Dancing With California Fruit Police:

Published November 8, 2013 - 23 Comments

No there were no actual dances. Truth is, our encounter was more like driving away than dancing. But it’s been a crazy week none the less – We’ve been on the road for a month working on a new educational documentary for my business called PHOTOGRAPHICS. The family and I needed to cross through California on our way out of Reno as we headed towards Washington and home.

My brother informed me that there would be one of these fruit checkpoint station across the border. But being the liberty loving guy I am, I decided it was my duty to stand my ground. That meant not only would I not avoid the area I needed to go our of fear of tyranny, I would also refuse anything that violated our Constitutional rights.

The result is the video you see above. I don’t need to spell it all out. How I handle these guys and why is made pretty clear in the video and it started quite a conversation, getting over 50,000 views in the first week.

While some have tried to make it so, this isn’t really a discussion about agriculture. This is a discussion about liberty. The rest of the country grows their crops just fine without violating the highest laws of our land. I expect California to find a way to do the same. It’s that simple.

“When injustice becomes law, resistance becomes duty” — Thomas Jefferson

“Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety” – Benjamin Franklin.

The framers did not forgot to make exception in the Constitution for fruit.



Je suis de la croix - November 11, 2013 Reply

Hi Gavin,
Heard your encounter on FreeTalkLive.
Thanks for harassing the nazi goons!
I created a single-page “Form” for such warrantless stops..
I think you’d enjoy it. alot.
(covers 4th amend, probable cause, no-questions, no search, etc.)
It’s short and can be handed to the nazi to read and acknowledge.
If you send an email, I’ll attach it on the reply.

mobooz - November 12, 2013 Reply

It seems you’re so in love with the 4th Amendment that you’ve forgotten about the 10th. Each state has the right to set up their own checkpoints, and while you don’t have to submit to a search, they don’t have to let you in, either.

How is this not about agriculture? You were stopped at an agricultural checkpoint, right? Just because you don’t understand the reasons for the checkpoint system–as was characterized by your statement about the rest of the country growing their crops “just fine”–doesn’t mean that there’s no reason at all.

    gavinseim - November 12, 2013 Reply

    They most certainly do have to let me in sir – Not only does the 14th guarantee equal protection of law from one state to another, the 4th prevents illegal detainment and seizure. They don’t get to turn me back at the border. Their State is part of my country.

    The 10th says that the State has power indeed. But NOT where it treads upon any part on the Constitution. That is law to all States. States do not have a right to setup their own checkpoints or decide who enters. The Constitution firmly grants us the right to travel and this has been well upheld in court.

    Where your reason treads upon the most basic liberties of America it is no reason worth consideration.

      mobooz - November 12, 2013 Reply

      Fair enough, they have to let you in, at which point you become subject to laws of the state you enter. Your travel may then be restricted by course of due process. Given that it’s illegal to refuse to stop and divulge the quantity of agricultural imports at a checkpoint in California, your travel may be restricted really, really quickly. So, I misstated the facts when I wrote that they don’t have to let you in, when in fact they don’t have to cite you for the laws you break upon refusal to submit to questioning. The “love it or leave it” policy at checkpoints is basically informal leniency that allows you to drive away rather than face charges and have your vehicle forcibly inspected.

      The 4th Amendment protects you from unreasonable searches, sure. But not liking something does not make it unreasonable. Even if it treads on your personal liberty, it’s not unreasonable. The exercise of one person’s freedoms can conflict with those of another–there is no such thing in American society as true freedom–so it’s up to our democracy to maximize every American’s life, liberty and pursuit of happiness according to the values of the electorate. The short stop and questioning serves a significant public interest, is not an arbitrary action, is the least intrusive method of capably enforcing the law, and does not look for incriminating evidence as its primary purpose, and that’s why legal challenges to agricultural checkpoints have been repeatedly struck down at the state level, and why the US Supreme Court has upheld as reasonable similar checkpoint operations.

        gavinseim - November 12, 2013 Reply

        You are still incorrect actually – The 4th goes on. It defines “unreasonable” as that which does not have warrant or probable cause. Since in refusing to be searched or to speak, no crime is committed, and further since having a law against such an action would in itself violate the Constitution, that bears no merit.

        The laws of the State I enter must be subject to the Constitution. They are bound to that. Since the very act of forcing me to stop on the road opposes that, the action is in itself against the law. We the people wrote that law and we the people must DEMAND that it be followed.

        The farmers did for forget to make an exception for fruit. They understood what ramifications such violations have. You it seems do not, but I encourage you to look deeper. This is not about fruit. It’s about freedom.

        “Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety” – Benjamin Franklin.

          mobooz - November 13, 2013 Reply

          Your argument seems to hinge on the lack of probable cause in the checkpoint operations. “Probable,” in the case of the 4th Amendment, may be interpreted to refer to a matter of statistical probability and expectation. Find some information on the risks posed to agricultural exports and do the math, and you’ll see that the expectation that any driver coming into California is carrying unauthorized fruit is, in fact, reasonable.

