Monday, January 26, 2009

Supreme Court pat down?

The Supreme Court issued a decision today that seems a little out of place.

The bare facts are these:

A car was legally stopped for an infraction. One of the police officers noted a passenger who appeared to be in gang related clothing. She began a consensual conversation and asked him to exit the vehicle so she could continue the conversation away from the driver. It turns out that the passenger was an Ex-Con. She suspected that he was armed, and so when he exited the vehicle she patted him down, found he was indeed armed, and arrested him for possession of a firearm.

The question put before the Supreme Court was whether the search of his person was Constitutional based upon the Fourth Amendment.

The Supreme Court held that once the stop was made, as established in previous cases by precedent, that the passengers, as well as the driver were under the control of the officers.

The interesting question here is that if he had refused to answer her questions about gang activities and his past, would she have asked him to exit the vehicle? Second, if he had refused to do so, since there was no real attempt at proof or belief at the time that he was involved in illegal activity, could he have been required to do so?

You can read the decision here:

1 comment:

Ashley said...

That is something to question..but then again there are a lot of things cops do that I question alot...