Monday, April 20, 2015

Consent Search

One night I pulled over this young guy for speeding. He stopped in the parking lot of a fast food joint. As I always do after I approach, I asked for his driver's license and proof of insurance. He produced the DL from his wallet, then reached over to get his insurance card from the glove box. This is not unusual. I watched him carefully ("it's the hands that kill you"), but I wasn't alarmed.

Until he obviously maneuvered his body so I couldn't see inside the glove box as he opened it. He sort of adjusted himself so his back was squarely between me and the open glove box, and even used one hand as a kind of shield as he dug around in there with the other. At one point, he actually glanced at me over his shoulder while he was doing this. I backed off a step and got ready for something bad.

Finally, he extracted the insurance card and handed it over. I wrote him the ticket and gave it to him. Then, after making it clear we were finished and he was free to leave (avoiding a possible future claim he thought he was in custody), I asked for permission to search his car. Unbelievably, he agreed.

Once I got a backup officer on scene, I made a beeline for the glove box. There, in plain sight, was the reason for all the subterfuge. A bag of drugs so big it barely fit in there. The driver just sat there, hanging his head. Busted on a consent search. Dumbass.


Carolyn said...

I'm sure I don't have to tell you, but criminals are not known for being smart ... Law and Order gives a skewed view! I did grand jury duty for 3 months a few years back. One of our cases was a guy pulled over for speeding, officer requests documents and guy complies, officer notices crow bar and garbage bags in the back seat and asks about them, dude speeds off ... leaving his license, registration and insurance with the cop. Do you know how many times I heard that story (or a slight variation) in those 3 months? 4 times. There were 4 people stupid enough to speed on their way to a robbery and then leave the cop who pulled them over with all of their ID as they speed off.

That said ... kind of sad when people don't know their rights. I'm squeaky clean, but I would NEVER consent to a search because I can't be 100% sure that every single person who has been in my car is squeaky clean ... and just because I have nothing to hide doesn't mean anyone gets to look!

Anonymous said...

People rarely go to jail for being evil. But they go all the time for being stupid.