oos Email Newsletter: Issue #16


Supreme Court Decision Protects Motorists

In an incredibly rare decision the US Supreme Court actually protected motorists’ rights.

It has become standard operating procedure for the police to search the vehicle of any person they have arrested. Not openly mentioned is the police finding an excuse to arrest someone if they want to search that person’s car and they don’t have probable cause to do so.

The Court ruled that if the arrested driver is under control (e.g. locked in patrol car) and of no danger to the officer(s) the officers must have a warrant to search the car, or clear indications of evidence of a crime in the vehicle.

For decades, the right to privacy of persons and their possessions in a vehicle has been systematically eroded to the point of near invisibility. In many states common traffic violations are categorized as “crimes” and the driver is subject to arrest. Once arrested the driver had no legal standing to prevent the search of his or her car.

This new ruling should put a crimp in the practice of warrantless searches of private vehicles. For the complete text of the decision see:

http://www.supremecourtus.gov/opinions/0/07-542

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