Thursday, March 05, 2009

Dutton: Require written or recorded consent for traffic stop searches

On Monday, the Texas House Public Safety Committee will hear a particularly star-crossed piece of legislation by Houston state Rep. Harold Dutton, HB 917, which would require written or recorded consent for police to search personal vehicles at a traffic stops without probable cause.

This is an identical version of a bill that passed 29-2 in the Texas Senate and 96-41 in the House back in 2005 but was inexplicably vetoed by Governor Rick Perry. Since then we've seen numerous situations, most recently in East Texas, where police have abused their search authority.

I've written so much about this same legislation in the past, for now let me simply endorse the bill enthusiastically and link to past, related Grits coverage if you'd like more detail on the subject:

23 comments:

Anonymous said...

What is the big deal with having the authorization recorded. They already have a camera on the dash, so step them out, ask the question and let it get caught on tape. I think it is a fair rule.

Anonymous said...

the DPS scares most citizens into a search and then destroys their vehicle and life!

TxBluesMan said...

Grits,

It wasn't "inexplicably" vetoed. The Gov put out exactly why he vetoed it in his veto proclamation. Inexplicably is defined as impossible to explain. It is clearly explained - he believes that there were already sufficient Constitutional protections and that the bill placed to high a burden on law enforcement.

Based on the Committee Hearing witness list, it is clear why the Gov vetoed it. The ACLU (Harrell & Grits), the NRA and one individual registered in favor of the bill.

Registering against the bill were TMPA, Houston PD, San Antonio PD, Dallas PD, Cherokee County DA, Houston Police Union, Haskell County DA, San Antonio POA, Sheriff's Association of Texas, and CLEAT.

The Gov clearly felt that the concerns of the law enforcement agencies, the prosecutors, and the police unions were valid, and that the bill was unnecessary.

Anonymous said...

There are thugs driving around with their windows so dark you can't see inside the car, yet DPS will pull over a senior citizen, rather than confront the real problems. Why do they do the opposite of what is expected?

Anonymous said...

Governor Perry has vetoed MANY bills related to civil rights. One that comes to mind, is the bill introduced by Rep. Jessica Farrar in 2001. This bill had UNANIMOUS support from the House, and passed through the Senate side, as well, with wide support. Governor Perry vetoed this bill! It would have allowed for the expunction of arrest records/files for people who had a criminal charge dismissed, and with NO conviction found by the courts. These 'collateral consequences' of having a deferred adjudication 'pleabargain'-are the huge source of employment and housing discrimination. Also, people have been flat out denied the ability to obtain many occupational licenses, simply due to the availability of the arrest record(which is found in any background check)-even though they were not convicted of any crime! So, I am not surprised he did not support Rep. Dutton's bill-as it would go against common sense.

kaptinemo said...

With so many citizens having been kept ignorant of their right to refuse an unwarranted search of their persons and property - a result of modern public education failing to appraise students of their rights as citizens - such legislation would serve to place on notice those who abuse their authority that they would face punishment for doing so.

A pity things have to be so adversarial, but this is what the War on Drugs has brought us.

Anonymous said...

Wow Bluesy, you mean that every single law enforcement agency was opposed to filming, and you don't see a problem with that? What are they trying to hide?

Perry believes that Texas was in the right to argue that a defendant who is actually innocent can be executed as long as he's had a trial. So he knows little about the constitution, or its protections.

You are equally lacking in education, it appears.

Anonymous said...

I foresee the day when none of us will be able to do anything, say anything, write anything, without interference and the expressed written consent of the government.

11:56 you should run for the lege. You just made a common sense statement.

TxBluesMan said...

Anon 1:52,

Why would I have a problem with the LE agencies and unions opposing the bill?

That is much easier to swallow than the ACLU supporting it. Or don't you remember that for years, the ACLU supported the restriction of your Second Amendment rights? I mean this is the organization that has stated on it's website that: "The ACLU disagrees with the Supreme Court's conclusion about the nature of the right protected by the Second Amendment. "

In other words, the national ACLU is fine with disregarding your right to keep and bear arms, but you want me to trust them over the police?

I don't think so...

And as long as the Gov has good, honest, law enforcement supporters of good character advising him, like TMPA, CLEAT and the like, I won't worry about him either...

