Illegal Search and Seizure on our Highways

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  1. Paul Wingert profile image60
    Paul Wingertposted 12 years ago

    I crossed into Iowa from Illinois last week on Interstate 80 and I was confronted with orange signs posted by the sheriff department (I think it was the Sherriff or higway patrol) stating they were searching for drugs and vehicles are subject to search and be prepared to stop. When a cop pulls you over and asks to search your vehicle, you always, always say NO. The reason for this is suppose you gave someone a ride and the passenger left something illegal behind without your knowledge. In order for a cop to search your vehicle, there is a need for probable cause which is stated in the US Constitution. What part don’t they understand they cannot legally search a vehicle over a “hunch” without a valid warrant. I hear California and Arizona does that same thing. There has been many cases thrown out by the Supreme Court because the cop illegally searched a vehicle. You'd think these states and counties would catch on and put a halt to the practice. Any comments on this or am I missing something?

    1. TMMason profile image61
      TMMasonposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      The cops in one of the counties down here, (I think Valusia), on the route to Disney and MGM, were stopping cars and siezing all the cash from all the occupants, claiming they suspected drug activity. About 3 or 4 years ago if I remember correctly?

      That went down rather well I should say... tourists from around the country freaking out.

      1. Paul Wingert profile image60
        Paul Wingertposted 12 years agoin reply to this

        I heard of that one. I also hear the vast majority of the people getting pulled over (from all over this country) are minorities. You'd think every lawyer in a 100 mile radius of thsee incidents would have no problem finding clients. People need to be made aware of their rights when it comes to this and maybe these cops would get the hint.

    2. Dave Mathews profile image61
      Dave Mathewsposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      Cops are creatures of habit. They tend to do or to try and do whatever has worked for them or for fellow cops in the past regardless of the fact that 99% of the time they themselves are in violation of the law. I have always maintained that there is not one cop who could even find his badge, pinned to his shirt.

      Unfortunately ordinary citizens comply with these illegalities simply because citizens are uninformend of their rights therefore cops take advantage of the situation.

      All cops, are trained that it is legally OK to lie or do anything to get a bust.

    3. Evan G Rogers profile image60
      Evan G Rogersposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      There's only one candidate speaking out about this sort of stuff - Ron Paul.

      I know I sound like a broken record, but his message of freedom resonates deep.

    4. Quilligrapher profile image73
      Quilligrapherposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      Hey there Paul.  How are you this evening?

      The following is quoted from the web site of Virginia law firm:
      “You are never required to consent to a search of your vehicle. Of course, a police officer is not obligated to advise you that you have the right to refuse consent to search. The only rights the police must advise you of are your Miranda rights, which will be discussed below. You must be aware of your Fourth Amendment rights and take the appropriate measures to invoke them when confronted by law enforcement.

      If you do not wish to consent to a search of your vehicle, you should make two things clear to the officer. First, that you do not consent to a search of your vehicle, and second that you will not physically obstruct him if he believes that he has probable cause. This is so because even if you refuse consent to search the officer might search anyway. If the officer searches your car without your consent he will have to justify to a judge why he thought he had probable cause to search in the event contraband is discovered. If you are charged with a crime based upon items seized from the car, your lawyer may be able to challenge the admissibility of this evidence with a suppression motion. Had you consented to the search then this potentially valuable defensive strategy would not be available to you.” … eizure.htm

      1. Paul Wingert profile image60
        Paul Wingertposted 12 years agoin reply to this

        This actually happened to me a while back. I was pulled over for some petty thing and I was asked by the cop if he could search my car. I said no. He got pissed and asked me again and I kept saying no. He even tried to call in to get a search warrent in which he was denied. So he let me go. This was in Washington State.

