The Militant(logo) 
    Vol.63/No.16           April 26, 1999 
Federal Court Rules Searching Passengers In Cars Is Okay  

NEW YORK - The U.S. Supreme Court dealt another blow to Fourth Amendment protections of individuals against unreasonable police searches and seizures. The court ruled April 5 that police may search the belongings of a passenger of an automobile when looking for criminal evidence against the driver.

In the ruling Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia wrote, "Effective law enforcement would be appreciable impaired without the ability to search a passengers personal belongings." Scalia wrote that passengers of a vehicle "will often be engaged in a common enterprise with the driver and have the same interest in concealing the fruits or the evidence of their wrongdoing."

Getting right down to brass tacks, Robert Scully of the National Association of Police Organizations praised the Supreme Court judges for "giving officers the tools they need to do their jobs." He added that, "Officers must be free of unreasonable, confusing, and unworkable restrictions on what may be searched."

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