May 2, 2014

“Cops Need a Search Warrant For Your Car? Nope”

The pesky Constitution, try as it might, is no match for activist judges and certain law enforcement types.  At least, those in Pennsylvania.  To wit:

Local police and legal professionals are calling the opinion “big news.”

“This is a significant change in long-standing Pennsylvania criminal law, and it is a good one,” Lancaster County District Attorney Craig Stedman said Wednesday afternoon.

Under prior law, an officer who smells marijuana inside a car, for example, could only search the car with the driver’s consent — or if illegal substances were in plain view. (Federal officers, like FBI or ATF agents, can search, regardless.)

Now, based on the opinion, it only takes reasonable probable cause for an officer to go ahead with a search without a warrant.

“The prerequisite for a warrantless search of a motor vehicle is probable cause to search,” McCaffery writes in the opinion. “We adopt the federal automobile exception… which allows police officers to search a motor vehicle when there is probable cause to do so…”

Previously, a warrantless search was only allowed if “exigent circumstances” existed, the opinion states.

“This case gives the police simpler guidelines to follow and (it) finally and clearly renders our law consistent with established federal law,” Stedman said.

“It is a ruling that helps law enforcement as they continue to find people in possession of illegal drugs,” New Holland police Lt. Jonathan Heisse said Wednesday.

While police rejoice over what’s been a lasting issue, citizens might not be as thrilled.

“It’s an expanding encroachment of government power,” defense attorney Jeffrey Conrad said Wednesday morning, while reviewing the 62-page opinion. “It’s a protection we had two days ago, that we don’t have today. It’s disappointing from a citizens’ rights perspective.”

Fourth Amendment?  Posh.  The Constitution is living and breathing, you see.  And right now, it’s breathing in the glorious Utopian air of authoritarianism and judicial oligarchy in support of a police state, and it is revived and refreshed!

Funny how that works, isn’t it?  By turning a settled, intended letter into a shambling zombie, the courts and politicians are able to find ways to determine how “reasonable” people can be convinced that circumventing essential rights is part of the Greater Good.

And really, what could possibly go wrong?


Posted by Jeff G. @ 12:30pm

Comments (19)

  1. It’s a mystery how, in the hands of the wise progressives, the greater good hasn’t already evolved into the greater value. We’ll have to give it a little more time, perhaps. But as for “go wrong”? Reductionist!

  2. Federal officers, like FBI or ATF agents, can search, regardless.

    If that is true, why should the local po po be any different?

  3. didn’t Jesus say, “give what’s in your car to the Man and shut up, lest he tase your ass and impound the mother”?

  4. He also said, “Blessed are thou whose names are close in alphabetical order to the crack dealer across town; the Kingdom of Heaven shall be opened to your dog sooner rather than later.”

  5. It’s why you see so many nuns with a throw down piece and a baggie of crank on a string around their neck.

  6. The ones still in their habit are the Little Sisters of the King Kong ain’t got nothin’ on me. Sometimes you see them at the beach. They aren’t Amish. Amish carry nines, these gals are revolver gals.

  7. I’m sure this exciting new power won’t be abused.

    Thankfully, of course, PA police are famously honest, always err in favor of the rights of the civilian, and would never ever lie about ‘probable cause’. So really, it’s just streamlining the process, and who doesn’t like efficiency?


  8. Dumb Pennsylvania cops should’ve called in the drug-sniffer dog — you know, the one that alerts on the smell of axle grease.

    Search warrant, smirch warrant.

  9. ‘Search without cause’ is the proud mother of mass civil forfeiture revenues based on suspicion of wrong doing.

    Thus swells an already long since begun age of Bronze, blue, and brown/khaki piracy. If the dog alerts your stuff comes with us.

    Want your stuff back? Tell your lawyer all about that stuff little serf. Daddy likes his dope new phone and the auction price of that laptop will go for scholarships for children of officers slain in the line of duty. Think of it as an investment in tomorrow.

  10. I’ve argued with big-L Liberts who seemed to think civil asset forfeiture was bad because it was being used in the War on Drugs that Can’t Be Patented. They couldn’t grasp that merely ending said War wouldn’t automatically make the forfeiture industry go away.

  11. I note only that PA adopted the Federal rule, which has been the law in most states, including mine, for over 40 years. Specifically, the police may search a vehicle incident to a lawful custodial arrest. So, if police stop a vehicle for driving erratically and determine there is probable cause to arrest the driver for Driving Under The Influence of Alcohol or Drugs, then they can search the vehicle. In other words, the search follows a lawful arrest.

  12. Civil Forfeiture is bad mostly because it is so easy to abuse and because the due process is on you getting your stuff back even if you are not charged with anything. The due process on the acquisition by LEO’s side is almost non existent.

  13. Old and Busted: United States of America

    New Hotness: Artificially Divided Quasi Democratic Oligarchic Intersectional Policy Struggle of America

  14. And the DOJ.

    Despite being in good financial standing, adult film performers and others in the porn industry have had bank accounts abruptly terminated—and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) may have had something to do with it.

    Under “Operation Choke Point,” the DOJ and its allies are going after legal but subjectively undesirable business ventures by pressuring banks to terminate their bank accounts or refuse their business. The very premise is clearly chilling—the DOJ is coercing private businesses in an attempt to centrally engineer the American marketplace based on it’s own politically biased moral judgements. Targeted business categories so far have included payday lenders, ammunition sales, dating services, purveyors of drug paraphernalia, and online gambling sites.

    “Operation Chokepoint is flooding payments companies that provide processing service to those industries with subpoenas, civil investigative demands, and other burdensome and costly legal demands,” wrote Jason Oxman, CEO of the Electronic Transactions Association, at The Hill.

  15. I can’t wait until we can use Operation Choke Point against groups like the Nation of Islam, the DNC, the Tides Foundation and the AFL-CIO.

    “Legal but subjectively undesirable”? Politically-biased precedent, bitches!

  16. the piggyslut cops in pennsylvania are very very racist so this decision will have a disparate impact on african americans, which means at some point our corrupt whore piece of shit Department of Justice is going to end up having a field day

    but all in all this is good news for the neo-fascist ascendancy in america

  17. i made mushy peas for a side dish for dinner tonight so the place smells like garlic and rosemary

    and despair

  18. thyme will take care of despair