Wednesday, April 13, 2005

The End of "Consent" Searches?

There's currently a bill pending in the state senate to ban consent searches at traffic stops unless there is probable cause for the search. I'm all for it. (I would also support a compromise that would continue to allow consent searches, but only when the individual gives written consent.) I have two major problems with these "consent searches." First, most people don't realize they have the right to refuse consent, and if they do, they still can be arrested for traffic violations if they do refuse consent to search. Second, and even more important in my mind, the consent search, in my opinion, is the biggest area of "testilying" by police officers. Technically, the law requires that the state establish by clear and convincing evidence that consent was given. In practice, this usually is just one officer's testimony that the defendant gave consent. The officer's word is almost always believed over the defendant. As long as an officer is willing to lie about a defendant giving consent, you may as well throw the 4th Amendment out the window.


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2/24/2010 10:46 AM  

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