The Least, First

Monte Asbury's blog

Archive for May 1st, 2009

Why the Supreme Court’s unreasonable searches ruling matters to me

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This is good news:

After thirty years of near carte blanche to police regarding auto searches, this decision supports an often-abused right to privacy.  And it’s a “least-first” issue.

clipped from criminaljustice.change.org
Tuesday was a critical day for individual privacy rights at the U.S. Supreme Court.

[T]he court issued a major decision protecting citizens against unreasonable searches in traffic stops.

An unusual alliance of justices (Stevens, Scalia, Souter, Thomas and Ginsberg) came together in a 5-4 decision in Arizona v. Gant, ruling that officers can search a car during an arrest only if the suspect is close enough to the car to reach for a weapon or if there’s reason to believe the car contains evidence very pertinent to the arrest.

The decision strengthens fourth amendment protections for criminal suspects and limits the wide latitude officers have had for nearly three decades since the court’s decision in New York v. Belton.

New York Times: Supreme Court Cuts Back Officers’ Searches of Vehicles

WSJ Law Blog: Police Power to Search Cars Up in Smoke

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I have seen abuse by police.  I’m a white, middle-class, middle-aged guy, so I’ve not seen it a lot.  But on a couple of occasions, the curtain has lifted just enough to allow a glimpse onto a stage many Americans experience as normal life.

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