Thursday, May 26, 2005

Texas: Tighter car-search rules are endorsed

Passed the House only so far.

Tighter car-search rules are endorsed

House measure requires probable cause or documented consent

11:27 PM CDT on Wednesday, May 25, 2005

By KAREN BROOKS / The Dallas Morning News

AUSTIN – The House voted to limit police officers' ability to stop motorists and search their cars Wednesday, rejecting arguments that the legislation would strip law enforcement of a valuable drug-war tool.

The bill by Sen. Juan Hinojosa, D-McAllen, originally banned consent searches altogether but was weakened in a House committee.

The newest version by Rep. Harold Dutton, D-Houston, allows police to search someone's car only if they have probable cause, get written consent, or videotape the motorist giving police their permission to search.

Supported by both the American Civil Liberties Union and the National Rifle Association, the bill was approved, 83-63. It now goes back to the Senate for consideration of the House's changes.

Proponents say the current law is too ambiguous to protect people's constitutional rights against search and seizure. They also say it helps police battle illegal search-and-seizure claims in court.

"Too often, I see people get pulled over in my district ... and too often, I see them get back in their car and drive down the street. There were no drugs in their car, and I find that very problematic," said Rep. Glenn Hegar Jr., R-Houston. "I think that we as Americans have fundamental rights against search and seizure."

Opponents argued that the change would weaken law officers' abilities to find drugs, murder victims, illegal immigrants and banned weapons in cars.

"You're taking tools away from police officers, don't you see that?" said Rep. Robert Talton, R-Pasadena.



"The political phrase 'tough on crime' should not be a substitute for thoughtful reflection or lead us into moral blindness."
Supreme Court Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, June 23, 2004.

"Who would believe that a democratic government would pursue for eight decades a failed policy that produced tens of millions of victims and trillions of dollars of illicit profits for drug dealers, cost taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars, increased crime and destroyed inner cities, fostered widespread corruption and violations of human rights - and all with no success in achieving the stated and unattainable objective of a drug free America?"
Milton Friedman, winner of 1976 Nobel Memorial Prize for economic science

"You can get over an addiction but you can never get over a conviction."
Jack Cole, Retired undercover police officer


Post a Comment

<< Home