Drug War

Anal Probes And The Drug War: A Look At The Ethical And Legal Issues


Last week, news wires, blogs and pundits lit up with the horrifying story of David Eckert, a New Mexico man who last January was subjected to a series of invasive and degrading drug search procedures after a traffic stop. The procedures, which included x-rays, digital anal penetration, enemas and a colonoscopy, were all performed without Eckert's consent…

Days later, a second resident of New Mexico came forward with similar allegations. Timothy Young says that after a traffic stop in October 2012, he too was subjected to x-rays and a digital anal exam without his consent. New Mexico news station KBO-TV was first to report both incidents, which were performed by physicians at the Gila Regional Medical Center in Silver City, New Mexico. In both cases, doctors and police failed to find any illegal drugs.

A third alleged victim has since come forward, although this woman says her anal and vaginal searches, x-rays and CAT scans came courtesy of federal border patrol agents, and without a warrant.

These incidents raise troubling questions about how the criminal justice system and medical establishment could allow for such extreme and invasive measures based on such little suspicion for nonviolent drug offenses. Oddly, according to constitutional scholars and medical ethicists I've consulted, the indignities imposed upon Eckert and Young were both illegal and unethical. And yet it also may be that (a) none of the law enforcement officials or medical personnel responsible for the violations are likely to be held accountable in any way, and (b) they could probably do it all again tomorrow, and still wouldn't likely be held accountable.

Read this full article at The Agitator

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  1. Hey, Radley! Great to see you again. How’s your expedition into darkest Progtardistan going?

  2. Look, it’s for the children. If it saves even one child from getting high, don’t we have the responsibility to anally violate a few innocent people?

  3. And yet it also may be that (a) none of the law enforcement officials or medical personnel responsible for the violations are likely to be held accountable in any way, and (b) they could probably do it all again tomorrow, and still wouldn’t likely be held accountable.

    I disagree. Had they actually found drugs, maybe. But most people are empathizing with the victims here, putting themselves in their shoes, not that of law enforcement. Everyone is talking about this story and pretty universally outraged.

    1. He meant legally accountable. Polling badly on this doesn’t necessarily mean the public outrage will be translated into punishment for the guilty. The guilty parties have too much protection.

      1. Yeah, but justice often isn’t blind to this kind of universal outcry. I expect there to be some legal ramifications beyond the healthy civil settlement the victims are sure to receive. I admit that maybe I’m being optimistic.

        1. One word: immunity.

          1. I don’t think they have immunity for criminal acts. (For some reason my last attempt at this comment went to the wrong spot.)

            Remember the Texas state trooper who was criminally charged for that roadside cavity search?

            1. Yes, you and John, below, are right regarding immunity being unavailable as a defense to a civil claim where the cop committed a criminal act.

  4. I realize the cops are probably untouchable, but shouldn’t the AMA be kind of horrified by the medical personnel? Performing medical procedures against the express wishes of the patient/victim? What is that again, the Hypocritical oath?

    1. Wait until doctors are 100% on govt for patients and revenue. No chance that will impact their willingness to say no to the govt, nope, none at all….

      1. Isn’t that what happened, they first went to a private hospital which refused and then they took him to a government hospital which did it as often as the cops wanted

        1. Yep. Hadn’t thought of it that way, but yep.

          1. I don’t think state agents or doctors have immunity from criminal acts.

            1. But they had a search warrent.

        2. I’m surprised the private hospital refused.

          I worked for nearly two decades at private hospital. Doctors and nurses were more than happy to do anything asked of them by law enforcement without a warrant.

          Heck they would even use over sized iv catheter needles and urinary catheters, withhold pain medication, and many treatments that were not life threatening, for people they were told were criminals just to inflict a bit of good ole vigilante justice.

  5. I am opposed to anal probes even if they give me drugs.

  6. “In a follow-up email. Scott Allen adds that part of the problem is a lack of ethical training. “Quite often, the health professional doesn’t even realize that they are in breach of professional ethics because they assume that law and ethics always conform. Of course, they do not. So training is a key issue, here.””

    Legal positivism is a bitch, isn’t it?

    Americans, as part of their basic citizenship training, should learn that “the laws of nature and of nature’s God” supersede positive enactments by legislative bodies.

    1. Wait, what? Of all the compliance and ethics training healthcare workers have to submit to, nobody tells them that they shouldn’t assist in rape and torture, no matter what authority the torturer claims?

    2. I do not understand legal positivism to say that there is no ethics separate from the law, but rather that governmental agencies should not try to follow ‘the laws of nature and nature’s God.’

      1. If there is no law of nature nor God, no higher law than what a society decides, what would be the difference between the ethics and laws of a society?

  7. This case is so bad that even Marcotte was able to make a cogent point. What happened here is to some degree the officers being pissed off that the guy didn’t have drugs on him and make their jobs easier. It was them wanting a bust and saying “fuck you if you don’t have drugs so we can get a good bust, we are going to make you suffer.”

