Warrantless Search of a motorcycle

Reports of actual crimes and investigations, not hypothetical situations.

Moderators: carlson1, Keith B

User avatar

Topic author
E.Marquez
Senior Member
Posts in topic: 2
Posts: 2633
Joined: Sat Feb 20, 2010 11:48 pm
Location: Kempner
Contact:

Warrantless Search of a motorcycle

#1

Post by E.Marquez » Tue Jan 02, 2018 10:23 am

http://www.roanoke.com/news/virginia/al ... 8e408.html

Had the rider and bike been at the corner store, rider in full gear and ready to ride off as soon as he bought his pack or smokes or what ever Id say the officer was justified in the search.

But as the bike was in a driveway, no rider in sight, the bike could be easily blocked, rider apprehended or otherwise detained till a warrant procured. I opine this was not a justified search.

And yes, a verdict from SCOTUS upholding this search troubles me. ...It gives law enforcement a free pass on future warrantless searches of privet property. If police came to my house looking for a stolen motorcycle in the large selection I have, some mine, some others, some the training company I work for they would need to open an unlocked gate and come down my driveway inside my fenced 2 AC front yard.
Best case there is 1 to 4 of my dogs runs away, being put in great danger... Worse scenario would be, the LEO feels threatened by my dogs and shoots them, even worse, I hear the dogs barking and attacking a prowler, and I engage the threat.. I have now shot LEO's executing what they believed to be a lawful warrantless search and I have to now defend myself of an accusation of homicide or murder, and live with having killed someone trying to do their job fatefully.

PC and a way to contain vehicle until warrant arrives..Wait for the warrant, what is the down side to that?
No words or opinions I post in this forum are intended to be offensive to any member here.


philbo
Senior Member
Posts in topic: 2
Posts: 454
Joined: Fri Apr 07, 2006 9:36 am
Location: Houston, Texas

Re: Warrantless Search of a motorcycle

#2

Post by philbo » Tue Jan 02, 2018 11:01 am

I've been following this case waiting to see this one plays out. I think that a search warrant should have been obtained, but fully expect SCOTUS to uphold this verdict given the courts conservative nature and it's tendency to support law enforcement.

User avatar

C-dub
Senior Member
Posts in topic: 5
Posts: 11967
Joined: Sat May 16, 2009 7:18 pm
Location: DFW

Re: Warrantless Search of a motorcycle

#3

Post by C-dub » Tue Jan 02, 2018 11:04 am

I had a similar discussion with a city code enforcement worker many years ago. A third vehicle we had at the time was not functional and we had let the registration lapse on it, while it sat in our driveway. There was no way to know it was not functioning from its outward appearance and it was nose in facing our garage, so just driving by there was no way to see the expired sticker on the windshield. We were issued a citation for having a non-registered vehicle. I pointed out these facts at the code enforcement office at that there was no justifiable reason for anyone to be coming onto my property to peek into any of my vehicles and that had I been home and alerted to this I may have shot this person that appeared to be in the process of attempting to steal my car. I further explained that we had called to have the car picked up to be donated to one of those places that accepts vehicle in working or non-working order for donation, but they hadn't picked it up yet.

They informed me that according to the city code they had the right to do what they did. I then informed him of my right to shoot some attempting to steal one of my vehicles. He said they weren't trying to steal it and asked him how would I have know that, to which he didn't have an answer. Of course, I still had to pay the ticket, which was less than $50, but I never heard from code enforcement again for the next few years we lived in that house or city.

Since this motorcycle was in the driveway and they did not search inside of it and because of other identifiable characteristics that could be seen without uncovering it I suspect the state will win this at the SCOTUS. I also do not think a win by the state would give the police the ability to search garages and such without warrants unless there are windows that enough can be seen through to determine probable cause to enter for a more thorough search as that article states it would. I suspect they would spell that out in their opinion when given if they uphold the conviction and not trow out the search.
I am not and have never been a LEO. My avatar is in honor of my friend, Dallas Police Sargent Michael Smith, who was murdered along with four other officers in Dallas on 7.7.2016.

NRA Patriot-Endowment Lifetime Member

User avatar

warnmar10
Senior Member
Posts in topic: 3
Posts: 463
Joined: Sun Jan 03, 2016 11:57 am

Re: Warrantless Search of a motorcycle

#4

Post by warnmar10 » Tue Jan 02, 2018 11:10 am

C-dub wrote:... search garages and such without warrants unless there are windows that enough can be seen through to determine probable cause to enter for a more thorough search ...
I assume you mean windows through which enough can be seen from the street, no? If the enforcer walks up your driveway to peer into the window of your garage, shouldn't that require either a warrant or the exigency of a crime in progress?

