Author Topic: High Court Limits Searches of Suspect's Car After Arrest  (Read 1277 times)

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Offline thundley4

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High Court Limits Searches of Suspect's Car After Arrest
« on: April 21, 2009, 04:43:25 PM »
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The Supreme Court today sharply limited the power of police to search a suspect's car after making an arrest, acknowledging that the decision changes a rule that law enforcement has relied on for nearly 30 years.

In a decision written by Justice John Paul Stevens, an unusual five-member majority said police may search a vehicle without a warrant only when the suspect could reach for a weapon or try to destroy evidence or when it is "reasonable to believe" there is evidence in the car supporting the crime at hand.

The court noted that law enforcement for years has interpreted the court's rulings on warrantless car searches to mean that officers may search the passenger compartment of a vehicle as part of a lawful arrest of a suspect. But Stevens said that was a misreading of the court's decision in New York v. Belton in 1981.

"Blind adherence to Belton's faulty assumption would authorize myriad unconstitutional searches," Stevens said, adding that the court's tradition of honoring past decisions did not bind it to continue such a view of the law.
WaPo

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$2.7 million seized by police after traffic stop

Illinois State Police find millions of dollars during a routine traffic stop.

State police say a trooper pulled over a cargo van for speeding on I-57, just north of Tuscola last Thursday. The trooper said the two men in the van seemed nervous, so he searched the vehicle. The search uncovered $2.7 million in heat-sealed plastic bags in several boxes.

No criminal charges have been filed against the men from Texas. State police are investigating where the money came from.
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This ruling may have happened just in time to save these two guys and their money.

Offline Chris_

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Re: High Court Limits Searches of Suspect's Car After Arrest
« Reply #1 on: April 21, 2009, 04:59:50 PM »
Ah, they were just making a "stimulus" delivery in Chicago.   :whatever:
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Offline DumbAss Tanker

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Re: High Court Limits Searches of Suspect's Car After Arrest
« Reply #2 on: April 21, 2009, 05:17:00 PM »
Quite a dramatic reversal, however I expect the police reaction will be to leverage two big items it doesn't cover to meet their desires: 
(1)  The consent search and
(2)  Aggressively impound vehicles for stops, using custodial arrests to the fullest extent possible for the initial stop offense, so they can do an 'Inventory' of the car contents in the impound lot for 'Safekeeping' (Which is not, technically, a search, but which does allow them to use any evidence they might find in the process for prosecution).
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Offline thundley4

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Re: High Court Limits Searches of Suspect's Car After Arrest
« Reply #3 on: April 21, 2009, 05:22:23 PM »
Ah, they were just making a "stimulus" delivery in Chicago.   :whatever:

More likely a campaign contribution for 0Bama from his Mexican constituents.

Offline Lord Undies

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Re: High Court Limits Searches of Suspect's Car After Arrest
« Reply #4 on: April 21, 2009, 05:31:19 PM »
My son was stopped a couple of years ago for going the usual speed limit in a school zone.  He had not seen the zone sign blinking.  The cops wanted him to open his truck tool boxes.  He told them no.  They didn't like that answer.  The cops told him to make it easier on everyone and "just cooperate".  He told them no.  They said they could get a search warrant in short order.  He told them he had nothing pressing and sat down on the curb.  The cops gave him a ticket and told him to leave. 

No warrantless searches are allowed in his neck of the woods.

Offline rich_t

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Re: High Court Limits Searches of Suspect's Car After Arrest
« Reply #5 on: April 21, 2009, 05:36:49 PM »
My son was stopped a couple of years ago for going the usual speed limit in a school zone.  He had not seen the zone sign blinking.  The cops wanted him to open his truck tool boxes.  He told them no.  They didn't like that answer.  The cops told him to make it easier on everyone and "just cooperate".  He told them no.  They said they could get a search warrant in short order.  He told them he had nothing pressing and sat down on the curb.  The cops gave him a ticket and told him to leave. 

No warrantless searches are allowed in his neck of the woods.

If they merely stopped him for speeding they had no real reason to ask him to open up his tool boxes.  I think I would have done exactly what he did.
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Offline RobJohnson

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Re: High Court Limits Searches of Suspect's Car After Arrest
« Reply #6 on: April 23, 2009, 12:41:20 AM »
My son was stopped a couple of years ago for going the usual speed limit in a school zone.  He had not seen the zone sign blinking.  The cops wanted him to open his truck tool boxes.  He told them no.  They didn't like that answer.  The cops told him to make it easier on everyone and "just cooperate".  He told them no.  They said they could get a search warrant in short order.  He told them he had nothing pressing and sat down on the curb.  The cops gave him a ticket and told him to leave. 

No warrantless searches are allowed in his neck of the woods.

