Pennsylvania Supreme Court has ruled police officers in the Commonwealth are no longer required to obtain a warrant prior to searching a vehicle, a decision that essentially overturns the protections enumerated in the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and in Pennsylvania’s own state constitution.
Yesterday, Justice Seamus McCaffery issued the court’s opinion, stemming from a 2010 Philadelphia police department traffic stop of a man for having dark tinted windows, who was later found to be hiding two pounds of marijuana under the hood of his vehicle.
In a 4-2 vote, the court decided “the prerequisite for a warrantless search of a motor vehicle is probable cause to search.”
Previously, as explained by Lancaster Online, police were not allowed to search a vehicle unless a driver consented, “or if the illegal substances were in plain view.”
“Now, based on the opinion, it only takes reasonable probable cause for an officer to go ahead with the search without a warrant,” writes Brett Hambright.
Not surprisingly, police are ecstatic.