to them, you know: ‘Look, I’m a lawyer, this is outrageous.’ [The reply was:] ‘Shut up and lie down on the floor.’ ”

Police said they found 2.5 grams of marijuana in the house. They filed charges against Hethmon, his son and his wife — all for the same drugs. The charges against Hethmon will be dropped, prosecutors said last week.

Hethmon said the experience has not changed his work.

“The fact that a law is legitimate and serving a purpose doesn’t mean that it can’t be abused,” he said. “Human beings are flawed people.”

And so, for the lesser-known of this duo, there has been a personal test. After he did so much to place greater trust in local police officers nationwide, police in Prince George’s County sent a SWAT team to his house to look for . . . spray paint.

“It’s ironic, you know,” Hethmon said.

Long-time readers of Reason might remember that Prince George's County also was the location of the infamous raid/puppycide on the home of Berwyn Heights, Maryland Mayor Cheye Caylvo.

It's hard to know what's creepier about this story, Hethmon's devotion to the cause of making life miserable for immigrants, the status quo of the drug war, the use of SWAT for spray paint, or just the unnerving fact that Hethmon seems just as unconcerned about injustices when they happen to his own family as when they happen to poor immigrants. At least Hethmon isn't a hypocrite? 

Reason on the militarization of police and immigration

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  • BoscoH||

    Hate distorts your perceptions of reality.

  • Prince Georges PD||

    So does SPRAY PAINT, Citizen.

  • np||

    He's a True Believer™

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Did he advocate for no-knock immigration raids?

    Or is this another attempt to scream "hypocrisy" because, well, he's evil and all evil people are really hypocrites. And smell bad, too.

  • ||

    1) Lucy specifically said you can't call him a hypocrite
    2) He's a statist piece of shit any way you slice it
    3) U mad bro?

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    1) OK, then, fair enough, but the message was he *would* have been a hypocrite if he'd protested.

    Why is that?

    2) That depends on whether you agree with these state laws he helped draft.

    3) I know you are, but what am I?

  • ||

    2) It makes him a statist piece of shit either way. What depends on agreeing with the law is whether you are a statist piece of shit as well.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    I recently learned he's a hippie environmentalist (see below), so I won't dispute your characterization, but what would be inconsistent if he denounced no-knock raids? Do the bills he supported allow for same (that is, make them easier than they already are)?

  • ||

    I think the point you are missing is that the immigration bills he supports are statist, hence Epi saying "any way you slice it" and me saying "either way."

  • TELLMOFF||

    He is evil and I wish that him and his whole family were killed by the swat team.

  • Tamfang||

    What did his whole family ever do to you?

  • TELLMOFF||

    They are part of his support team. The U.S.A. is beyond justice. Revenge is all that is left.

  • ||

    I cannot believe they raided a house with a SWAT team for fucking graffiti. I thought I'd seen so much at H&R and with Radley, and the cops just kicked it up another notch.

    Next: SWAT raids for overdue parking tickets.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Listen, do me a favor. When they come for you--and you know that they will, someday--can you live-comment it here?

  • ||

    I was already planning on it.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Excellent. We'll do the Kirk-Spock bit as you bleed to death.

    Let's hope threaded, moderated comments are up to the challenge. Would suck if your last post had a word fifty characters or more.

  • ||

    It's ok I think aaaaaaaaagghhhh is less than 50 characters:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XiT_5cr3tYI

  • ||

    Can you mind-meld via H&R?

  • Robert||

    I've got to believe there was something political or personal about a SWAT raid for graffiti. There's more ot this story than we know about.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    Does that make it better or worse?

  • BigT||

    Doesn't the blame fall on the judge who signed the search warrant? Or can the police make up their own search warrants? Isn't this like blaming the foot soldiers for the war?

  • Just Dropping By||

    Buffy Sainte-Marie believed you could blame foot soldiers for the war (check the lyrics to "Universal Soldier").

  • Plisade||

    "Foot soldiers" don't have to obey unlawful orders. Not sure about cops, but there are Oath Keepers...

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    The kid might have flushed the cans, duh.

