Magazine article Reason

Fire Sign

Magazine article Reason

Fire Sign

Article excerpt

In West Texas, a man's land is his only as long as he doesn't go posting signs telling passersby their constitutional rights.

Attorney Pat Barber was fed up with what he saw as excessive police searches of vehicles on Interstate 20 outside Colorado City, a small town (population 4,000) west of Abilene. So he built a 128-square-foot billboard telling motorists whizzing past his ranch to "Just Say No to Searches."

The sign also displayed a phone number to call for a recorded message detailing motorists' rights when the police stop them. Unless officers have probable cause to search the vehicle, they must ask the driver's permission. But motorists often do not know they have the right to refuse such requests.

"The state police were stopping everything that moved in Mitchell County --it was like a roving roadblock," Barber, 53, told the Odessa American. "It also offends me when I see an innocent, frightened traveler standing on the side of the road with the police digging through their mini-van," added Barber, who spent 10 years as Mitchell County prosecutor. …

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