Supreme Court Gives Police Power to Conduct Warrantless Searches

Thursday, February 27, 2014
By Paul Martin
Feb. 27, 2014

The Feb. 24 United States Supreme Court’s decision in Fernandez v. California gave law enforcement expanded authority to conduct warrantless searches. Professor Victor Williams of the Columbus School of Law at Catholic University explained the police in this case made an affirmative judgment not to get a search warrant.

“And the Supreme Court has said the starting point in analyzing any of these police actions regarding searches is to say was there a search warrant. If there is a search warrant, then that is obviously reasonable. Now if there is no search warrant in order for it to be a reasonable search under the Fourth amendment we need to have a quote on quote exception to the warrant requirement. Consent is widely understood to be such an exception so we say was there a warrant? And no, there wasn’t.”

The court held in its decision the live-in girlfriend gave police this required consent even though her boyfriend had told police no before he was arrested and taken away. Professor Williams said this was not the first time the Court had considered the question of whether or not someone else at the residence may consent to a police search after a co-habitant has said no to police.

The Rest…HERE

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