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Court Says Travelers Can't Avoid Airport Searches

Court Says Travelers Can't Avoid Airport Searches

Old Aug 21, 07, 7:24 pm
  #31  
 
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Originally Posted by SDF_Traveler View Post
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.
...

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.

...

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.
I like this post -- not just because I agree with many of the points, but because I felt it was a well-reasoned argument.

I did have one question, though: what's the distinction between illegal drugs found during a search (evidence of possession, which is a crime) and blood or other similar evidence that could be evidence of an assault? Both seem to be evidence of a crime that may have been committed, so it would seem you should treat both the same way.

IMHO, any evidence found as a result of a good faith security search should be admissible. Otherwise, I can just see imagine the exchange at the security checkpoint: "All you have in the bag is several pounds of coke? All right, move along then."

I don't expect the bill of rights to give me the ability to do things that are illegal with impunity; I expect it to protect me against unreasonable searches (among other things). If a search is determined to be reasonable, which I happen to think it is in the case of airport security, then the results of it should be fair game.
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Old Aug 21, 07, 7:34 pm
  #32  
 
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I think if an assault weapon is found (.22 lady pistol) the law enforcement authorities must get involved because it is an undeclared weapon and also concealed weapon issues may come into play. Cops at their end must verify whether this individual has a license for that weapon. If yes and no criminal history is found, then they should be given the choice to surrender it, not board, or under escort take it out of the airport.

Originally Posted by bocastephen View Post
However, the issue is when and under what circumstances a person can refuse or withdraw from a search, and which items are germane to an administrative search of this type - clearly drugs, porn and drug paraphernalia are not germane to this type of search and should be inadmissible as evidence if found - unless the person has the right to stop the search at ANY point and leave the airport.
If a cop pulls you over for a broken tail light and then upon closer inspection he discovers blood on that tail light then suspicion is raised which would warrant additional searches. But cops are trained to handle such situations, whereas TSA isn't. Regardless of training though, as well as admissability of item found, if a crime is being comitted while under watch of a federal employee, then I believe it is the employee's duty to inform the authorities.
I do agree though that they shouldn't look for things that don't fall within the purvey of a lawful TSA search.
Which brings up another question... Does TSA have the right to forcefully detain you?
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Old Aug 21, 07, 8:06 pm
  #33  
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Originally Posted by DEVIS View Post
However, I must disagree with the simplicity of the fact. It is not a case of either or. It's a case of keeping people safe. If a weapon is found, what is TSA to do? Obviosly call the cops. Suddenly the scope of the search moved from administrative to criminal.
And I don't think anyone has an issue with this. These are dangerous, prohibited items and it's within their scope. This is a search that all "consent" to. They're trying to keep these off of planes. No issue.

If something OTHER than a weapon is found that is of an illegal nature, drugs for example, then certain guidelines should be set. Posession is a crime last I checked.
They're not searching for this stuff and that's outside the scope of the search. Hence this is where the problem lies.

TSA being federal employees must have a specific guideline to summon law enforcement officers to take over the search if they find a crime is being comitted.
This should be limited to the scope of the search. This is another problem.

It seems to me that this is partially what TSA did. TSA found a wrapped object in the man's pocket and opened it. Now this is an universe's worth of gray area! If metal detectors weren't triggered, then I don't believe TSA has the right to search any further.
Agreed.

As I said, TSA unwrapped the pipe, AFTER they had called the cops. Now whether the unwrapping was done because the cop authorized TSA to do it, or was done without the cop's knowledge, that I don't know.
I think this is TSA overstepping its bounds. If the metal detector beeped or if the item was swabbed and hit positive, further investigation would be warranted, but I think this is where the LEO would get involved. I think unwrapping a pipe can cross the line. Not that TSA has never crossed the line (see the example where TSA went thru another FT'ers receipts in his wallet ).

This piece of info is not included in the "statement of facts" and I believe it should have. It is this very point that would have made the difference between a rightful and wrongful search.
I think it's a wrongful search when TSA exceeds the scope of the search. The checkpoint should not be a fishing expedition, but it's turning out to be that.

Basically this boils down to what everyone has been saying all along in this board, and that is that TSA simply has FREE REIGN over you and your posessions while you are in their yard. There are no guidelines, your rights fly out of the window and any complaint is met with threats and possible escalations to the level of arrest.
And sadly, this is the main issue that courts keep skirting. One does not give up rights simply by submitting to an administrative search.

Placing this reign under the 911 umbrella is a very cheap move, shame on whoever uses it! Not everything that happens nowadays is terrorism related or terrorism inspired.
Agreed.

