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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Posts
    1

    Default Was I Illegally Searched

    My question involves search and seizure law in the State of: MA

    So, i was driving to my friends house. knocked on the door, but he didnt answer cause he was sleeping. Then i leave pull in to a convenience store down the street and park. Then all of a sudden a car pulls up next to me two seconds later. A guy gets out, then comes around and opens my door (at this point im shocked and didnt know what was going on, for all i knew i was getting carjacked). Then tells me hes the police, lifts up his shirt and shows me his badge/gun and then asks if i have drugs or anything on me. i say no. he then says dont bullshit me, if i find something your going to jail. i say i dont have anything. then he asks for my id and registration. i gave him both he then gives it to another guy who goes into his cruiser. then, he asks to search me and my car and i say i dont consent to a search of my vehicle. he then says "dont play that, get out of the car" so i get out, he searches my car and found nothing. he didnt even give me a reason why he approached me in the first place. he just said there was a bunch of breaking and enterings in the area after he found nothing... when he left and found nothing, 2 police cruisers and a van left along behind him from the back of the store (which pulled in as they were talking to me).... he didn't give me his name or anything, also he wasn't in uniform. none of the officers there were ... so was i illegally searched and did i have my rights violated? What can i do about it?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    38,867

    Default Re: Was I Illegally Searched

    sounds like a definite maybe. Without knowing the officers justification for searching you, there is no way to know.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    3,835

    Default Re: Was I Illegally Searched

    Approaching you and opening the door was without question a SEIZURE under the 4th Amendment. Was this seizure "Reasonable"? Unknown?

    Knocking on a door is generally not a Constitutional reason to conduct an investigatory stop.

    Was the house a known drug house to cops??

    Assume it was. This "may", and that is slippery, be a constitutional reason to seize you as was done??

    The B&E jive is NOT a legal reason to stop you, period.

    The warrantless search of your vehicle is permitted IF the officer has Probable Cause to believe it contains contraband. Since the search was negative, it may be very difficult for him to articluate such.

    If evidence WAS found, but you challenge the validity of the initial seizure, that can be a court argument when charged.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Glendale, AZ
    Posts
    20

    Default Re: Was I Illegally Searched

    Quote Quoting Alex02021
    View Post
    then says "dont play that, get out of the car" so i get out, he searches my car and found nothing. he didnt even give me a reason why he approached me in the first place. he just said there was a bunch of breaking and enterings in the area after he found nothing...
    Unquestionably you were illegally searched. The fact that he asked your permission to search you and your vehicle was evidence that he didn't have any probable cause. If he had found probable cause, this should have been stated prior to forcing you out of your vehicle and going through your things. A call to the police department may or may not help, since you don't have any names or badge numbers.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    28,906

    Default Re: Was I Illegally Searched

    When the state claims an exception to the warrant requirement, the burden of proof is on the state to prove that an exception applies. If you have consent, that's a gimme. It's reasonable for an officer to ask for consent for a search, even if he believes he can justifiably argue a different exception, and to keep the other justifications in the back of his mind in case consent is denied in court and the prosecutor needs to argue inevitable discovery. I'm not saying that this search was justified, but I am stating that asking for consent is not evidence that the officer lacked a valid legal basis for a warrantless search.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    CT & IL
    Posts
    5,273

    Default Re: Was I Illegally Searched

    But the cop will say you agreed to allow him to search ... so you could sue the city & it might get to trial. Then its up to the judge/jury to decide. You should never answer any of the cops questions either ... just comply with his requests for ID etc. You have no obligation to speak to the police.

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