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PA supreme court says screw the 4th, vehicles now searchable without a warrant

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  • #16
    And the PC has to be specific. You're going to have to articulate exactly WHAT type of evidence or contraband you think is in the car and only search places where that evidence/contraband could be concealed.
    This.

    It's not the right to search any car any time for no reason, you have to be able to articulate WHY you think there is contraband in the car... usually because you've already found some in plain view, or a drug dog alerted, or the occupants are high as a kite.

    there should be no law against having a secret compartment in your vehicle. Or 2 or 10.
    True. However, discovery of a secret compartment WOULD be PC to think some crime may be taking place. PC isn't certainty.

    Having the compartment itself may not be a crime, but if I suspect you have one I'm going to investigate to make sure there isn't a crime occurring.
    Last edited by tanksoldier; 05-23-2014, 10:03 AM.
    "I am a Soldier. I fight where I'm told and I win where I fight." -- GEN George S. Patton, Jr.

    "With a brother on my left and a sister on my right, we face…. We face what no one should face. We face, so no one else would face. We are in the face of Death." -- Holli Peet

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    • #17
      Originally posted by allen_gamble View Post
      Yeah, Carroll Doctrine is one of the most important areas of case law taught at police academies. It's Cop 101. This is the way it has ALWAYS (for any cop who is alive today) been for my state. I don't know anything about the PA constitution, and I'm guessing Carbon must be right as to why this made news.

      Anywho, I would not call this a significant erosion of the 4th Amendment because it's such a long standing precedent at the federal constitutional level.

      By the way, PC isn't the highest standard, but it's not the lowest either. Usually you're gonna get PC from something pretty rock solid, i.e. contraband in plain view, odor of marijuana, hit from a drug dog, etc. It's not just that you can stop a car and search it just because the driver is acting funny or something. And the PC has to be specific. You're going to have to articulate exactly WHAT type of evidence or contraband you think is in the car and only search places where that evidence/contraband could be concealed.
      Not being from PA, take this with a grain of salt. Having read the decision, PA has Article I, Section 8 in their state constitution which pretty much says the same thing as the 4th Amendment. The question that the PA Supreme Court looked at was where did Article I and the 4th Amendment begin going in different directions. From my reading it looks as though the PA Supreme Court had been on board with Carroll through the 1990's but the difference came down with what were Exigent circumstances. The US Supreme Court ruled that a vehicle being movable was in itself an Exigent circumstance and no other exigency was needed.

      So basically the PA Supreme Court didn't have a problem with Carroll and had said that currently they PA did follow Carroll so IF there was an exigent circumstance and it was a motor vehicle, the police with probable cause could search the vehicle. What they expanded was that a motor vehicle by being mobile created the exigent circumstance (similar to the federal standard) and with probable cause, the police can search a motor vehicle without a warrant.

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      • #18
        So actually the 4th Amendment didn't really get "screwed"

        Just as I thought.....
        It is better to keep your mouth shut and appear stupid than to open it and remove all doubt.

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