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Kentuckian
01-08-2004, 04:04 PM
I've got a question, and it deals with Greyhound Bus Passenger Searches. For those who are not familiar with them, they go something like this:

Prior to the bus leaving the station, the driver gets off and goes back inside to finish some pre-trip paperwork, and several officers (usually a Drug Task Force) come on the bus. One officer puts his knee on the driver's seat, so as not to block the exit, and the officer then identifies himself and states that the other officers with him are going to walk down the isle and talk to each passenger in turn, and will request to inspect the personal carry on baggage that the passengers have with them. As the officer gets to the passenger, the officer will ask for the passenger's destination, and will examine the passenger's ticket. Finally, the officer will ask permission to inspect the passenger's personal carry on baggage, all while carefully standing to the side of the seat so as not to give the impression to the passenger that the passenger is not free to leave.

Ok, here is the question: If you are an officer conducting such a search, what would you do if a passenger willingly showed ID, ticket, and gave destination information, but Very Politely declined your request to search his baggage? Take into consideration that this polite refusal is in the midst of several other passengers who willingly comply with the request.

All replies are GREATLY appreciated.

THANKS!

ZmanCarlvr
01-08-2004, 04:07 PM
Very interesting scenario. Now I'm not an LEO yet, so. But my feeling is if you have nothing to hide, then you shouldn't worry. That is the bottom line.

krj
01-08-2004, 04:23 PM
Is this something new? Or something they do only on Greyhound buses on U.S. routes? About 10 years ago in Canada I put way more miles on Greyhound buses than I like to think about, and never once experienced this scenario. Now I'm curious.

retired
01-08-2004, 04:34 PM
U.S. Vs Drayton

High Court Sides with Police on Bus Searches

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled this week that police may ask passengers aboard public buses to submit to searches without informing them of their legal rights to refuse the request.

In a case that has taken on increased significance for law enforcement in the wake of 9-11, the ruling allows police the same latitude to search suspects on a bus as they have to question individuals on a street corner or search them on an airplane.

The case stems from a 1999 drug bust on a Greyhound bus in Tallahassee, Florida. Three local police officers boarded the bus bound for Detroit, Michigan in search of illegal drugs or weapons. The officers were dressed in plain clothes. One officer stood at the front of the bus without blocking the aisle, another stood at the back of the bus. The third officer, starting at the back of the bus, began questioning passengers on travel plans and sought to match passengers with luggage overhead. During his questioning, the officer did not block the exit path of passengers.

The officer questioned two male passengers sitting together. Upon request to search their bag, he was told to "go ahead." The bag contained no contraband. The officer then noticed that the two men were wearing baggy clothing and asked if he could check their persons. The men agreed, and the officers found almost a kilo of cocaine strapped to their legs. According to court papers submitted by Solicitor General Theodore Olson, "The officers showed no weapons, spoke politely and quietly with the passengers and said nothing that might convey the message that cooperation was mandatory."

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit ruled that the arresting officers had violated the defendants

Frank Booth
01-08-2004, 07:14 PM
If you are an officer conducting such a search, what would you do if a passenger willingly showed ID, ticket, and gave destination information, but Very Politely declined your request to search his baggage?

You move on to the next passenger.

Pedalin'Cop
01-08-2004, 10:31 PM
Excellent reply Frank! No matter what the court ruling, the 4th Ammend does not change...nor Does Terry V Ohio.....

No reasonable Suspicion...no Terry

No free consent.....move on to the next dude

No PC in light of no consent....no search

The Fourth Ammend does not change.....The Bill Of Rights Does not change.

Sleuth
01-09-2004, 05:31 PM
Zman, your response surprized and depressed me. If the police come to your door at home, and are nice and polite, do you let them search? Even if you have "nothing to hide?" NOT ME! The sheeple reaponse of "if you have nothing to hide, let the Government Agents search" abandons the rights so many fought and died for.
I used to be a Federal Agent, and I would never consent to any search by any governement agent - local, state, or Federal! I have a right to be free of 'unreasonable' searches. If you have PC, get a warrant. If you don't, leave me alone!
Rights not exercised are soon abandoned!

retired
01-09-2004, 06:51 PM
Originally posted by Sleuth
Zman, your response surprized and depressed me. If the police come to your door at home, and are nice and polite, do you let them search? Even if you have "nothing to hide?" NOT ME! The sheeple reaponse of "if you have nothing to hide, let the Government Agents search" abandons the rights so many fought and died for.
I used to be a Federal Agent, and I would never consent to any search by any governement agent - local, state, or Federal! I have a right to be free of 'unreasonable' searches. If you have PC, get a warrant. If you don't, leave me alone!
Rights not exercised are soon abandoned!