User avatar

warnmar10
Senior Member
Posts in topic: 3
Posts: 463
Joined: Sun Jan 03, 2016 11:57 am

Re: Warrantless Search of a motorcycle

#5

Post by warnmar10 » Tue Jan 02, 2018 12:43 pm

E.Marquez wrote:... Worse scenario would be, the LEO feels threatened by my dogs and shoots them, ...
Meh, that doesn't really happen IRL, not without good reason.


rotor
Senior Member
Posts in topic: 2
Posts: 2788
Joined: Tue Dec 18, 2012 11:26 pm

Re: Warrantless Search of a motorcycle

#6

Post by rotor » Tue Jan 02, 2018 1:21 pm

Issue
1. Does a police officer need a warrant to walk onto your property that is not gated? I would say no. People walk up to my doorbell all the time including city workers, whatever. Game wardens apparently can come onto gated property if they suspect hunting violations. I had a city worker actually turning on my outside tap to get a water sample as we are "at the end of the line". Really ticked me off. So in this case, I don't think a warrant is needed to walk onto the property since it was not gated. An expectation of privacy was not expected.
2. Does lifting a tarp once the suspect motorcycle was spotted in the open in a non-gated property, easily accessible to anyone need a search warrant? I don't believe a warrant was needed. Had the tarp been chained and locked to the cycle that would have been different. Certainly the crook in this case had the vehicle pretty much in the open available to anyone.
3. I believe that had the property been gated or the motorcycle been indoors not clearly visible to anyone walking nearby than a warrant would have been needed. If you leave your garbage pail on your curb to to be picked up by trash collection do you still expect privacy?
4. Do you have a "right to privacy" when your vehicle or other material goods are openly available to the public?

It will be interesting to see how POTUS handles this case. I personally could argue it either way.


talltex
Senior Member
Posts in topic: 1
Posts: 746
Joined: Fri Oct 21, 2011 9:40 pm
Location: Waco area

Re: Warrantless Search of a motorcycle

#7

Post by talltex » Tue Jan 02, 2018 1:31 pm

warnmar10 wrote:
E.Marquez wrote:... Worse scenario would be, the LEO feels threatened by my dogs and shoots them, ...
Meh, that doesn't really happen IRL, not without good reason.
I'll make the assumption you were joking :shock:
"I looked out under the sun and saw that the race is not always to the swift, nor the battle to the strong" Ecclesiastes 9:11

"The race may not always go to the swift or the battle to the strong, but that's the way the smart money bets" Damon Runyon

User avatar

Topic author
E.Marquez
Senior Member
Posts in topic: 2
Posts: 2633
Joined: Sat Feb 20, 2010 11:48 pm
Location: Kempner
Contact:

Re: Warrantless Search of a motorcycle

#8

Post by E.Marquez » Tue Jan 02, 2018 1:52 pm

warnmar10 wrote:
E.Marquez wrote:... Worse scenario would be, the LEO feels threatened by my dogs and shoots them, ...
Meh, that doesn't really happen IRL, not without good reason.
I accept that you think that to be true in good faith , my recent last 2 years experience in the K9 world, leads me to believe otherwise . :tiphat:
No words or opinions I post in this forum are intended to be offensive to any member here.

User avatar

thatguyoverthere
Senior Member
Posts in topic: 2
Posts: 351
Joined: Tue Feb 17, 2015 11:51 pm
Location: Fannin County

Re: Warrantless Search of a motorcycle

#9

Post by thatguyoverthere » Tue Jan 02, 2018 2:21 pm

For what they're worth, my ideas are embedded in the abbreviated quote below:
rotor wrote:Issue
1. Does a police officer need a warrant to walk onto your property that is not gated? I would say no. ... I guess I'm not getting what difference it would make if the property were gated or not, it's still private property. So if there was a gate, a policeman could not enter, but if not gated, he could? What if there were a gate, but the gate was open? OK or not? What if it were your house, and the front door was open? Would you be ok with a policeman just walking in and start looking around inside your house? After all, the door was open.
2. Does lifting a tarp once the suspect motorcycle was spotted in the open in a non-gated property, easily accessible to anyone need a search warrant? I don't believe a warrant was needed. Had the tarp been chained and locked to the cycle that would have been different... If you accidentally leave your car or truck unlocked sitting in your driveway, you're ok if you see a policeman inside your vehicle digging through the glove compartment and looking under the seats?
4. Do you have a "right to privacy" when your vehicle or other material goods are openly available to the public?... I say yes, I do have a right to privacy on my own private property. (Granted, that right may not be respected, but I would hope that I'm still legally entitled to that right). Isn't that sort of part of the idea of private property - that it's PRIVATE? If you think not, then I'm to assume that you're ok for anyone (police or other private citizen) to walk onto your front yard, check out your landscaping or your house trim or windows or whatever else they want to look at?
Rotor, no disrespect intended; it's just that we apparently have different ideas, and I'm just trying to understand your viewpoints by injecting these hypotheticals. :tiphat:

