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Join the conversation! There are now 23 comments on “Police vs Privacy pg 70
  1. pingo1387 says

    Although saying “NO! Don’t look in there!” is often considered highly suspicious…

    • Yes; short of having video rolling that can establish your version of the events, I suspect the police will usually “have already found something in there” if you suddenly say “NO! Don’t look in there!”.

      • Well, we’re not talking about whether the police might later lie on the stand about what happened. We’re talking about what the law says they can and cannot do. And if you clearly revoke your consent then they need to stop searching.

        • “I didn’t hear him revoke his consent.”
          “I didn’t hear him say that either.”
          “Does anyone ever revoke their consent?”
          “Only guilty people, I think. But I’ve never seen it happen.”

        • But would revoking consent in that kind of…agitated…fashion constitute probable cause? They’ve probably got some level of cause to be there in the first place, add in an agitated demeanour…

    • Suspicious? Most likely. But without your consent and without a warrant, would that suspicion alone be enough to allow him to keep searching?

      But also, why should insisting on privacy be suspicious? There are any number of non-criminal reasons for not wanting the cop to open than canister. What if it contains something embarrassing? Or the last breath of his dying sweetheart, and he doesn’t want it dispersed?

  2. Alectric says

    When I asked before why they never even bothered to say what they stopped those guys for in the first place, someone responded that they could easily make something up anyway. So in most cases, it’s your word against theirs, and that seems to be a gray area.

    • I’ve always been bothered by the “my word against theirs.” No matter what my standing in the community is – they have a badge and I don’t. So the judge/jury is always going to assume that their version of the facts are correct.

      • A judge maybe, but juries are your “peers.” There might be plenty of jurors who dislike or don’t trust cops though. Who knows which juror will happen to have dated a chick whose brother was cop and was a total dick or something.

        (Also, weird thing this comment feature does, when I hit reply on your comment, it autofills my name and website with yours.)

        • For what it’s worth, I was once dismissed from a jury pool (by the judge) because I answered that, all other things being equal, I would be more likely to believe a police officer is telling the truth than a random person. So I don’t think it’s a given a judge or jury would believe a police officer over another person out of hand.

          • Oddly, I had the same thing happen to me. I had made it through the judges questions, the defenses, and most of the prosecutions, when the judge relieved me for saying the same thing.

      • Um…no. I certainly wouldn’t. I’m well aware that cops lie, and I said so in open court the last time I was in voir dire.

  3. Nate says

    I’m a little confused about panel 4 — does that mean the police can’t ask for your consent to enter a place they think might be dangerous? That seems odd.

    • We’ll get to emergency stuff soon. That’s another issue. But they wouldn’t be relying on your consent as the justification for their search, in that case.

      This panel just applies to when they’re using your consent to justify their being there. If they expected to exceed the scope of whatever permission they got, before they even got it, then their asking is illusory and your consent wouldn’t count.

  4. Alectric says

    What if they’re not on duty? Are they still allowed to seize evidence in plain view? That would make inviting officers to social events a bit unnerving.

    • Anyone you invited to the party could go to the police and tell them they saw the evidence, wherein (as discussed earlier in the D&D player bust) they could get a search warrant for it. On the flipside, what are the odds the police officer in question is more interested in busting you then partying?

  5. Chris Katko says

    1) Would you be breaking the law by wasting police time by saying, “Look in my house. But make sure you don’t open this box.” and them waiting for a warrant? (key point I guess is wasting their time)

    2) What role do locks, and file encryption play in a search? In vehicles, and house. For instance, if my glove box in my CAR is locked, can they force me to open it, or, try to break into it? If my random box at HOME is locked, can they force me to open it, or try to break into it?

    Moreover, can a trunk, requiring a key to open, count as a locked container?

    • In a consensual search, you’re free an any time to tell the police to scram, get lost, take a hike, or any other synonym for “go away” and they would have to pick up and leave immediately unless they had already noticed something that would give them an exception to the need for a warrant. Just like any house-guest that has clearly overstayed his or her welcome.

  6. Chris Katko says

    A really interesting specific case:

    If 2 people own a dwelling (me and my wife.) We call 911 because she needs to go to the hospital. The police ask her if they can search our house, and she says “Yes.”

    Can I say no? And secondly, if not, can I say “No,” arguing the exception that she was under mental duress and unable to offer consent in that situation?

    • That sounds like a really weird case. Why would you call the cops to take you to hospital? Isn’t that what ambulances are for? And why would the cops ask to search your house in that scenario?

      • Actually, what if the police were patrolling nearby and saw the ambulance (or perhaps were following up leads from a crime already committed. Then they may want to get inside the house to see if they can figure out what happened (if there were no witnesses) and if they didn’t think the husband was telling the truth about how his wife got wounded. THEN, what would happen if the wife said no to a search, but the husband said yes (or vice versa)?

        • Recently settled.
          The judge ruled the husband didn’t have standing to revoke consent the wife had given.

          Remember, it’s ALWAYS a kangaroo court. That’s Modern Nazi Germany… I mean Soviet Amerika.

          Think, also, I started off as a Republican, and was born 1975. My country ceased to be some time ago – the words aren’t worth the paper they’re printed on, in reality.

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