Court Upholds Search of Passenger's Belongings

  Court Upholds Search of Passenger's Belongings

Posted by FoM on February 06, 2001 at 09:18:22 PT
Source: Star-Tribune 

A driver's consent to search a vehicle justifies the warrantless search of a passenger's belongings within the car, the state Supreme Court ruled Tuesday. The court's 4-3 decision was the first time it has addressed the issue, which the court noted in its decision has not been decided by the U.S. Supreme Court. The state Supreme Court's decision allows into evidence drugs and paraphernalia found during a 1997 search. 
According to court records, Jennifer Matejka was one of several passengers in a van that was stopped by a state trooper for a traffic violation in Portage County. The trooper obtained the driver's consent to search the van and ordered everyone out while he conducted the search. Matejka left her jacket behind, and the trooper eventually searched it, finding drug paraphernalia and marijuana. After her arrest, Matejka and her belongings were then searched, turning up additional drug paraphernalia, marijuana and LSD. Matejka was charged with two counts of misdemeanor drug possession. She moved to suppress the drug evidence, arguing that the warrantless search violated her Fourth Amendment rights because she had a reasonable expectation of privacy in the van and never gave police permission to search her jacket. The circuit court granted the motion, finding the search violated her Fourth Amendment rights against unreasonable search and seizure because she had not personally consented to the search of her property in the van. The court of appeals reversed the lower court, concluding that the driver's consent to the search of the van encompassed Matejka's jacket. Madison, Wis. (AP) Source: Associated PressPublished: Tuesday, February 6, 2001 Copyright: 2001 Associated Press Related Article:Supreme Court Upholds Passenger Privacy

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Comment #19 posted by BGreen on April 29, 2005 at 20:31:49 PT
You answered your own question
"(H)e must have seen that my friend had a previous charge of possession" and "the cop said he saw two specs of green on his dash, which the cop stated was marijuana."He covered his ass with "probable cause" in the eyes of the court.A previous possession charge and "expert field drug identification from a trained LEO" means your friend is screwed just like the rest of this "free" country.The Reverend Bud Green
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Comment #18 posted by sikofit on April 29, 2005 at 19:36:37 PT:
A friend of mine was recently pulled over after driving me home , it was a 4 hour drive one way, and needless to say he dozed off a little on the way home and swerved on the road. Some "good citizen" called the police and said they observed a drunk driver swerving all over the road. About 2 hours later he was pulled over and told he was called in under suspicion of drunk driving. The cop proceeded to do a normal stop but had a predetermined agenda on his mind, meaning he must have seen that my friend had a previous charge of possession. The cop gave my friend a field sobriety test, which he passed, then a breathalyzer test which he passed, my friend sat back in his car, at which time the cop said he saw two specs of green on his dash, which the cop stated was marijuana. The police officer told him to step out at which time he searched him, found nothing, handcuffed him, then put him in the back of the squad car. Without asking permission or stating to the owner of the vehicle that he was searching his car, proceeded to do so, the cop found a empty swisher sweet box containing an unmeasurable amount of THC, and a pipe. He was taken to a hospital and given a blood test. After all of this he was charged with possession of marijuana, possession of paraphanelia, and operating a motor vehicle under the influence of drugs. I believe the officer violated his rights by searching without consent, and definitely without enough probable cause. He was a victim of a cop trying to find any reason to justify his actions. Not to mention my friend was not acting suspicious, explained he just drove many miles through fog and that it was seven o clock in the morning. He was not acting in a manner that would make anybody suspicious. This case has still yet to go to trial, but I told my friend he should contact a lawyer and say he believes his rights were violated when the cop searched his car without his consent, and without stating his motives. If anybody can help me and my friend out with any information that pertains to such a case please email me at joecfost
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Comment #17 posted by dddd on May 09, 2001 at 12:19:37 PT
You are right
You're right Embarassed...I'm ashamed that I was drawn into thisdruggie chat room.Now that I read your comment,I've decided toquit being a drugged out pathetic loser like everyone else here.The worst part about being drawn into this cult of drug offenders,is that they somehow convinced me that the government was notto be trusted.If you cant trust the government,then who can youtrust.I hope you will keep posting here so maybe we can salvagesome of the other deluded drug users here.I think most of themare spaced out on marijuana,and dont realize what they are doing.
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Comment #16 posted by Embarassed on May 09, 2001 at 12:01:05 PT
Get a grip on life
All of you think the cops do not have anything better to do then harass you. Please, this group sounds like a bunch a drug abusers who are tired of being arrested for breaking the law. If you want to do drug legally move to Holland and get out of America. I have never seen so many idiots in a forum in my life. All of you sound like pathetic losers who come up with fantasy tales about the goverment. No one here wants to be responsible for their own actions. 
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Comment #15 posted by kaptinemo on February 07, 2001 at 17:04:32 PT:
"Git some, Git some!"
You Vets know what *that* means...FF, those idiot narks may have just thrown the case out completely, without you having to lift a finger. All because they probably thought that they didn't have to read your your Miranda rights. Here's something which your lawyer will definitely want to read: the cases are different, the treatment you received at the hands of the narks is shockingly similar. Get this to your lawyer, as it may be that your case has violated your rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act. READ ALL THE PAGES!!!On 'testilying':,%20testilying.htm
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Comment #14 posted by FoM on February 07, 2001 at 12:24:42 PT
Freedom fighter
Hi Freedom fighter, I went ahead and deleted the ones you wanted deleted. 
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Comment #11 posted by freedom fighter on February 07, 2001 at 12:06:12 PT

