Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Pushing back on the drug war exception to the Fourth Amendment

I certainly don't agree with the Supreme Court's decisions all the time, by a long shot, but I have to commend the decision in Arizona v. Gant. It modified a previous decision which had been interpreted to allow the police to search cars whenever they make a traffic stop. Gant reinstated the older rule that a search was warranted (an unwarranted search, that is) only when there was some danger that a suspect might reach for something in the car, like a gun, or when additional evidence for the crime for which he/she was stopped was needed and there was reason to believe it was in the car. In Gant's case, he was already handcuffed in the patrol car and the police already had all the evidence they need on a suspended-license bust.

This Register editorial explains the issues a little more thoroughly. Interesting that our first commenter disagrees and virtually endorses the idea of a police state in which police can search anyone anywhere for whatever reason, or no particular reason. Sad that Americans think that wy, but some of them certainly do.

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