Bar exam hypotheticals can actually happen

I took the bar exam long enough ago that I remember more about the event of it than I do the exam itself. (For example, the guy across from me decided to open a massive bag of Skittles the second the proctor began the test. Of course, the bag exploded, spreading Skittles all over the table. As if that couldn’t have been done five minutes before the exam.)

The one thing I do remember, for some reason, was a fact pattern from the multistate test, in which a guy was being questioned by police. He wasn’t given his Miranda warnings, but he remained silent. During the questioning, he removed his jacket to reveal a t-shirt that said “I KNOW MY RIGHTS” on the front and had the Miranda warnings printed on the back. Why I remember this is a mystery, but I do.

But was the fact pattern ridiculous at all? [From Courthouse News via Legal Blog Watch]:

A man who wrote the 4th Amendment on his chest and stripped to his shorts so security officers could read it at an airport checkpoint claims the Homeland Security Department arrested him and maliciously prosecuted him for his protest.

Aaron Tobey, 21, was a student at the University of Cincinnati when federal officials arrested him at Richmond International Airport on Dec. 30, 2010, he says in his federal complaint.

Tobey, who was trying to catch a flight to Wisconsin to go to his grandfather’s funeral, had prepared for the airport search by writing on his chest in black marker: “Amendment 4: The right of the people to be secure against unreasonable searches and seizures shall not be violated.”

As the lead says, he’s suing the TSA for false imprisonment because he was temporarily detained, and for malicious prosecution because he was going to be charged with disorderly conduct.

Does he have a case? Eh, let’s see, to summarize the rest of the story:

– Guy wants to make a point about airport searches, scrawls 4th Amendment on his body and goes to airport.

– Said guy is asked to go through x-ray imaging machine, strips down to his shorts, even though TSA guy says it’s not necessary. But hey, if you’ve gone this far to martyr yourself, you have to finish, right?

– Guy is detained and questioned, which was a reasonable expectation, isn’t it? Over the last 10 years, erratic behavior isn’t tolerated much at airports.

– Guy is actually questioned about things that guys are generally questioned about when the make a fool of themselves at the airport.

– Guy is generally uncooperative, which is his right, I guess. But you generally don’t get the benefit of the doubt when you aren’t cooperative.

There you have it. False imprisonment? Tobey was detained for 90 minutes after creating a scene at airport security. Malicious prosecution? He was charged with disorderly conduct (not exactly terrorism) before the charges were dropped two weeks later. He created a situation to make a point, then sues when the TSA agents do exactly what anyone would reasonable expect them to do.

The claim sound like the fact pattern that produced it – ridiculous.

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