poison tree


    If you live in the town of Covington, Georgia, population 9,860, you are required by law to open your home to municipal building inspectors to determine compliance with the city's building codes. The small southern city, located about 35 miles east of Atlanta, is the home of a growing industrial base hosting such businesses as Hercules Powder, Mobile Chemical and General Mills. Rapidly becoming a model town for the New World Order of international industrial cooperation, a Korean company, SKC Inc., manufacturer of computer components, is currently building a billion-dollar plant in Covington, soon to be followed by a Japanese automobile brake factory.

    In an apparent attempt to promote the image of a progressive, modern community worthy of the attention of international business, the "City Fathers", as Covington's Building and Zoning Superintendent, Ray Geiger referred to them, established the mandatory "Minimum Housing Code". "Minimum" Geiger defines as "just what you can get by with" - things like "two receptacles in each room, overhead lights on switches". How, one could ask, does the government obtain the authority under this country's constitution to determine for its citizens where electric lights should be placed within one's own home?

    When asked what the city's position would be if the residents of a dwelling might not want their homes searched for code violations, Covington's Chief Building Inspector, Douglass Banks, told The WINDS that the city would like cooperation to be voluntary and to the satisfaction of the owner or resident, but that if compliance is refused "...we can go with another route...."


   If the home owner refuses the inspection, that other "route" is outlined by Superintendent Geiger and manifests itself in the form of an "inspection warrant" issued by a judge, thus making compliance by force a city option. All the inspector must do, according to Chief Inspector Banks, is claim that he suspects that there are code violations [is there any structure totally free of them?] that need remedial attention and an individual's home can be entered, searched from pillar-to-post without the permission of the owner or occupant. Superintendent Geiger goes further indicating that no suspicion ("probable cause") is necessary. The "City Fathers set it up that way" he told The WINDS and supplied it with judicial teeth in the form of a warrant.

   The stated purpose for these inspections is, of course, the safety and welfare of the resident. It has been said that the most frightening words one can hear in this day are, "We're from the government and we've come to help."

   Covington's program to assure "minimum" standards of residential housing began in 1989 and will be finished this year - yet, in the freedom-loving South, Geiger claims that, "We've had [only] one or two...in the whole town" who resisted the inspections to the point of necessitating the issuance of an inspection warrant. "And those houses, when we got into making [the inspections] there wasn't hardly anything wrong with them." Superintendent Geiger indicated that their attempted non-compliance seemed more of an issue of principle than objection to the codes.

   The fourth amendment to the Constitution states:

"The right of the 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."

   The situation in Covington begs the question: did the framers of the constitution, when creating its fourth amendment, have in mind building codes as the single exception by which this article of the Bill of Rights might be suspended?

   A court of law will routinely exclude evidence obtained by illegal search and seizure. Additionally, any future evidence secured as the result of information gathered during the illegal search has, historically, also been deemed inadmissible. Such ancillary information is called "Fruit of the Poison Tree" and has been considered inadmissible on the grounds that the information would never have been discovered had the illegal search not taken place.

   Recently, the doctrine of Fruit of the Poison Tree has been more and more frequently set aside by the courts with the argument that if the search and seizure were made in "good faith", then information of possible crimes gathered during it may be used in court. This apparently ignores the fact that the use of the term "good faith" implies that the presiding judge must necessarily be able to read the minds of the officers executing the search, since the word "faith" denotes a condition of mind or spirit. One might possibly ask if this imputed power does not move judges a little closer to deity than judiciary.

    Because an "inspection warrant" and not a search warrant is required for the inspections, any evidence or information leading to a knowledge of criminal activity can subsequently be used against the occupant in a court of law, just as when any law enforcement officer is "invited" into one's residence. The officer then, because he is present by invitation, can legally address any criminal or statutory violations he might observe.


    What does a small, seemingly innocuous, violation of the constitutional rights (for their own safety) of citizens of a small Georgia town have to do with the larger picture of the agenda of the New World Order? The cancer that eventually kills the patient does not begin with a fully developed, recognizable tumor. It begins with a single cell that decided to violate the basic laws of cellular mitosis--the metabolic constitution, as it were.

    In the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson listed as one of the reasons for its issuance that, "He [the King of Great Britain] has erected a multitude of new offices, and sent hither swarms of officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance."

   To those living in colonial America the issues of "inalienable rights" presented in that document were of vital importance. Is it not ominous in its presage for this nation that the citizens of Covington, Georgia take virtually no notice that those rights have evaporated in the comfortable warmth of their apathy? And it is not alone in the little town in Georgia that this drowsy anesthesia is manifest. How many Covingtons are in our midst?

   Many years ago it was written:

"When ...our country shall repudiate every principle of its Constitution as a Protestant and republican government...then we may know that the...end is near." (From the book Maranatha p.215).

"His watchmen are blind: they are all ignorant, they are all dumb dogs, they cannot bark; sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber." Isaiah 56:10.

Written 8/13/97


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