Know Your Rights

The people of Rolla, St. James, and Phelps county – as well as the rest of the United States, have certain rights which are guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. Our system of law and due process restricts abusive officials from overstepping their authority and allows for a proper course of action to remedy their breech of Law.

Recent ordinances in both the City of Rolla and Phelps County are in violation of the following constitutional amendments:

Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

The Rolla City mandate unlawfully prohibits the free exercise of religion by placing a limit on the number of persons allowed to gather, telling them they must wear masks, telling them how far they must stand apart, among other inappropriate restrictions. Limitations on weddings and funerals are included in this, as these types of events are religious in nature. See this recent Supreme Court ruling against New York’s unconstitutional order.

Amendment IV

The right of a people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Both Phelps County and Rolla City ordinances arguably violate fourth amendment rights by allowing unreasonable search and seizure of persons by stating numerous exceptions to “who must and must not wear a mask and who may or may not be closer than 6 feet”, which would require a person to be unreasonably questioned regarding their private health information, who resides with them in their household, what relationship persons have with those around them, etc. In a nutshell, this results in all persons not wearing masks to be guilty until proven innocent. That’s backwards.

Amendment V

No person…shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

Both mandates clearly deprive individuals and businesses of liberty without due process of law.

Amendment VI

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed…and shall have the assistance of counsel for his defense.

Any persons arrested for failing to comply, can insist upon his or her right to a jury trial to prove the unconstitutionality of this mandate, on the district’s dime.

Amendment VII

In suits…where the value in controversy shall exceed $20, the right of a trial by jury shall be preserved…

Because fines in Rolla are $50 per person, $100 per business or in Phelps county $1000 per incident, any persons or businesses cited or fined under these ordinances may refuse to pay and insist upon a jury trial – on the district’s dime.

Amendment VIII

Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

The Phelps County ordinance which imposes a fine of $1000 for not wearing a mask, is arguably excessive.

Amendment XIV

No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

In case you were wondering if the fourth amendment only applied on a federal level, the fourteenth amendment makes it clear that this applies to every State, and that no State may make a law depriving people of these rights. It is true that Commissioners and City Councils have a duty to establish rules to protect and defend their constituents. Very few would argue that local authorities have unlimited power to implement rules. Ordinances and legislation must be made within a legal framework. When the interests of private industries heavily influence politics, erroneous policy or inappropriate ordinances may be attempted. The people, educational and business sectors bear the unintended consequences of poor policy, while the influential industries dramatically benefit. This is why the Bill of Rights was written. It may be tempting to consider ourselves as having achieved a greater level of understanding than those who came before us, and therefore justify radical changes to what some now call an “outdated system” of government. Though a person with true understanding would recognize the sheer arrogance and destructiveness of such an opinion.

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