Sunday, May 29, 2005

Written consent protects Texans' rights and prosecutors' cases

After the Texas Legislature sent SB 1195 to Governor Perry on Friday, I wrote a constituent letter encouraging him to sign it. That legislation requires police to document consent to search vehicles at traffic stops with either writing or video. I append my plea below. To follow suit, go here to contact the Governor. Let him know you support SB 1195 and want him to sign the bill. Here's what I told him:

To the Honorable Governor Rick Perry,

I'm writing to express my hope that you'll sign SB 1195, which would require documentation for drivers' consent to police searches at traffic stops.
This legislation will keep bad guys from going free when judges suppress evidence under he-said-she-said consent circumstances, but would also inform drivers of their rights.

At the end of the day, since evidence shows consent searches don't produce contraband up to 90% of the time, a reduction in searches without legal cause would also free up officers for more productive uses, like improving 911 response times, without harming public safety.

SB 1195 doesn't ban consent searches, as three other states and the California Highway Patrol have done. (In no case, incidentally, did any crime increase result from the ban.) Instead, the new law merely requires officers to document consent, either in writing or on video, making it tougher for bad guys to dispute later. If the day comes when an officer finds a dead body in the trunk of a car in a consent search, and the search is thrown out because the driver's lawyer successfully disputes whether consent was given, I think the media and public may wonder why the state didn't act earlier to make sure that couldn't happen. This is your chance.

SB 1195 is your opportunity to keep judges from overturning the hard work of police officers on technicalities, at no cost but informing citizens of their rights. It's really a win-win all the way around.

I strongly encourage you to sign SB 1195 to protect Texans' rights and to ensure evidence of crimes isn't suppressed in court.


For more background, see also:


Catonya said...

just sent a letter to Gov Perry. thanks for the heads up.


Taylor said...

Don't forget to write a letter in support of probation reform as well. Both of my letters will be sent tomorrow.

Taylor said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

what are the three states that ban them???/..... we should move there