After 28 years of unconstitutional searches, Supreme Court FINALLY upholds the 4th Amendment


I have long been against the way officers search people’s cars, and finally the SC ruled that it was an (obvious) violation of 4th Amendment rights.

Before the ruling, officers were able to search anywhere and anything within the passenger compartment of a vehicle after they arrested someone, Sioux Falls Police Chief Doug Barthel said. Now, officers must get consent for a search or have “reasonable belief” there is evidence of a crime within the vehicle to allow them to search the passenger compartment, he said.

I have long beleived that your vehicle is no different then your house. An officer must have a warrant or permission to search your home, unless there is “reasonable belief”. For example he smells pot smoke, sees a dead body laying on your living room floor, etc. etc. I think it is bogus that this rule has been in affect for 28 years. It seems now days when an officer pulls you over for a traffic violation, they already assume you are a drug trafficker. Guilty until proven innocent is not how the 4th Amendment works.

“Originally, the rule was for an officer’s safety and trying to control the situation, but only later did they realize the use of traffic stops could enable police to investigate just to see if there was any criminal activity, with the focus often being on drugs,” she said.

It really does come down to the pointless and very expensive war on drugs which has clogged our courts and prisons with addicts not criminals. Our police should be focusing on real criminals like the ones that wear white collars in our banks across the country.

Robert Doody, director of the American Civil Liberties Union of South Dakota said it best on the new ruling;

“It was an expansion of the ability to search beyond what the Fourth Amendment would allow for,” he said. “Now you see the Supreme Court putting the brakes on it.”

I hope this is a new direction for our SC when it comes to constitution.


#1 Randall on 05.04.09 at 7:38 am

Hear hear!

It’s long past due – I applaud this first step away from a police state.

#2 Plaintiff Guy on 05.04.09 at 8:33 am

Finally, a step back from the Patriot Act. Good citizens will not be arrogantly bullied by law enforcement. Unfortunately, drugs will pass more freely through this state. Drug money and vehicle seizure revenue will be down but I’ll pay more taxes for constitutional freedom.

#3 Ghost of Dude on 05.04.09 at 8:46 am

I’d personally be happy to trade a few less drug busts for more freedom.

#4 l3wis on 05.04.09 at 9:10 am

“Drug money and vehicle seizure revenue will be down but I’ll pay more taxes for constitutional freedom.”

Actually, this will probably save taxpayer’s millions in court and jail costs associated with petty drug users.

#5 Plaintiff Guy on 05.04.09 at 2:41 pm

Very true, less litigation cost. Also, police can focus more on theft and violent crime. Sounds like win/win for citizens and the system.