Sleuth,

I couldn't have said it any better! The fact that one has nothing to hide does not justify government searches. This isn't East Germany yet!

retdetsgt
01-09-2004, 09:59 PM
If one group of federal agents came to my door, I'd be required to shut the door in their face very soon after they identified themselves.... I might let them tell me what they want before doing it, but I dunno.

And I agree with Sleuth and Retired. No warrant, no search...

SW4747
01-10-2004, 01:53 PM
There are limited reason why you might search a persons bag before they get on a bus or while on the bus. There are two cases involving the Port Authority Police that made it to the Supreme court. When I find them, I'll post them.

Update.

OK, I can;t for the life of me remember the PA cases. Maye someone else does, it involves searching bags. in 1 case the officer observes some suspicious activity in the terminal involving a bag and 2 perps. When they board the bus, the cops follows and observes more suspicious activity. He asks to search the bag, and finds drugs. The evidence was good.

The other case was the cops observes very little suspicious activity and then asks to search the bag.

Both cases had to do with the level of suspicion needed to ask person to search a bag.

Anyway, here is a case on point to about coming onto a bus and doing searches:

http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/scripts/getcase.pl?navby=search&court=US&case=/us/501/429.html

U.S. Supreme Court
FLORIDA v. BOSTICK, 501 U.S. 429 (1991)
501 U.S. 429
FLORIDA v. BOSTICK
CERTIORARI TO THE SUPREME COURT OF FLORIDA

No. 89-1717

Argued February 26, 1991
Decided June 20, 1991


As part of a drug interdiction effort, Broward County Sheriff's Department officers routinely board buses at scheduled stops and ask passengers for permission to search their luggage. Two officers boarded respondent Bostick's bus and, without articulable suspicion, questioned him and requested his consent to search his luggage for drugs, advising him of his right to refuse. He gave his permission, and the officers, after finding cocaine, arrested Bostick on drug trafficking charges. His motion to suppress the cocaine on the ground that it had been seized in violation of the Fourth Amendment was denied by the trial court. The Florida Court of Appeal affirmed, but certified a question to the State Supreme Court. That court, reasoning that a reasonable passenger would not have felt free to leave the bus to avoid questioning by the police, adopted a per se rule that the sheriff's practice of "working the buses" is unconstitutional.

SW4747
01-10-2004, 02:30 PM
I found the other cases. I only have a PDF copy of a legal bullion on them. If anyone wants it, let me know and I'll e-mail you the file.

The cases are not really on point to the topic stated here, but are still good ones to read. They are NY court of appeals cases.

retired
01-10-2004, 03:53 PM
SW4747,

Is this the PA info you were lookling for?

Pennsylvania Supreme Court Nixes Random Drug Searches on Interstate Buses 10/7/00
Pennsylvania state drug investigators had a routine. They would randomly board a passenger bus at a bus depot -- the massive rest area at Breezewood on Interstate 70 on the Maryland border was a favorite target -- ask passengers to pair up with their luggage, and then ask to search the bags. If a passenger did not claim a bag, police would have the bus driver declare it abandoned property, then they would open it in search of drugs and clues to the owner's identity.

The technique was effective, police claimed, leading to numerous arrests.

But the state Supreme Court, ruling in Commonwealth v. Belisario Polo, has found that the random searches violate provisions in the state constitution that protect people from unreasonable or warrantless searches and seizures.

Justice Stephen Zappala cited the court's opinion in a 1996 case, Commonwealth vs. Matos, writing that "the seriousness of criminal activity under investigation, whether it is the sale of drugs or the commission of a violent crime, can never be used as justification for ignoring or abandoning the constitutional right... to be free from intrusions upon... personal liberty absent probable cause."

The court has nine similar cases pending before it, but state Attorney General Mike Fisher has apparently seen the writing on the wall. His office is reviewing the opinion and considering new investigative guidelines to keep drug investigators within the law.

"We will make appropriate modifications to our ongoing interdiction efforts to adhere to that opinion," Fisher spokesman Kevin Harley told the Pittsburg Post-Gazette.

Frank Booth
01-10-2004, 05:27 PM
I would think that the part about having passengers "pair up" with their luggage, and then seizing any luggage that wasn't "paired up with" were the sticking points. I think those parts were unconstitutional.

OregonDirtbiker
01-10-2004, 08:52 PM
What the heck? Is this new? I rode the grey hound quite a few times in the past 5 months. Never had this happen.. New rule? I'm sure as heck stumped...

squad51
01-10-2004, 11:05 PM
I would also tell the officers to pound sand.