Good for your son. I would not let them throw my tools around for no good reason either.


Offline SSG Snuggle Bunny

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Re: High Court Limits Searches of Suspect's Car After Arrest
« Reply #7 on: April 23, 2009, 12:09:52 PM »
WaPo
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This ruling may have happened just in time to save these two guys and their money.
Consciousness of guilt is a long established legal parameter. If a cop were to approach a vehicle and his nose smelled the aroma of marijuana smoke he'd be allowed--I presume--to search the vehicle; so by what reasoning among the judges should a similar search be denied if his eyes saw the occupants "acting guilty" (anyone who has kids or a dog that pees on the floor knows this look) be prevented from searching a vehicle?
According to the Bible, "know" means "yes."

Offline thundley4

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Re: High Court Limits Searches of Suspect's Car After Arrest
« Reply #8 on: April 23, 2009, 12:17:41 PM »
Consciousness of guilt is a long established legal parameter. If a cop were to approach a vehicle and his nose smelled the aroma of marijuana smoke he'd be allowed--I presume--to search the vehicle; so by what reasoning among the judges should a similar search be denied if his eyes saw the occupants "acting guilty" (anyone who has kids or a dog that pees on the floor knows this look) be prevented from searching a vehicle?

There are people that get nervous around authority figures or even people they don't know. That could cause some people to "act guilty". I've known people that stammer/stutter when first meeting new people, but five minutes later can talk fine.

Offline SSG Snuggle Bunny

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Re: High Court Limits Searches of Suspect's Car After Arrest
« Reply #9 on: April 23, 2009, 12:26:09 PM »
There are people that get nervous around authority figures or even people they don't know. That could cause some people to "act guilty". I've known people that stammer/stutter when first meeting new people, but five minutes later can talk fine.
And sometimes guilty people are calm and collected.

Nonetheless the police need practical guidance as to what constitutes a reasonable suspicion. Does the fact some people, innocent though they may be, act nervous put ALL such actions out of reach for an officer looking to search a vehicle?

I would also argue the exclusionary rule has been abused to allow criminals to escape justice. Society is never served by excluding evidence of a crime. Liberty would be better served if LEOs and DAs that fabricate evidence of guilt or conceal exculpatory evidence are dragged through the criminal liability ringer and be exposed to civil liability as well; but how liberty is defended by allowing a murderer to skate because a judge rules the initiating traffic stop inadmissable has yet to be explained with any emotionally detached clarity.
According to the Bible, "know" means "yes."

Offline thundley4

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Re: High Court Limits Searches of Suspect's Car After Arrest
« Reply #10 on: April 23, 2009, 12:39:22 PM »
And sometimes guilty people are calm and collected.

Nonetheless the police need practical guidance as to what constitutes a reasonable suspicion. Does the fact some people, innocent though they may be, act nervous put ALL such actions out of reach for an officer looking to search a vehicle?

I would also argue the exclusionary rule has been abused to allow criminals to escape justice. Society is never served by excluding evidence of a crime. Liberty would be better served if LEOs and DAs that fabricate evidence of guilt or conceal exculpatory evidence are dragged through the criminal liability ringer and be exposed to civil liability as well; but how liberty is defended by allowing a murderer to skate because a judge rules the initiating traffic stop inadmissable has yet to be explained with any emotionally detached clarity.

I would agree with that part above, as evidenced recently by the over turning of Sen. Stevens convictions.  Haven't heard anything about him suing prosecuters.

As for the other part, that is why we have the Constitution and judges that interpret it. Constitutional law is supposed to be based on a strict reading/interpretation of the USSC, not bending it to suit the whims of society, police, lawyers or activist judges.  That is why this case went to the USSC in the first place.


Offline SSG Snuggle Bunny

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Re: High Court Limits Searches of Suspect's Car After Arrest
« Reply #11 on: April 23, 2009, 01:54:22 PM »
I would agree with that part above, as evidenced recently by the over turning of Sen. Stevens convictions.  Haven't heard anything about him suing prosecuters.

As for the other part, that is why we have the Constitution and judges that interpret it. Constitutional law is supposed to be based on a strict reading/interpretation of the USSC, not bending it to suit the whims of society, police, lawyers or activist judges.  That is why this case went to the USSC in the first place.


Alas, it was the courts that fabricated the exclusionary rule to begin with.
According to the Bible, "know" means "yes."

Offline rich_t

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Re: High Court Limits Searches of Suspect's Car After Arrest
« Reply #12 on: April 23, 2009, 04:06:20 PM »
Correct me if I am wrong, but aren't most prosecuters exempt from civil suits in regards to cases they have wrongfully prosecuted?

I'm pretty sure I heard a lawyer mention that concerning the case that Niphong (sp?) screwed up concerning those LaCross players.
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