You gotta love this insanity
Hey Kap. the cellphone idea is great. It would work for us if we have cellphone or a fancy pager that can send out msg to the answering machine. Some of you know what had happened, I thought I would post an update on my case. Im going through three different cases right now. I recieved what is called Discovery from my lawyer and it is 30 pages long.To make it short, I will copy a few things from the Discovery. Basis of the search warrant wasAccording to the detective of this case:"I then drove the CI directly to 123 Anywhere St. The CI was observed by Det. Jack entering 123 Anywhere St. Via the hidden transmitter, I was able to hear the converstation which was taking place in the home. The CI contacted the party known as "John Doe". The CI then requested a quanity of marijuana. John Doe confirmed how much money CI had and then went to the downstaris portion of the home. John Doe soon returned with the corresponding quanity of marijuana. The CI then handed John Doe the prerecorded Task Force funds in exchange for the drugs.The CI exited the home and walked directly to my location. I again searched the CI for money and drugs, and again the search proved negative for both.I field tested the suspected marijuana sold by John Doe using a NIK Nark's Test Kit. The field test proved positive for the presence of marijuana." According to his statement, the CI came out of the home and was searched. No money or drugs were found?.The gish of this search warrant was based on CI who said he/she brought marijuana 10 times and they conducted one undercover sting. Read on and find out why the Drug War have gone insane, according to this detective who tried to interview John Doe,"I then spoke to John Doe. I would note that John Doe is deaf and it is difficult to understand him as he speaks. In order to resolve the communication problem I had his son, John Doe Jr, assist the interview. John Doe Jr. is not deaf and can sign fluently when he communicates with his father. The interview was short, as John Doe immediately requested to speak with an attorney. No formal interview was conducted."The detective claimed to hear the converstation Via transmitter. I wonder how. I never requested any lawyer, I only said that if I would need a lawyer and if I am being charge with what? The detective said," no charge if your son is a snitch." As for Miranda Rights, two people were taken to the police station. I, John Doe and a man named Mr. Magoo. According to the Discovery,"At the conclusion of the search warrant, Mr. Magoo and Mr. John Doe were transported to police dept. for booking and interviews.......At the police dept. I first spoke with Mr. Magoo. I advised Mr. Magoo of his Miranda rights. He stated he understood those rights and offered to make a statement, see written wrights/advisement form..........." I did not know that Mr. Magoo who could hear have more rights than I do. No one told me of my Miranda right. In the entire 30 pages of the Discovery, there is no mention of anyone advising me of my Miranda right. No one told me of what charges I would face when I got out of the police dept. That is it for the update.
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Comment #10 posted by observer on February 07, 2001 at 08:32:52 PT

kaptinemo, you get the Eagle Scout award of the year - this is the best advice I've seen - ever!I agree, that is a very good idea. I believe it's legal to broadcast (wireless) a low-powered video signal over short distances, on the order of hundreds of feet, for example, to a VCR at a neighbor's house.There's a good idea too! The prices on these little cameras just keeps dropping... etc. 
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Comment #9 posted by Lehder on February 07, 2001 at 05:02:30 PT

"Be Prepared"
>One thing I always carry in my car: a cell phone, with the speed dial set to my answering machine. That way, if I am stopped, there will be an exact record of the proceedings, in case Officer Jack Boot wants to risk 'testilying' and say that you did give permission when you had not.kaptinemo, you get the Eagle Scout award of the year - this is the best advice I've seen - ever! (Reminds me of a scene in the movie "The Firm" where Tom Cruise gets the goods on a Fed.) Occasionaly we read of a crooked cop who's been busted because a passerby happened to be holding a VCR. But kap's method seems nearly infallible. Just be careful the cop does not interpret the cell-phone as a firearm. I do carry a disposable camera with which to photograph the mess of irretrievibles I'd expect to be blowing across field and road after an illegal search. Speed dialing a remote anwering machine might be advisable too if there's a loud pounding on your door at home.A video recording of a hate-bust, like the one that killed Alberto Sepulveda, would be shown as widely as the Rodney King video and put a real crimp the drug war's popularity. In the Sepulveda raid, no drugs were found. But even if the victims of a police home invasion were in fact big dope dealers, the public would be most interested in the video of cops stuffing dope and money in their pockets as well as the evidence bag. To say nothing of their manner of entry.I believe it's legal to broadcast (wireless) a low-powered video signal over short distances, on the order of hundreds of feet, for example, to a VCR at a neighbor's house.
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Comment #8 posted by kaptinemo on February 06, 2001 at 19:41:39 PT:

