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TromboneAl

Good Example of Illegal Search of Vehicle

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In a book I'm writing, I want some evidence that's obtained from a search of the trunk of a vehicle to be inadmissible because the search was illegal. Can you provide some interesting examples of illegal searches? Perhaps an officer's body cam footage will help make the case.

 

Consent not properly obtained? Consent was ambiguous due to language issues? Gung ho rookie officer? Officer sees something suspicious because the rear seat is down and he can see into the trunk compartment?

 

Maybe a rear light is out, and the officer, unasked, opens the trunk to see if he can fix it, then sees the illegal item?

 

I appreciate the help!

 

Al

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In your other thread I referred you to Terry v Ohio for the Supreme Court decision about searches. The Terry decision was expanded to vehicles in later decisions.

 

I've narrowed the case search to California involving a Terry Stop of a Vehicle and got 2550 hits.

 

https://scholar.google.com/scholar?q=terry+stop+of+a+vehicle&hl=en&as_sdt=4,5,60,321,322,323,324

 

I'm sure that some went one way and some went the other way. You'll get plenty of examples by reading those cases.

 

You're a writer. Writer's do research. Do yours.

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14 hours ago, TromboneAl said:

Can you provide some interesting examples of illegal searches?

 

I probably could, but that would take more time than I care to devote to something like this.

 

A search is unconstitutional when it is done in violation of the Fourth Amendment.  The Fourth Amendment states, in pertinent part, that "[t]he right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated."  Contrary to what a lot of folks think, the Fourth Amendment does not expressly require that any search be based on a warrant.  The so-called "warrant requirement" has evolved over decades of U.S. Supreme Court decisions.  The result is that a search is illegal if it is not supported by a warrant or one of the numerous exceptions to the warrant requirement.  If you review some of these search results, you can get more information about the exceptions.  Googling "automobile exception to warrant requirement" would probably also be a good idea.  Once you understand how the "warrant requirement" and its exceptions work, you can make up your own examples.

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I appreciate the law-related advice.

 

Thanks for pointing me in the right direction, pg1067!

 

>The first rule of being a writer is to write what you know.  If you don't know, find another genre.

I'm glad that I've ignored that advice. I've published fourteen books touching on topics such as psychological disorders, quantum physics, parallel universes, and money laundering. One is currently an Amazon best-seller.

https://writingcooperative.com/write-what-you-know-and-other-bad-advice-6cd6935c744b

https://lithub.com/write-what-you-know-is-not-good-writing-advice/

https://litreactor.com/columns/write-what-you-like-why-write-what-you-know-is-bad-advice

 

Okay, sorry for that. Sometimes it's hard to resist.

 

----------------

 

My current thinking is that the woman is stopped for a flickering taillight. The rookie officer, his judgment overcome by how pretty the woman is, tries to help her fix it. The trunk is held closed with a string. He opens it up unbidden, digs down by the taillight, and discovers the gun. Eager to prove his worth to the department, he fails to just leave it where it is.

 

I see the top objection as: "No officer would be that stupid."

 

Any other problems that you see?

 

Thanks!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Let's rephrase the old adage to "write what you know how to research." 

 

As for your hypothetical, that may not be an illegal search.  If the driver allowed his help opening the trunk is part of the process of fixing a tail light.

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20 minutes ago, PayrollHRGuy said:

Let's rephrase the old adage to "write what you know how to research." 

 

I agree with that one!

 

>As for your hypothetical, that may not be an illegal search.  If the driver allowed his help opening the trunk is part of the process of fixing a tail light.

 

Good point. I'll have the cop open the trunk on his own without any kind of consent. All caught on bodycam to make it more dramatic.

 

 

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8 minutes ago, TromboneAl said:

Good point. I'll have the cop open the trunk on his own without any kind of consent. All caught on bodycam to make it more dramatic.

 

 

Then he isn't just a rookie cop he is a stupid rookie cop.

 

A good writer should be able to come up with a better way to do it.  I've thought of three.

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6 minutes ago, adjusterjack said:

 

How will he accomplish that without the key?

 

 

The trunk is held closed with a piece of string. It's a very junky car (intentionally, it will turn out).

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Speaking as a writer, that's possibly one of the best examples of the deus ex machina since the  T-Rex suddenly appeared to distract the velociraptors. allowing Alan, Ellie and the children to escape in the last scene of Jurassic Park. If I make speak plainly, relying on the deus ex machina is a sign of a poor writer, with all due respect to Messrs. Crichton and Koepp.

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57 minutes ago, cbg said:

T-Rex suddenly appeared to distract the velociraptors. allowing Alan, Ellie and the children to escape in the last scene of Jurassic Park

 

Loved that scene.

 

 

Deus ex machina at the end of the story is one thing, but at the beginning, uh uh. Kind of kills the rest of the story.

 

 

 

 

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Yep. Got that one in one.

 

(That's one of my favorite movies but the ending is kind of a cheat. (On the other hand, that's not how the novel ended.) )

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