FlyerTalk Forums - View Single Post - Court Says Travelers Can't Avoid Airport Searches
Old Aug 11, 07, 12:06 am
law dawg
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 4,704
Originally Posted by SDF_Traveler View Post
I haven't read the full decision (the PDF), but I do agree that once you (a) put luggage on the x-ray machine belt or (b) walk through a metal detector, you have consented to a search.

If the WTMD beeps, I don't believe you should have the ability to turn around, elect not to fly, and leave the airport. You have initiated the search procedure by choosing to go through the WTMD.

On the other hand, I believe the scope of the search conducted by the TSA should only be limited to weapons, explosives, or anything that would be a threat to an aircraft or its passengers.

The individual who challenged the search decided he wanted to leave the airport and not fly after he was put into a queue for secondary security because he lacked ID. That's a BS reason, IMHO, to be forced into secondary security - just as the selectee system is. The only people who should go into secondary security are those who don't clear the security checkpoint and need a further search to resolve the alarm.

The 4th Amendment provides protection from illegal search and seizures. When a search warrant is issued, it specifically states what is to be searched and what they're looking for. The search is limited by that scope. Anything found outside of the scope is not admissable in court.

Airport security, which is conducted by the federal government, should be handled the same way. The search allows them to search you and any belongings you intend to bring into the sterile area and onto an aircraft. The scope should be limited to items such as weapons, explosives, or anything that may harm an aircraft or passengers.

This passenger wanted out of the secondary search because he had drugs on him. Without going into OMNI territory, with the exception of perhaps marajuana, I believe drugs such as meth (which is what this passenger had) are rightfully illegal.

However, the security checkpoint is there for aviation safety and safety of passengers/individuals - it is not there to make drug busts or discover other items that could be deemed illegal. It is of my opinion, items found outside of the scope of an aviation safety search should not be admissable as evidence of a crime. It is not meant to allow for fishing expeditions either - unless related to aviation security. If a passenger has a lot of cash, that is their own business. If they're traveling overseas, it is up to the passenger to file the correct paperwork. Now, if you find a gun, explosives, an aviation safety threat, or something like blood which could indicate the individual recently assulted or harmed someone, then by all means turn it over to law enforcement.

Interesting article; the passenger may have been a big meth-head scumbag, but the findings in the search should not have been admissable for a drug arrest.

My opinion and other opinions are welcome.
I'm torn here because I understand your position and agree with it. OTOH, consent searches are defined by the consenter and consent may be withdrawn at any time, or at least up until the discovery of contraband. So why would this consent search be any different? They should be able to withdraw that consent like any other consent search, should they not?

Also, as you are consenting, anything discovered should be allowed, just as if a LEO searches your trunk looking for narcotics finds a dead body, it's allowed. And vice versa. Consent means consent to it all.
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