Some cold comfort
FF, this might help, though it is more than a little too late to show those scatter-gun wielding jerks. I suggest everyone get a copy and read it.ACLU Bust Card: the Good Doctor was trying to say is that anytime you are stopped by the police and they cannot give you a straight answer as to *why*, and then try to get chummy with you and ask to search your car, they are conducting a 'fishing expedition'. Strictly illegal, and they know it; they are hoping that you will be ignorant of your 4th Amendment rights to simply say NO.As Dr. Russo said, DO NOT give consent to a search; that makes the fishing expedition legal in the eyes of the court because you have LEGALLY SURRENDERED YOUR RIGHTS AT THAT MOMENT OF ASSENT. If you do not give consent, and they search after you have made it clear to them that you will not give up your 4th Amendment Rights, even if they find something, it becomes tainted evidence, the 'fruit of the poison tree'. Inadmissable. If they try to detain you, you can risk telling them you are leaving, and go. It forces the issue; they must either arrest you on the spot - and explain *why*, later - or let you go. Don't wait for the dogs. The group in this article made that mistake.One thing I always carry in my car: a cell phone, with the speed dial set to my answering machine. That way, if I am stopped, there will be an exact record of the proceedings, in case Officer Jack Boot wants to risk 'testilying' and say that you did give permission when you had not. (FF, I I realize that that is pointless for *you*, but anyone else in the car can do it for you... Besides, they didn't read you your Miranda rights. They must have stupidly assumed that 'deaf' equals 'fool'. You could have them by the balls if you got a lawyer who could bring that up in court.) It also helps to tell him that 'your lawyer' has told you never to agree to such searches. It makes them stop and think twice about what they originally thought would be an easy game of intimidation.Yes, there is the risk, as Senor Lehder has rightly pointed out, they may trash your vehicle. But if you stand fast and don't waver, in the end, *you* will have *them*.
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Comment #7 posted by Mr. 2toes on February 06, 2001 at 18:06:47 PT

You'll 'like' this:
In Virginia, the police officers do not have to have a warrent OR consent of the owner, merely probable cause is enough allow a police officer to perform a effects search.Personal articles (stuff your wearing) still reguire arrest, warrent, or permission to allow search however.
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Comment #6 posted by Lehder on February 06, 2001 at 13:23:27 PT

The Fourth Amendment - in a pig's eye
from "Drug Warriors and their Prey", Richard Miller:"After a rental Cadillac was stopped for speeding, police asked the driver to consent to a search of the car. A passener, who was an attorney and identified himself as such, advised the officer that a search was impermissible unless the driver was being arrested. The officer maintained that an innocent person would not object to the search. Reinforcements were clled in, and the car occupants were held for a half hour while a drug-sniffing dog was en route. They were forced to stand in the rain while the dog explored the car. No drugs were found. The innocent people were held because the police use the Fourth Amendment as a way of testing guilt, not as a check against groundless suspicions. 'The citizens choice is quietly to submit to whtever the officers undertake or to resist at risk of arrest or immediate violence'. That was Justice Jackson's earlier analysis of such a situation.....Searches can take much longer , and can include partial disassembly of a vehicle - which officers may or may not reassemble for the owner."
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Comment #5 posted by meagain on February 06, 2001 at 11:53:29 PT

Close call
Thanks for the advice EthanI think this decision was a tough call being that the jacket was left behind in the van and the driver consented to the van being searched.Never leave any personal articles behind when exiting a vehicle. I believe it is your right to secure your personal effects before exiting the vehicle. 
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Comment #4 posted by Gary Storck on February 06, 2001 at 11:45:51 PT

Link to Opinion on WI Courts website
See: to read the full opinion.Wisconsin is paying the price of voter apathy from last year, when low turnout led to the election of a conservative supreme court justice, who has been ruling against our constitutional rights ever since!
Drug Policy Forum of Wisconsin
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Comment #3 posted by Ethan Russo, MD on February 06, 2001 at 11:13:52 PT:

Within Rights
A person is within their rights to refuse a search. That does not mean that overzealous law enforcement will respect that decision, or not get an itchy trigger finger. I am sorry for your son's trauma. Hopefully the public will be outraged by such abuses.
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Comment #2 posted by freedom fighter on February 06, 2001 at 11:06:43 PT

But Doc, what about for a 16 yr old boy
going through the same thing? My boy was searched with a shotgun pointing   his head. They never asked him his consent to search. 
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Comment #1 posted by Ethan Russo, MD on February 06, 2001 at 09:34:06 PT:

Never Consent to a Search
Never consent to a search. Ask if you are under arrest. If you are not, then state your intention to depart. Never consent to a search.
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