        1. Ralph Deeds profile image64
          Ralph Deedsposted 12 years agoin reply to this

          Interesting. You're lucky he didn't give you two or three phony tickets. Many years ago I was stopped in the wee morning hours in an unfamiliar neighborhood in Royal Oak, Michigan, for making an illegal left turn. When I was stopped I said to the cop that I wasn't familiar with the intersection and hadn't seen the no left turn sign and pleaded politely for him to give me a break. He began writing the ticket and asked for my car's registration and proof of insurance. I made the mistake of making a sarcastic remark to the cop (no profanity)and he jumped out of the police car and threatened to hit me with his long, black flashlight. I jumped back out of range, and the policeman proceeded to write two more tickets--one for speeding and a second for not being able to produce proof of insurance. I got nowhere when I explained to the judge that I had made an illegal left turn but in the half block before I was stopped I hadn't been speeding at all, let alone 45 in a 30-mile zone. He said something to the effect that "that's what you get for lipping off to a policeman." When I produced proof of insurance that charge was dropped. The law enforcement community (police, prosecutors, judges) sticks together and takes care of their own.

  2. paradigmsearch profile image60
    paradigmsearchposted 12 years ago

    Unfortunately, our civil rights do indeed vary by city, county, and state. neutral

  3. Patty Inglish, MS profile image89
    Patty Inglish, MSposted 12 years ago

    My understanding is that law enforcement needs probable cause and/or a warrant to search vehicles.

    A decade or so ago, I was driving home after closing my restaurant and had left my purse in the trunk. A police officer stopped me and asked me what I was doing out so late. First, it was only 10PM. Second, when he asked for my license I said it was in the trunk. I got out, opened the trunk and he told me just to close it up and go about my business. The situation would have qualified as illegal search, I believe.

    I never have seen a search advertised along the road as you have seen. It's disturbing that it could be done and that there are so many drugs illegally used.

    1. Paul Wingert profile image60
      Paul Wingertposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      First of all it's none of the officer's business what you were doing out no matter what time of night. I don't think it qualifies as a search since your license was in the trunk and it sounds like you voluntarily opened your trunk to get it. If the officer went through your trunk, that would be a different story. The use of illegal drug is another matter.

  4. DrPPoorluk profile image61
    DrPPoorlukposted 12 years ago

    It happens on certain occasions in New Hampshire also. There's always some kind of announcement though, as everybody seems to know when it's about to happen. I think they're looking more for drunks than anything else though.

    1. Paul Wingert profile image60
      Paul Wingertposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      When I was crossed into Iowa, it was 10am. I went through a gauntlet of cops looking for drunks before, but they are interested in finding drunk drivers, not searching your vehicle.

  5. Jen Pearson profile image63
    Jen Pearsonposted 12 years ago

    Perhaps this is occurring because immigrants (legal or otherwise) aren't aware of their rights and that is the population these road blocks are intended to target--without targeting so they have to do the same thing to everyone in order not to appear to be targeting. I agree that this degree of police monitoring infringes on our rights, but how do we protest it?

  6. Ralph Deeds profile image64
    Ralph Deedsposted 12 years ago

    One of the causes of the Detroit riot in 1968 was the lily white police department violating the civil rights of blacks with their "stop and frisk" policy. The issue came to a head when a white policeman stopped and frisked a black judge on his way from the court house to his car in the parking lot. Now black as well as white policemen are violating citizens' civil rights!

  7. earnestshub profile image80
    earnestshubposted 12 years ago

    I watch America shows such as "Cops" occasionally just to see how far they will go in abusing their position.
    Many of these red-neck cowboy cops should be doing time themselves for all sorts of violations of peoples rights.

    Now there are similar shows developing in England, New Zealand and even the Australian outback cops show, which shows them abusing their positions as if it is normal behaviour.

    I hope that like the Australian reality cop show that these morons don't represent the police forces across America!

  8. Lily Rose profile image85
    Lily Roseposted 12 years ago

    If they've got a drug-sniffing dog at one of these search areas and the dog alerts, they've got PC (probable cause). They can legally walk the dog around the outside of your car and let it sniff the exterior of the car - no expectation of privacy there.  Just sayin'...


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