          “Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety, but if you give up a little liberty–like in a democracy, as opposed to a monarchy–for effective and ongoing safety, then that’s probably a wise investment.” – What Whoever Wrote Your Favorite Acontextual Quote Meant, Whether or Not Benjamin Franklin Was the Author

          gavinseim - November 13, 2013 Reply

          Man I can’t have a discussion on this when you don’t even know the basics if this stuff – Probable Cause is serious business and it requires something real unless they want to get in real trouble. This has been well upheld by courts. Driving into a State is not even close.

          There must be legitimate evidence that a crime has been committed and then they can get a warrant. Them thinking you might have something in the truck when there is no evidence to support that is certainly not.

          You really need to step back and understand this stuff. Do your homework.

          None your Business - June 26, 2018 Reply

          You seriously need your kid/kids taken away before you turn them into the asshole you are

    theresa - April 16, 2016 Reply

    Well said my friend. What About the safety of our own people. Just let anyone in the Border, big deal if they are bringing in drugs, weapons or worse, terrorist etc. He goes way overboard!!

mobooz - November 13, 2013 Reply

Sorry, I didn’t realize I was corresponding with the Pope of the United States. I can only bow down to your infallible interpretation of the Holy Constitution, and must disregard any and all argument as to the meaning of, “probable cause,” or, “reasonable person,” offered by over 200 years of American jurisprudence. Thanks for ending the discussion, it sure set me straight.

anonymous - January 2, 2014 Reply

Im a Police Officer and I just want to commend you for being intelligent regarding these stops. We need more people like you to question authority but better yet understand what their “right’s” are by definition and not blindly spitting out “I have rights” without knowing what there rights entail.

It is sad but true, the more people who do not stand up for their rights the faster we will lose them due to ignorance. As we see it ever so happening (on the fast-track) in our world today. We are losing are rights cause most people do not know what their rights are and seeing it as a norm in how one must respond when questioned by a badge. The Govt is taking advantage of that.

I must say however, at least in my experience, these violations of one’s rights happens more often than not on a Federal Level and not so much State, Local or County level of Gov’t. That being said, The Feds should be leading by example and blatantly do not do as such. Which in turn will eventually trickle on down to the state, local and county govt. And in the long run, The Feds are the ones to initiate the loss of ones rights as we have seen in bills being passed such as the “Patriot Act” and it will only get worse as long as YOU LET THEM!

Edgar Gillham - March 2, 2014 Reply

We crossed in 1939 and all who have seen the Grapes of Wrath understand the implications. I have reluctantly complied with this inconvenience dealing with fruit but they began asking me about my personal affairs such as “what business did you have in Nevada”. This was just too much, I replied to the lady “I’m writing a book on hoar houses and needed a little rest and a fresh supply of viagara”. I was never bothered again. I know, this was a cop out and didn’t address the real problem. I fully agree, they have no right to stop us without at least probable dcause. I believe we are guaranteed freedom of interstate commerce.

Bonnie - May 14, 2014 Reply

Didn’t anyone notice the way this guy reprimanded his wife in this video? Who does he think he is? He looked like he would have back handed her if she got got out of line. If my husband had spoken to me like that, and had given me that warning look, you can bet I would have stopped filming and would have thrown the camera out the window. You can tell this guy is a bully by the way he talks to not only his wife, but the other people on the video. What an ass.

    my name - June 11, 2014 Reply

    You’re a sharp eye there Bonnie. I completely concur. The sad thing is this mouthy bully is going to try to become one of the politicians he seems to loathe and ride his white horse “I have rights, you should too” all the way there. LMAO. Never gonna happen. I feel sorry for his wife.

      Tyler - December 31, 2014 Reply

      And his poor children whom he is already attempting to brainwash! He posted a photo of them next to the christmas tree holding rifles. Such a shame what type of people exist in this world.

David Christensen - June 2, 2014 Reply

This is stupid. For someone running for office this show how out of touch you are. This fruit Natzi as you call it preforms a real function that people don’t think about. Buying fruit and transporting it 1,000 of miles in a few days can be dangerous. This function is so important to protect again pest not being introduced into new areas. It is people like you that fight this that has brought the Azalia fly from California to Oregon. While in California this pest has predators that help keep it in control. While here in Oregon nothing eats this bug. So we now see to fly killing Azlias and Rodendrons. There is no way to spray and no predator to controll this fly. Our state will be losing out state plant the Rodadendron. Just because you don’t see a value in this and you think they are violating your rights. Well I hope you don’t get elected to anything sir. Your are too ignorant. You don’t comprehend real violation of right with what we have to do to protect pests and invasive species being transported. Sir these thing don’t care about rights. How else do we do this? You don’t know untill you pull into one of these inspection areas. I have never questioned this even at the age of 12 when I asked the guy as he looked in our camper because we did not know if we had anything. He explained what it protected against and it made sense to me. This protects our nation crops. Come on and please do not run for office.

