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Michigan Supreme Court issues controversial ruling on searches during traffic stops

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Source: Michigan Supreme Court Facebook page

The Michigan Supreme Court has issued a controversial ruling when it comes to traffic stops.

On Tuesday, the court determined that an officer can not search a passenger or his items inside a vehicle without their consent.

If an officer were to perform the illegal search, it would violate that suspect’s Fourth Amendment rights.



According to The Hill, the ruling comes from a May 2014 case in which a Jackson County police officer searched a passenger’s backpack without his consent. The officer found a digital scale, pills, and drugs inside the backpack.

The court determined that the backpack belonged to the passenger, not the vehicle’s owner. So as the officer searched the car, he is not allowed to assume the backpack is ‘part’ of the car and in fact, falls under a separate set of laws.

The suspect in the case has served four years of his 10-year sentence.

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