No More Wacos: What's Wrong With Federal Law Enforcement and How to Fix It

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Prometheus Books, 1997 - Political Science - 524 pages
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Since April 19, 1993, the fiery image of BATF and FBI agents conducting a deadly raid on the Branch Davidian compound at Waco, Texas, is seared into America's consciousness. Equally intense is the debate over the federal government's actions to end the 52-day standoff. Two years earlier, agents and federal marshals opened fire on illegal weapons trafficking suspect Randy Weaver and his family in Ruby Ridge, Idaho. Are these the actions of responsible, accountable law enforcement agencies, or tragic mistakes that should have been avoided? Each new incident -- and there are dozens each year -- forces us to rethink the role of federal law enforcement and the risks that their enormous powers pose to individual rights, judicial authority, and arrest procedures in the name of public safety, as society's fears increase with the specter of the Oklahoma City bombing and the assault on the World Trade Center.

Waco and Ruby Ridge represent the worst-case scenario of problems that now plague federal law enforcement, including militarization, judicial rubberstamping of search and arrest applications, aggressive and violent arrest procedures, indifference to religious beliefs, the complicity of an overzealous media, and failed Congressional investigations. In No More Wacos authors David B. Kopel and Paul H. Blackman use their expertise in law and criminology to outline the evidence in these cases and dozens of others in an accessible yet methodical manner to explain how and why such tragedies occur. Meticulously documented, this volume contains more than 1,500 endnotes which aid in analyzing all sides of this complex subject. Whenever problems are found, specific remedies are proposed -- over 100solutions in all -- both comprehensive and technical in nature. Each is offered in the hope of preventing future Wacos by putting federal law enforcement under the rule of law. The authors discuss flawed search warrants, authorities ignoring the difference between religious and criminal suspects, interdepartmental deception, and failed safeguards, and, most importantly, remedies to these problems.

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User Review  - RandyStafford - LibraryThing

My reaction to reading this book in 1998. Apart from an exploration of the theology of the Branch Davidians (more completely covered in Dick Reavisí The Ashes of Waco), this is the most complete ... Read full review

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User Review  - Joe Martin - Goodreads

No More Wacos: What's Wrong With Federal Law Enforcement and How to Fix It by David B. Kopel (1997) Read full review


The Unwarranted Warrant

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About the author (1997)

David B. Kopel is Research Director of the Independence Institute and is an Associate Policy Analyst with the Cato Institute. He is an Adjunct Professor of Advanced Constitutional Law at University of Denver, Sturm College of Law. Kopel is one of several contributors to The Volokh Conspiracy and author of 13 books and almost 70 scholarly articles.

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