  • Arf?||

    Pretty sure lots of natives and legal immigrants are going to self-deport as well.

  • SIV||

    It's hard to know what's creepier about this story

    Easy, the SWAT raid for spray paint.

    I stumbled across this ancient LucyStag Reason Hit & Run comment while looking for something else today.

  • Lucy Steigerwald||

    Yeah, I think I'm with you there.

    Also, I now have the power to delete that comment and deny it was ever there.

    Muahahahah!

  • SIV||

    You can't delete this lol

  • Lucy Steigerwald||

    Is that me? I honestly have no idea, but I did watch that show.

  • Killazontherun||

    Delete that entire thread! Too painful1 I'm under a new alias, but there is one glaringly wrong prediction. So optimistic I can't believe I ever said anything like that. Must have been HIGH.

  • Killazontherun||

    Hey, an early Tony siting:

    Vote for Democrats because they still believe in civil liberties. Economic libertarianism is dead anyway as a foundation for public policy, at least for a long, long time.

    This "not a dime's worth of difference" crap is such nonsense. If we'd elected Al Gore, how many people's torture would have been sanctioned? How many phony wars would we be engaged in? How much encroachment upon policy would the theocratic right have had? How many autocratic signing statements would have been composed? Why is this a difficult question?

    I was told just today by liberals defending Obama that signing statements are a legitimate function of the presidency and it showed a great deal of naivety to complain about them. Bwa.Ha.Ha.Ha.!

  • SIV||

    Were ya' drinkin' Obama KoolAid?
    It was a real popular beverage around these blog comments in early 2008.Much less so towards the election buttheir were still a lot of suckers fans.

  • Killazontherun||

    Fuck no. That Kool-Aid only comes in semen flavor. I predicted an entirely different kind and degree of suckage from Obama. I knew he would suck, but I didn't foresee Bush II suckage.

  • ||

    Isn't he technically Bush III?

  • ||

    Isn't he Bush IV? Blowjobs aside, how did Clinton govern differently than Bush Sr.? Humanitarian war? Check. End with recession? Check.

    A Ron Paul presidency aside, I think all our future presidents for the foreseeable future will govern like a Bush.

  • Ted S.||

    Will any future presidents get rid of server squirrels?

  • ||

    Isn't he Bush IV? Blowjobs aside, how did Clinton govern differently than Bush Sr.? Humanitarian war? Check. End with recession? Check.

    A Ron Paul presidency aside, I think all our future presidents for the foreseeable future will govern like a Bush.

  • juris imprudent||

    Yep, that's what I was going to post.

    FUCKING spray paint? Anyone care to bet that at least some of this team was pulling overtime for such dangerous duty?

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Hethmon recalled. "I tried to explain to them, you know: 'Look, I'm a lawyer, this is outrageous.' [The reply was:] 'Shut up and lie down on the floor.'"

    Because he was a lawyer, he expected special treatment from the thugs he empowered?

    What a fucking piece of shit.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    And if you couldn't hate him even more:

    Hethmon, 58, is a former hippie who left the United States during the Vietnam War. He works for a group that opposes large-scale immigration: It believes that, given how much food, fuel and space the average American consumes, the environment can't take many more people.

    Well, that explains the pot. Watch him try to pin it on his son.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    You know what, I changed my mind, screw this green fascist - or should I say, spray-paint him where the sun doesn't shine.

  • Tamfang||

    I charitably assume he meant "As a lawyer I can tell you, authoritatively and in detail, how and why this is outrageous."

  • ||

    It’s ironic, you know

  • BoscoH||

    It's like rayeeain on your wedding day.

  • Killazontherun||

    Like a fly in your Chardonnay,
    Or your dog's brain matter all over the ghosted paper you drafted for Congressman Law A. Order.

  • Sam Grove||

    He'd change his tune if they'd shot his dog...if he had a dog.

  • ||

    Dogs are classic over-consumers.