    The other thing is that this town is almost entirely Mexican, sheriff’s department is entirely Mexican and the victim is as his attorney describes him a “scraggly looking white guy”. This appears to be a no kidding hate crime and something the Feds, if they actually did their jobs, should be looking into. A sheriff’s department going after someone because they are the wrong race in the wrong town is a no kidding deprivation of a federal right and something that we have the Federal Government to prevent. Good luck with that.

  8. Easy fix. Constitutional Amendment: “No agent of the Government, performing illegal acts under the color of law, shall enjoy sovereign immunity”.

    And then let the 14A do the incorporation against states and municipalities. Fuckers don’t want federalism, they can choke on it.

    1. That actually is the law Brett. The rule is that the state can’t commit a crime. So therefore when an agent of a state commits a crime, he is no longer an agent of the state and thus is personally liable. Sovereign immunity gets you out of liability for negligence not for criminal conduct.

      When a cop makes a reasonable but later proven to be wrong call on the law, he is considered to have been negligent and thus is entitled to immunity. But when the cop does something that is contrary to known law, he is committing a crime and thus isn’t entitled to immunity.

      The rule as it is written is fine. The problem is that we have stopped enforcing the law on government officials. We don’t need a new law. What these guys did is a crime under the existing law. But the law is only good if you are willing to enforce it.

      1. So do we need a clarifying law that withholding exculpatory evidence is criminal? Can a state mandate that no one who does, intentionally or by negligence (or accident), can maintain their bar privileges?

        Why the fuck do cops get special privileges when they are accused/investigated for crimes? Isn’t that also a violation of every non-cops Constitutionally mandated rights? If I don’t get to go home after my DUI arrest and face questioning the next day with my attorney, can I sue because cops get different treatment?

        1. Sorry, this rant is not directed at you, John.

      2. The rule is that the state can’t commit a crime. So therefore when an agent of a state commits a crime, he is no longer an agent of the state and thus is personally liable.

        In theory perhaps. In practice when an agent of the state commits a crime it’s not a crime because the state can’t commit a crime.

        1. That is just it. It doesn’t matter how well thought out the rule is if you are unwilling to enforce it. The only reason people like me are saying we need to get rid of sovereign immunity and make cops carry liability insurance is because our system refuses to enforce sovereign immunity as intended.

          If you just read the law and don’t look at how it is applied, the law is pretty fair and just. But it is applied in such an appalling way where criminal conduct is treated as negligence and gross negligence is treated as good police work.

      3. That’s part of the problem. The other part of the problem is that we’re erring waaaaay too far on giving cops the benefit of the doubt when it comes to deciding what’s a “reasonable but later proven wrong call on the law.”

        This is a perfect example of that. There’s no established, black-letter precedent to the effect that you can’t subject a suspected drug offender to repeated anal rapes and in the course of your investigation. So these cops may well enjoy qualified immunity for what they did, when in a just world they’d be swinging from fucking lampposts.

    2. How about this, then? “As a crime requires an agent or agents, no jurisdiction may be liable without an individual or individual agents being also held personally liable”

      I would actually like this to be the rule of civil law in general. While policies might be wrong, there is always some agent or agents who are personally culpable.

  9. We’re all going to be subject to this kind of anal rape.

    1. So relax and enjoy the long, hard shaft of big government.

  10. David Eckert, Paul Young, you, I — and all other lay people — are expected to know every law on the books, at least to the extent that we can be held criminally and/or civilly liable for breaking them. But for police officers, judges and prosecutors — all of whom are paid to enforce and administer the law — there is no such expectation.

    There’s a reason for that.

  11. I can’t believe no one’s already pointed this out, but


    There – I said it. You’re WELCOME.

    1. You are truly the hero we need.

      1. Maybe not the hero we need, but the hero we deserve.

  12. Everyone is talking about this story and pretty universally outraged.


  13. If our inner ass isn’t protected by the 4th Amendment, what is?

  14. This would all be okay as long as the participants were wearing goggles. Otherwise, it’s a safety hazard.

  15. Mark Steyn’s take on this.

    Alas, Mr. Eckert’s body proved to be a drug-free zone, and so, after twelve hours of detention, he was released. If you’re wondering where his lawyer was during all this, no attorney was present, as police had not charged Mr. Eckert with anything, so they’re apparently free to frolic and gambol up his rectum to their hearts’ content.


  16. Dallas policeman shot at suspect 41 TIMES after ‘giving him less than three seconds to step out of his truck’

    Patrick Tuter, 33, a former police officer, indicted for manslaughter


    It is the first time in 15 years that an officer has been indicted for a fatal shooting while on duty.

    He’ll waive his right to a jury trial (which would be an automatic death sentence for a peasant) and the judge will let him off.

    1. Reloading twice seems… excessive.

    2. Was that one cop? Did he reload three times? (assuming he had a 14 or 15 round magazine in his side arm).

    3. You have to love the multiple lies that the cops told: “He rammed us. He had a knife,” which were only disproved because a neighbor’s security cam caught the whole thing.

      Shouldn’t there be lots more indictments, for all the lying on official reports, likely some under oath, etc.?

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