    Dachia - June 19, 2014 Reply

    While I can sympathize with your bug problems, the issue here is that the stops are unconstitutional. Period. Find another way to deal wth the problem, without trampling on basic rights.

Bill Ernstberger - October 18, 2014 Reply

Hey, Gavin! I love what you did with that Nazi fruit picker. You handled him very well. I wish you and your family God speed.


Tyler - December 31, 2014 Reply

The rational citizen: There was a fruit bug years ago that wiped out almost all of California’s fruit crop. These check points are there to prevent it from happening again. It’s not about rights – they are asking a simple question in order to protect their economy and environment. And they’re always very friendly.

Gavin: No you’re getting it all wrong. These are obviously nazi-NSA freedom haters who will send you to the nearest death camp if you give up your personal information. Besides, my right to bring possible invasive species into California is being infringed upon! LIBERTY! FREEDOM! FUTURE! CHILDREN! SAFETY! GOVERNMENT! DEMOCRACY!?

J Clough - July 27, 2016 Reply

I live in Nevada and travel unmolested to Los Angeles almost monthly. They wave you 100% of the time if you are a neighboring state or California Resident. Most of these stops show the vehicle deliberately stopping, and FORCES the inspector to engage them. Technically, you are asking for an inspection. These “unconstitutional” checkpoints have been there since the 1920’s and only cause an issue when someone voluntarily allows an inspection and has marijuana in the trunk (LMAO). In addition the SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES HAS UPHELD THEIR LEGALITY ON SEVERAL OCCASIONS THROUGHOUT THE 96 years!!!!!! Now we have internet lawyers who know it all and cause an issue when its all about preserving the farming community. read the website and argue that.

The probable cause lies within specific criteria that the state of California has set forth.
All of this is available at http://www.cdfa.ca.gov

Our inspectors check vehicles and commodities for compliance with California and federal plant quarantine regulations. They also check commodities to make sure they are free from exotic invasive species that may be hitchhiking with them. Although the primary focus is on plant materials (i.e., fruits, vegetables, nursery stock, hay, firewood, etc.), other items are also frequently inspected.
The Department’s legal authority for conducting vehicle and commodity inspections lies in the California Food and Agricultural Code, specifically Sections 5341-5353 and 6301-6465. Although submitting to inspection is voluntary, vehicle and commodities are not allowed to enter until released by an inspector.
To minimize delays at the border (with nearly 20 million vehicles passing through the border stations each year), our inspectors are trained to conduct their inspections by the risk that a vehicle may be carrying hitchhiking pests in it—the higher the risk, the more thorough the inspection. This assessment is based on several factors, including route of travel, time of year and vehicle type.

Ruben Rayos - December 31, 2017 Reply

I’m sorry but that was the dumbest thing you have ever done, you act like you want to be treated with courtesy but you just disrespected them for no reason. He did what you do and you couldn’t handle it and ran away. “Deal with it another way”?! What way do you suggest? How do you do it?! For the first time you met someone who actually just asked you a question!
Just ANSWER IT!! Liberty!? The 4th Amendment protects against “Unreasonable” search and seizure, being asked if you have invasive species or plant life is not unreasonable! If they wanted to further probe then that would be unreasonable. By being so protective of your possessions you have in fact given reasonable suspicion to the contents of your Van. You act like Liberty is the most important thing there is but at what point should we protect our Liberties? Are you saying that people who do carry invasive species or plant life should be protected? Are they allowed to continue their under handed operations because they have Liberty?
Your quotes are outdated! The danger and deterioration of the world has changed since then, Thompson v. Smith did not fully grasp the way the world would evolve!
Unreasonable, the keyword is unreasonable!!!!
You even go so far as to call this one in particular a fruit nazi checkpoint on Youtube, you didn’t even have the police called on you nor did you experience any kind breach of your rights!

Couch - June 25, 2018 Reply

That was absolutely amazing stunning that was very helpful.You sir are a true American Hero. Thank you,you have truly opened my eyes my mind my heart.

LongValley - September 19, 2020 Reply

I live near this particular 395 long valley check point and the local community is tired of their abuse. They absolutely do not wave you through 100% of the time as one commenter suggested. They will randomly stop even California vehicles and demand to search the trunk etc. for no reason even though you answered their questions politely. The majority of the time they do wave California and Nevada cars through but we have had horrible experiences with this particular station over the years and most everyone I know here unfortunately can say the same. Many of the staff are indeed polite but a few are causing a lot of problems for people. We had this particular agent from the video tell us we have no rights on one heated occasion. Later the district manager to his credit called us to apologize. There are polite agents who stick to their job without mission creep but the really bad ones make this station notorious. They always say the same creepy thing when things are going to go in a trample your rights direction by trying an unlawful search. “We are saving the environment.” Like they are telling themselves this to mask over what they are about to do.

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