Oct 28, 2011

Say, is that ol' 4th Amendment starting to breathe again?

I told you Iowa was still free soil, more or less. Free-ish, anyway.

A cop stops you for some piddling offense. He resolves that and wonders, "Now, you don't mind if I go fishing take a quick look in your car do you Sir?"

You nod "okay" because Officer Friendly, what with his big pistol and creaky leather, club, Mace, and all can look pretty intimidating. And he seems nice enough. He asked nicely and called you "sir," didn't he?

Then he found that pinch of pot you must have forgotten to take out of the pickup. You're busted, cuffed, and in for a ride to town because you didn't say, "No thanks, Officer." After you think about it in the tank for a while you realize you  were flim-flammed and decide to take it all the way to the the state supreme court. You did, and

Justices in a 5-1 decision stopped just short of instituting new rules for Iowa law enforcement agents but strongly signaled their view that traffic stops on the side of public highways are “inherently coercive” and therefore can give rise to improper pressure on motorists to agree to vehicle searches.

They ruled the search illegal and the "evidence" therefore inadmissible. They said:

Iowa police officers would do well – but are not yet required – to warn motorists that they don’t have to let authorities search their vehicles during minor traffic stops, the Iowa Supreme Court ruled this morning.

The dissenting justice said:

(a) He didn't want to handicap the police. (He's apparently fine with handicapping the Constitution and the citizens whom it was created to protect -- from the police, among others).

(b) His view is closer to the federal government's opinion.  (Good God, man, you consider that a virtue?)


Note to the motorist involved here: Glad you won it. Now get off the pot. Stoners tend to screw up their lives at a higher rate than folks who can handle reality.


Guffaw in AZ said...

Good news! Inches, my friend, not feet!

Anonymous said...

The proper response is, "Give me my ticket, and I'll be on my way. Thank you, officer". It's surprising how many people will just roll over and say, "Sure, you can dig around in there and see what you can find." And, don't ever deny your guilt to a fed--that's a crime in itself. JAGSC

Anonymous said...

Justice Thomas Waterman

I'll remember that name the next time he's up for a retention vote.

SpeakerTweaker said...

Links, citations; hell, I could have been in the courtroom and heard the opinion with my own two ears and I'm not sure I would have believed it.

And isn't that a sad state of affairs that I'm quite so shocked?


Jim said...

Tweaker: I'm going to post a link to the text of the decision. You and a few others may want to savor it, especially the dissent which, reduced to a simple Iand probably too simplistic) premise is: "Because the cops want to, that's why."

Anon :30 -- There one more culprit, Mansfield. He sat this one out because he was part of the appelate court which upheld the illegal search of Pals' car. Mansfield and Waterman face retention votes next year.

Jags: Any way I can persuade you to do a guest blog on the current state of 4A law? You're the only barrister I know these days who is competent in the use of comprehensible English.