Why do legislators have to deal with warrantless cavity search when we have courts and the Fourth Amendment?
The good news is that the Texas legislature has passed a bill that bans warrantless cavity searches by cops who pull you over.
The bad news is that the Texas legislature had to pass a bill that bans warrantless cavity searches by cops who pull you over.
Or did they?
Don’t we have a Fourth Amendment in our Constitution? Doesn’t court interpretation of that law apply it to state governments as well as to the Federal government?
Let’s try to read the Fourth Amendment under the Texas interpretation.
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized. However, if a law enforcement officer wants to stick his blue-gloved finger up a person’s anus or vagina, no warrant is required.
That make sense to you?
But that’s “the law” of Texas, which the legislature is now trying to change.
In what might reasonably seem like a late arrival to the scene of basic common sense and human decency, this week the Texas State House unanimously approved a bill to require that a police “officer obtain a search warrant before conducting a body cavity search during a traffic stop.”
Not only is it sad that Texas is only just now saying police officers can’t stick their hands into your body by the side of the road at will, but it’s also disturbing that a bill like this needs to be passed at all.
Here is a typical incident:
The two women, Alexandria Randle and Brandy Hamilton, both in their late 20s at the time, were returning from the beach on Memorial Day, after hanging out with friends and family, when they were stopped for speeding. The officer claimed to smell marijuana in the car and ordered them to step out of the vehicle. One of the women asked to put on a dress, since she was just in her bikini, but was told, “No, don’t worry about it.”
The male trooper did find a small amount of marijuana in the car, according to HLN, and decided to call in a female officer to conduct a full body cavity search on the women.
“If you hid something in there, we are going to find it,” the female officer could be heard saying in the video.
“You are going to go up my private parts?” one of the women could be heard asking in disbelief in the video.
“Yes, ma’am,” the officer responded matter-of-factly.
Randle claims that, since the officer did not have gloves of her own, she had to borrow a glove from another officer and did not change it between the searches, something Randle called “very unsanitary and just really hurtful.” No additional drugs were found in the search.
“It was extremely humiliating, especially with my entire family, including my 8-year-old nieces and my nephew … in the back of the car, and they saw all of this happening, as well as everybody on the side of the road,” Randle told HLN. “I have a whole different feeling when I see police officers now. … It’s a very touchy thing dealing with them.
Oh, how surprising.
The fact that the legislature has to deal with this is shameful. Every one of these warrantless cavity searches should be considered a criminal act of sexual assault.
We already know from the TSA that giving people such authority means you will attract perverts who enjoy exercising such authority. Normal people think probing private parts of strangers against their will is a disgusting and repulsive activity.