  • ||

    who the fuck does a SWAT raid for evidence of tagging?

    i mean... now THAT is an example of ridiculous excess

    if reason REALLY wanted to provide some fun reading, they would have linked to a pdf of the search warrant and affidavit.

    i've written over 100 search warrants, and i can't imagine what kind of level of awesomeness exists in such a warrant affidavit. it boggles.

  • BigT||

    And the writer of that warrant is the most guilty person in this farce.

  • Tonio||

    Depends on whether the judge signed off on the SWAT and no-knock, see below.

  • Tonio||

    Dunphy (TRO): Does the warrant specify whether the raid will be performed with SWAT and whether it will be no-knock?

  • Paul.||

    Police said they found 2.5 grams of marijuana in the house. They filed charges against Hethmon, his son and his wife - all for the same drugs. The charges against Hethmon will be dropped, prosecutors said last week.

    Why? Drugs were found. Drugs are illegal.

  • LarryA||

    Yeah, but he's a lawyer.

  • ||

    He adequately sucks the cock of government, so he's exempt.

  • Tonio||

    A better question, Paul, would be why every resident of the house is charged with this. If the contraband was found in three seperate containers, say one in each resident's night stand, you might have something. Otherwise, this sounds like he was set up.

  • LarryA||

    the unnerving fact that Hethmon seems just as unconcerned about injustices when they happen to his own family

    I'd love to hear what his wife and kid had to say.

  • ||

    For the greater good!

  • ||

    "It's ironic, you know."

    I've got nothing, really... drawing on all of my exposure to dystopian and cautionary tales... nothing. That one's so impressive, I think it might be my irony 9/11 -- nay, my irony event horizon.

  • ||

    ...the use of SWAT for spray paint...

    You can never be too careful: the Syrian uprising started with graffiti.

    Just saying...

  • GILMORE||

    What upsets me? They shoot *dogs*. I mean, come on. Isn't saying, "i'm a lawyer!" the smallest excuse for an 'accidental discharge'? I'd be surprised if there were any complaints.

    Also, ()@$(*@ REASON, get this 50-word-comment-bullshit thing fixed!!

  • GILMORE||

    ""Hethmon, 58, is a former hippie who left the United States during the Vietnam War""

    American hero. Defending our cultur!

  • BigT||

    And what exactly was wrong with leaving the US during the Vietnam War? It didn't say he dodged the draft (although that is the implication). Is this man in some way not free to travel as he sees fit? How very libertarian of you.

    And is this man somehow not permitted to express his objection to Vietnam by leaving - even if he dodged the draft. Aren't most of the folks on this board disgusted by the current and recent Admins over-reaching wars? While there may be things to dislike Hethmon for, this is certainly not among them.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    I think you're missing the point that this man, who took advantage of his right to travel (and if he was a draft dodger, than he was an illegal emigrant), now spends his time helping draft legislation that would take the right to travel away from the "brown hordes," all because of his mystic Gaia-worship. Perhaps some of these immigrants are trying to escape service in unjust wars conducted by their countries? Hethmon, Pokemon No. 58, is a piece of shit.

  • GILMORE||

    BigT|4.26.12 @ 7:17AM|#
    And what exactly was wrong with leaving the US during the Vietnam War?

    Nothing, concern troll.

    Its that he seems to think borders should matter when brown people cross them, but not cowardly lawyers. Law, schmaw! When its his own ass, well then... contentious objection! When its some other motherfuckers ass... well, SEND THEM BACK TO SHITHOLE THEY RAN FROM. Ideological bravery indeed.

  • mr lizard||

    This guy is in it to win it

  • Brian from Texas||

    Mr. Hethmon is the perfect statist bitch. The state tells him to drop his pants and bend over and he takes it like a little bitch.

  • ||

    "Piece of shit" is a fantastic understatement. What a putrid fucking degenerate. The only thing missing from this story is his being buttfucked with a taxpayer-funded baton.

  • Alice Bowie||

    Had they not dropped the DRUG charges against him, his wife, and child, I'm sure he would be singing a different tune.

    They should have charged him.

  • Tonio||

    Thanks, as always, Alice for your insightful comment.

  • perlhaqr||

    Some men you just can't reach.

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