Do you have something to hide? Is that why you are anti-law enforcement?

Just wondering...

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Bluesy, regarding ACLU and the Second Amendment, you're complaining on the wrong blog. You're arguing against a tired straw man.

Similarly, there are dozens of Texas agencies that adopted written consent of their own accord. And the prosecutors' manual on traffic stops even endorses the idea to eliminate swearing matches. Are they all anti-law enforcement?

Anonymous said...

How would this bill, if passed and becomes Texas law, conflict with rulings already made by the US Supreme Court?

Can the state create a law that supercedes what the Supreme Court has already ruled on?

In contrast to Miranda rights, officers conducting a consent search are not required to warn people of their right to withhold consent in order for consent to be valid, as determined by the U.S. Supreme Court in Schneckloth v. Bustamonte. Nor are they required to conduct a search in a way that gives the individual an opportunity to revoke consent, as determined in United States v. Dominguez, where the court rejected the argument that “officials must conduct all searches in plain view of the suspect, and in a manner slowly enough that he may withdraw or delimit his consent at any time during the search.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

"Can the state create a law that supercedes what the Supreme Court has already ruled on?"

In this case, yes.

The Constitution establishes a floor, which is what SCOTUS rules on, 3:24. The states can and often do afford their citizens greater protection than that minimalist baseline.

Anonymous said...

Thank you.

TxBluesMan said...

Grits,

I am well aware that you support gun rights. That is why I made sure and identified it as the national, not the local branch. I also know that you support the death penalty (abet with provisos).

The anonymous poster I was responding to saw a problem with all of the law enforcement agencies and unions agreeing that it was a bad bill, and immediately thought that they had something to hide.

Of course, any agency can set their own policies on how to conduct their business, but that doesn't mean that all should.

Finally, your own post about setting higher standards covers it. The Gov, the police agencies, the police unions, and I don't believe that we need higher standards, we believe that the standards in the U.S. Constitution are perfectly fine.

Unless, of course, you also want to raise the protection afforded our fine, upstanding officers, to give them better job protection against unsubstantiated and uncalled for complaints... I would support you on that.... ;)

Anonymous said...

Similarly, there are dozens of Texas agencies that adopted written consent of their own accord. And the prosecutors' manual on traffic stops even endorses the idea to eliminate swearing matches. Are they all anti-law enforcement?

Busted Bluesy.

Don't bring a knife to a gunfight son.

(I'm sure your cop booty buddies would tell you the same thing.)

Your "what are you hiding" argument is the purest form of absurd. In a post saying that cops shouldn't be forced to film consents to search, you ask me what I'm hiding?

What are the cops hiding, you dingleberry?

Rage

TxBluesMan said...

Gee Rage, had I known it was you, it would have made all the difference and changed my mind completely - NOT.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Bluesy writes: "The Gov, the police agencies, the police unions, and I don't believe that we need higher standards"

That much is painfully obvious, just as the crappy outcomes make it painfully obvious that you're wrong.

TxBluesMan said...

Grits,

How would changing the law for Texas peace officers affect the corruption among Federal officers?

Your link focused primarily on the Border Patrol, not state officers...

If there is a problem with Federal officers, maybe you should be lobbying Congress...

I still have hope that one day I can bring you and Doran back into the light.... ;)

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Plenty of examples for the locals too, Bluesy, and you know it.

TxBluesMan said...

Nah, all of the ones I know were falsely and maliciously accused for political purposes...

That's why I have work, the evil ones out there that malign those fine upstanding officers...

TxBluesMan said...

We probably ought to just leave it at that - somehow I don't think we'll ever agree on this issue...

But you're still a great blogger...

Just misguided (jk)...

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Yup, Bluesy, I've little doubt you're just like Perry Mason in the old TV show where every client, in your case police officers, turned out to be innocent, falsely accused, and pure as the driven snow. ;)

Damn you, Hamilton Burger!!

Anonymous said...

"Registering against the bill were TMPA, Houston PD, San Antonio PD, Dallas PD, Cherokee County DA, Houston Police Union, Haskell County DA, San Antonio POA, Sheriff's Association of Texas, and CLEAT."

It makes me uneasy to think law enforcement has so much power to influence legislation and outline what they will or will not do as far as what is required of them in carrying out the duties of their job.