Massachusetts Cop Forum banner

1 - 17 of 17 Posts

·
Subscribing Member
Joined
·
1,281 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Officer Joebob stops a car for speeding. While talking to the driver he notices a cooler on the passenger seat. The operator is 18 years old. Officer Joebob asks driver whats in the cooler. Driver says "nothing" (and hes on his way to a friends house at 10:30pm on a thursday night with party gear on). Officer Joebob asks if the driver would mind opening up the cooler then. Driver refuses to open the cooler under any circumstances.

I say: Within reach of the driver, closed containers are OK to search so long as you have PC to do so. There wasnt really any PC....no open containers rolling around,no smell of alcohol,etc. the car was clean, all except for that f*cking cooler the little shit wouldnt let us look in.

The officer on the stop went with his best instincts and let the cooler slide, while instead boning the kid with a ticket for speeding through one of the lots.

Any opinions, for my own benefit?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
193 Posts
You know there's booze in the cooler, he knows there's booze in the cooler, without reasonable suspicion(odor of beer/empties) there's no PC to compel him to open it. However, you may say its about two hours of sitting here waiting for a warrant, if you have nothing if the cooler, then you have no reason not to open, you don't want to turn a couple of beers into a more serious offense giving false information to a police officer do you? Its a little much for a couple beers but it may deserved depending on the driver's attitude :roll:
 

·
Senior Member
Joined
·
1,334 Posts
Based upon your scenario, absent any specific and articulable facts leading to probable cause that fruits of a crime are inside the cooler, it would be a bad search. However, if there were articulable facts such as cans/bottles of alcoholic beverages in the car, smell of alcoholic beverage, empty six/twelve pack cardboard case, statements by the vehicle operator/occupants (interviewed separately so the weak link might give you a different story), etc... leading you to believe there is a crime, that you can articulate (the importance of report writing) I would say your on solid ground as far as a search.

Although your gut feeling or hunch is probably correct it does not satisfy the 4th amendment or the Massachusetts Declaration of Rights. Even if you get consent, the search may get tossed at a motion. No PC = No Search.

I can just see it:
Attorney: "Officer, you performed a search correct?"
PO: "Yes"
Attorney: "What were you searching for?"
PO: "Alcoholic Beverages"
Attorney: Your trained to search if you have probable cause, correct?"
PO: "Yes"
Attorney: Show me in your report the facts that led to your probable cause?
PO: Umm...Pause... :oops:
Judge: Defense Motion Granted :hump:
 

·
Subscribing Member
Joined
·
1,322 Posts
No you do not need PC in Mass to do a consent search; all you need is consent.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
195 Posts
Coming from a legal standpoint. It is a MV Stop. That is the crime. Unless something is in plain view or the officer has RS to believe an unlawfulact is or has been committed, then he has no standing to see whats in the cooler; Or the person is known to be dangerous and is tagged in the system as such. Now, after the ticket was issued, the LEO could plausibly ask whats in the cooler. This would be okay. Because, the purpose of the stop is now over and the officer and person are engage in convo. If the person in the car says sure you can look in, then it is pure consent nothing else is needed. If the person says no, he is in his right and can refuse. Remember protection from unreasonable searches and seizures. I am not a fan of Defense atty's, but sometimes LEO's set themsevles up in MV stops. Make sure the purpose of the stop is completed and citations have been issued. Then ask if you can search, 9 times out of 10 the person will say yes, and anything found is good. If the person in the car is hafway intelligent, they will refuse, and I hate to tell you, no RS or PC exists; they have exercised their rights.
 

·
Senior Member
Joined
·
1,334 Posts
When did you have to have pc to get a consent search? Is this just a mass thing?
No, you do not need pc for a consent search. The last paragraph in my first post was to comment on the fact that searches seem to get tossed pretty easy at court, even though they have been done right (either with pc or consent). Ranger2 summed things up well in his post. Sorry for the typo and any confusion in that last post as well. :oops:
 

·
Subscribing Member
Joined
·
1,281 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
Thanks for the replies. Next time I'm just gonna toss a bag of pot in the car and go from there.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
68 Posts
If the kid was under 21 and you believe there was booze in the cooler, get him out of the car, open the cooler. If there is booze in it, make him take out each and every last beer, then make him open each one and dump it out into the street. The minor now has no booze and you can sleep soundly tonight knowing he didn't drink those beers and hurt someone. Just because you think you will lose the evidence in court on a "bad" search is no reason to let him drive away with it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
129 Posts
jackryan";p="55013 said:
If the kid was under 21 and you believe there was booze in the cooler, get him out of the car, open the cooler. If there is booze in it, make him take out each and every last beer, then make him open each one and dump it out into the street. The minor now has no booze and you can sleep soundly tonight knowing he didn't drink those beers and hurt someone. Just because you think you will lose the evidence in court on a "bad" search is no reason to let him drive away with it.
I agree with you 100%, but is that legal? Just curious.
 
G

·
Most of you know the following, so keep in mind that I am replying to the last post....

In Mass., for you to order a driver from a car you have to have the belief that you as the police officer are in danger (fear for your safety, etc). Unfortunately we do not have automatic exit orders here. Secondly, for you to search that container without probable cause is not legal in the sense that it would be in violation of the driver's 4th and 14th Amendments against unreasonable search and seizure.

Hope that answers the question.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
68 Posts
If you order him out of the car and find evidence and you have no PC to order him out - the evidence will be suppressed...if you open the cooler without PC and find evidence - the evidence will be suppressed. Since I am not charging him with any crime and I am not confiscating any evidence - there is no evidence to suppress.....he is happy (no charges), I am happy (no minor with beer), and no scumbag lawyers are getting rich filing motions to suppress evidence - win/win????

Now, that being said - I would never conduct a search without PC nor would I order anyone out of a car without a legal reasoon for doing so :wink:
 

·
Subscribing Member
Joined
·
1,169 Posts
While I agree that evidence seized in a less than legal search would be tossed, one would be setting themselves up for some civil liability on the "unlawful" search and seizure. While it is true that most people wouldn't complain about having their illegal booze tossed down the storm drain, it only takes that one case and you're in Rogers' annual book.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
47 Posts
MITPO... did you get that from your days at Bridgewater College??? I always hear stories about their officers asking for passengers info when they are not suppose to.
 
1 - 17 of 17 Posts
Top