FlyerTalk Forums - View Single Post - Court Says Travelers Can't Avoid Airport Searches
Old Aug 11, 07, 9:20 am
law dawg
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 4,704
Originally Posted by SDF_Traveler;8212951As far as the consent issue, I believe you're giving consent to a full search once you present yourself at a checkpoint to enter a sterile area with the intent to fly. When the WTMD goes off or a bag check is called at an x-ray, you can't say stop and withdraw consent. [B
It's all[/B] (you entering the posted security checkpoint) or none (not entering a posted checkpoint). Because of the nature of an airport, I would argue that an alarm gives immediate reason to search further because the WTMD picked something up - or a screener saw something needing further investigation on an x-ray.
Sure, once the WTMD goes off it's too late to pull out, because now there is a whole new realm of suspicion opened, independent of consent. But before then? Why could they not withdraw consent before then (independent of this decision - I'm speaking in generalities and concept here, not specifically this decision)?

Motor vehicles - because they move - present a different set of issues when it comes to other searches (i.e. traffic stop) vs. the search of a house or business which is a known, fixed location with physical address. There is the plain view doctrine; aside from that an officer can ask you for consent to search. I've had a five, maybe six traffic stops since getting my license at 16. It's been several years (knock on wood) since I've been stopped. Not once have I ever had an officer ask to search the vehicle. If you give consent to search a motor vehicle, anything found is fair game since there is no scope. A LEO can't run to a judge while you're pulled over and get a search warrant either.
Inherent mobility is always a concern, no doubt. But aren't people, due to their inherent mobility, more like searching vehicles than homes? They can leave and go dump contraband, which was why I made that comparison rather than the search of a fixed place.

Getting back to airport searches: It's my belief there needs to be a scope with what they're looking for now that it is carried out by the federal government. Limits need to be placed on big brother for individuals to be secure in their home or person from "illegal" searches, seizures, and fishing expeditions. I'm sick of 9/11 being used as a catch-all or justification for all types of searches, seizures, and fishing expeditions whether it be at an airport, a train station, a bus stop ... or anywhere within a public transit system. Heck, wiretap the phones and go fishing that way too.
The question in my mind is - is the problem one of principle (we shouldn't be doing these searches as they're unconstitutional) or practice (we should be more efficient and do a better job)?
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