SCOPA Violates Constitutional Rights and A Chill Wind Blows Thru Pennsylvania
By: Terresa Monroe-Hamilton
Pennsylvania, get ready to have your Constitutional rights violated when you are pulled over. The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania has decided to rock the citizens of that state with a fascist overreach that could be a chilling precedent for Constitutional violations nationwide.
According to the court, police officers no longer need to have a search warrant to search your car. Just subjective probable cause. In a 4 to 2 ruling in Commonwealth v. Gary, Pennsylvania just took a dark turn invalidating the rights of their citizens:
“There’ll be lesser protection of privacy in Pennsylvania,” says Dave Rudovsky, a professor at Penn Law school and a civil rights attorney.
Rudovsky says Article I, Section 2 of the Pennsylvania Constitution had been interpreted to provide broader protection that the Fourth Amendment of the US Constitution. Police had to contact a judge during a stop, either via phone or radio, for permission to conduct a car search. Rudovsky says the new ruling means police, not a judge can decide whether to search.
“Now if police officers have probable cause— a good faith belief that a crime has been committed, they can search your car without having to first obtain a warrant,” he says.
“The district attorneys offices will say this is about drugs and guns and that is true, but it does not end there,” says James Funt, an attorney with Greenblatt, Pierce, Engle, Funt & Flores.
“Whatever is in the car can be searched,” he says, “it’s a slippery slope.”
A “slippery slope” indeed… right off a cliff. This ruling means you have less privacy in your cars than your home. You have less of a right to privacy in your private property – your personal effects. It’s a very small jump from this to your homes and person. If your cell phone or laptop are in your car, guess what? They will be seized and searched. This does not end with guns and drugs. Look at how Conservatives are being targeted by the IRS. We all know where this is heading.
Pennsylvania is already notorious for excessive stopping of drivers, frisking and the targeting of minorities. Minorities can include a whole host of targets. The right to intrude has increased exponentially here. We are sliding into a state that no longer recognizes your Constitutional rights. This should send a chill down every patriot’s spine.
Remember, governments are very good at being very bad…
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There’s not much that union supporters and I can agree upon. But here is one incident where I can wholeheartedly