If TSA is to truly be effective yet NON INTRUSIVE they should assemble 2 teams of lawyers and judges. One pro unlimited searches and one against such searches. Let these two teams bust their heads and come up with a solution that CLEARLY defines what TSA can and cannot do. If there is a simple solution to be had, I believe this is it, however reaching a consensus will be anything but simple.

Too bad this is only a dream...
I think this would be a good idea and a very good start. However, I think it's a dream as well.
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Old Aug 21, 07, 11:05 pm
  #34  
 
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Originally Posted by eyecue View Post
and the most liberal.
Quite true, which makes their ruling in this case seem a bit surprising to me.
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Old Aug 22, 07, 2:12 am
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Originally Posted by Superguy View Post


They're not searching for this stuff and that's outside the scope of the search. Hence this is where the problem lies.

There is no problem,it was plainly explained. You can argue all you want. Better yet why not test the system yourself if you believe your so correct?
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Old Aug 22, 07, 3:32 am
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Originally Posted by tsadude1 View Post
There is no problem,it was plainly explained. You can argue all you want. Better yet why not test the system yourself if you believe your so correct?
Actually no.... it wasn't. In this whole situation we uncovered a few gray areas.

Now, I do have a few questions for you, sort of to clarify all the stuff we've been talking about:

1. If during the search you discover something that isn't a threat (with threats being firearms, explosives and knives) but you clearly know to be a violation of the law, such as drugs in this case, what are you supposed to do? As a TSO, not a private citizen of course.

2. Can you guys use force to detain someone who does not want to be detained? If yes, what kind of training, if any, have you received on the matter?

3. During the lighter ban I always snuck one onboard... a little one... removed the metallic piece as well as the childproof spring thingy and calmy placed it in my little jeans pocket. How come you guys NEVER caught on?

4. Do you guys consider the Sony/Toshiba exploding laptop batteries a threat? I know I do!

and

5. Are you aware that your job serves absolutely no purpose?


Mind you, this is not an attack upon you as a person, nor is it an attack upon you as a TSA employee. I am just trying to gather information. Note how what I've done was ask questions...
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Old Aug 22, 07, 8:02 am
  #37  
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Originally Posted by tsadude1 View Post
There is no problem,it was plainly explained. You can argue all you want. Better yet why not test the system yourself if you believe your so correct?
Thinking like an engineer for a moment, I would construct such a test in a way that eliminates all other variables. I would bring a small carry-on bag with only a couple of joints or perhaps a clean (almost sterile) crack pipe. One of the biggest excuses screeners get away with is the "I thought I saw something" line -- no further justification necessary for a bag search. So, if you eliminate all of the "somethings" except for the drug item, that item can be the only reason for a bag search. That's the only way I can think of to create a situation in which the only reason to search a bag is to look for drugs.

I would pick a drug-friendly state where you would get the equivalent of a traffic ticket for possessing a joint. It doesn't really matter what the item is, as long as it is not a "prohibited item" and one that is illegal, to some degree, to possess. You would have to make sure you have a legal team from the ACLU or other civil liberties organization ready to go and strategically placed near the checkpoint to be able to record and document the event. Whatever you do, you would have to ensure that there was no administrative search reason to search your bag.

You would also have to be extremely patient, because it may take many attempts to get your bag searched. You might do something to deliberately get an SSSS ticket, which would force a bag search, but the risk would be that the SSSS was an indicator of reasonable suspicion, however fatally flawed the SSSS system is. Given that there is no shortage of screeners in search of the Big Catch, I have no doubt that the empty bag would eventually get searched.

Alas, all the government would have to do would be to decide not to presecute you and avoid the issue altogether.

Now, this is an engineer's approach. I have no idea whether this is a good legal challenge approach.
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Old Aug 22, 07, 9:05 am
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Originally Posted by DEVIS View Post
Actually no.... it wasn't. In this whole situation we uncovered a few gray areas.

Now, I do have a few questions for you, sort of to clarify all the stuff we've been talking about:

1. If during the search you discover something that isn't a threat (with threats being firearms, explosives and knives) but you clearly know to be a violation of the law, such as drugs in this case, what are you supposed to do? As a TSO, not a private citizen of course.

2. Can you guys use force to detain someone who does not want to be detained? If yes, what kind of training, if any, have you received on the matter?

3. During the lighter ban I always snuck one onboard... a little one... removed the metallic piece as well as the childproof spring thingy and calmy placed it in my little jeans pocket. How come you guys NEVER caught on?

4. Do you guys consider the Sony/Toshiba exploding laptop batteries a threat? I know I do!

and

5. Are you aware that your job serves absolutely no purpose?


Mind you, this is not an attack upon you as a person, nor is it an attack upon you as a TSA employee. I am just trying to gather information. Note how what I've done was ask questions...
1. Call a STSO and let them handle it.
2. TSOs do not detain, LEOs detain. If you want to run,do it. You will be eventually found.
3. Most TSOs thought lighter ban was stupid considering that you could carry matches
4. Dell batteries are dangerous also
5. Opinions are like A$$holes

My question to you guys, why are you so set on defending some crack head? Are you paranoid about what youtravel with? Mind you, this is not an attack upon you as a person, nor is it an attack upon you as a passenger. I am just trying to gather information. Note how what I've done was ask questions...

Last edited by tsadude1; Aug 22, 07 at 9:22 am
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Old Aug 22, 07, 9:24 am
  #39  
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Originally Posted by tsadude1 View Post
My question to you guys, why are you so set on defending some crack head?
It's not defending the crack head. It's defending the rights that should protect the crackhead and everyone else.

And what authority makes you a drug cop?

Why don't I test this? I don't do drugs, and my job depends on me not doing drugs, both from a private and public perspective (aka clearance). And the fact that I don't have anything otherwise illegal ...

Probably a better test would be just having over 10k in cash in a bag with nothing else in it ... like a trip to Vegas. I'd be willing to sue over that. Problem is I just don't have that much cash lying around.
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Old Aug 22, 07, 9:27 am
  #40  
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Originally Posted by tsadude1 View Post
...Note how what I've done was ask questions...
Defending a crackhead? Ummm no. We're defending the Constitution and what's left of the 4th Amendment, which your agency's management unilaterally ignored by requiring screeners to report non-germane items found during the search.

The Constitution is far more important than any drug problem.
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Old Aug 22, 07, 9:31 am
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Noone is defending him.

The issue here is whether you guys step out of your role of searching for dangerous items or not. It has clearly been explained by several FTers that on occasion you do.

Hey a crackhead deserves to be in prision, especially one of his level of stupidity, but it seems that what the TSO did during the search was excessive and wend beyond the realm of their duties. The worrying point is exactly this... the excessiveness of the search.

It was clear he didnt have weapons or explosives. Whatever else he had, sorry but it was NOT your job to look for it.

The end does not always justify the means.

Oh, and on Nr. 5... sorry but that answer was straight out of W's playbook!
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Old Aug 22, 07, 9:35 am
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Let me set this straight. TSOs are not trained to identify drugs, none, nilch , nadda. If a TSO finds something that looks suspicious to them, then they report it and the LEOs make the determination as to what it is. That's it plain and simple. If you are the average Joe pax, who doesn't do drugs, why do you care if some cracked out freak goes to jail or is prevented from boarding your plane?
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Old Aug 22, 07, 9:50 am
  #43  
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Originally Posted by Superguy View Post
It's not defending the crack head. It's defending the rights that should protect the crackhead and everyone else.
Indeed--a lot of people seem to get caught up in, "Why defend such bad people?" which is a variation of the "If you have nothing to hide, you shouldn't be afraid," doctrine.

It's similar to something I saw just this morning, a news story about a pedophile who'd been arrested for violating a restraining order. The court then found the order to be invalid on a technicality (the judge never scheduled a hearing to notify the sicko). The prosecutor is now trying to file civil contempt charges for violating the invalid order! As I told my wife, the guy is scum, but that's abuse of the legal system, and isn't right, and regardless of who he is or how awful a crook he is, what's happening isn't right. In that particular case, get a new, valid order in place, and catch him violating it.
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Old Aug 22, 07, 9:58 am
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Originally Posted by exerda View Post
Indeed--a lot of people seem to get caught up in, "Why defend such bad people?" which is a variation of the "If you have nothing to hide, you shouldn't be afraid," doctrine.
Or the
You can argue all you want. Better yet why not test the system yourself if you believe your(sic) so correct?
riposte.

You just can't reason with them.
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Old Aug 22, 07, 10:07 am
  #45  
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Originally Posted by tsadude1 View Post
Let me set this straight. TSOs are not trained to identify drugs, none, nilch , nadda. If a TSO finds something that looks suspicious to them, then they report it and the LEOs make the determination as to what it is.
A crack pipe in and of itself is not suspicious. Not in terms of items going on a plane anyway.

That's it plain and simple. If you are the average Joe pax, who doesn't do drugs, why do you care if some cracked out freak goes to jail or is prevented from boarding your plane?
Because that crackhead should be apprehended thru other means and not thru the fishing expedition that is the checkpoint. It's NOT your job, and you don't have that authority. There's these little things called rule of law and due process that some citizens demand you stick to. I don't care if the crackhead boards my plane as long as YOU do your job, screen him, and he doesn't have any items that will threaten the plane (bottled water excluded).
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