User avatar

C-dub
Senior Member
Posts in topic: 5
Posts: 11967
Joined: Sat May 16, 2009 7:18 pm
Location: DFW

Re: Warrantless Search of a motorcycle

#10

Post by C-dub » Tue Jan 02, 2018 2:27 pm

warnmar10 wrote:
C-dub wrote:... search garages and such without warrants unless there are windows that enough can be seen through to determine probable cause to enter for a more thorough search ...
I assume you mean windows through which enough can be seen from the street, no? If the enforcer walks up your driveway to peer into the window of your garage, shouldn't that require either a warrant or the exigency of a crime in progress?
I don't think so. Wouldn't it be the same as if the officer walked up and just looked into the windows of a car anywhere accessible to the public. If they see something illegal through the window then doesn't that give them enough probable cause to proceed without a warrant? I think so, but I'm not sure. Can't they do the same if they see something through the window of a house or apartment? I also seem to remember that the courts have upheld even just hearing sounds indicative of a crime, while not being able to actually see it in progress. Some of this may be a little or a lot over the line of what LE should be allowed to do, but in this case of the motorcycle it seems fairly simple since it was parked out in the open like that and due to certain characteristics it was already somewhat obvious that it was the one in question and since someone else had even tipped them off that it was. It wasn't like the officer was just driving by and saw a bike and decided to check it out.

That city code guy that was checking out our car said he even had the right to look underneath a cover if it had one on. I don't know how accurate that was, but he said he did.
I am not and have never been a LEO. My avatar is in honor of my friend, Dallas Police Sargent Michael Smith, who was murdered along with four other officers in Dallas on 7.7.2016.

NRA Patriot-Endowment Lifetime Member


rotor
Senior Member
Posts in topic: 2
Posts: 2788
Joined: Tue Dec 18, 2012 11:26 pm

Re: Warrantless Search of a motorcycle

#11

Post by rotor » Tue Jan 02, 2018 2:48 pm

thatguyoverthere wrote:For what they're worth, my ideas are embedded in the abbreviated quote below:
rotor wrote:Issue
1. Does a police officer need a warrant to walk onto your property that is not gated? I would say no. ... I guess I'm not getting what difference it would make if the property were gated or not, it's still private property. So if there was a gate, a policeman could not enter, but if not gated, he could? What if there were a gate, but the gate was open? OK or not? What if it were your house, and the front door was open? Would you be ok with a policeman just walking in and start looking around inside your house? After all, the door was open.
2. Does lifting a tarp once the suspect motorcycle was spotted in the open in a non-gated property, easily accessible to anyone need a search warrant? I don't believe a warrant was needed. Had the tarp been chained and locked to the cycle that would have been different... If you accidentally leave your car or truck unlocked sitting in your driveway, you're ok if you see a policeman inside your vehicle digging through the glove compartment and looking under the seats?
4. Do you have a "right to privacy" when your vehicle or other material goods are openly available to the public?... I say yes, I do have a right to privacy on my own private property. (Granted, that right may not be respected, but I would hope that I'm still legally entitled to that right). Isn't that sort of part of the idea of private property - that it's PRIVATE? If you think not, then I'm to assume that you're ok for anyone (police or other private citizen) to walk onto your front yard, check out your landscaping or your house trim or windows or whatever else they want to look at?
Rotor, no disrespect intended; it's just that we apparently have different ideas, and I'm just trying to understand your viewpoints by injecting these hypotheticals. :tiphat:
As I said, I could argue this either way but in non-gated property freely accessible to anyone walking by I don't think a warrant is needed to look at the cycle even if it involved lifting a tarp. Then again, I am not a lawyer and it will be interesting to see how Supreme Ct interprets. I think the non-gated part is important as the lack of a gate means anyone can walk onto the property and are not technically trespassing unless given verbal warning or a sign is posted.


flechero
Senior Member
Posts in topic: 2
Posts: 1758
Joined: Thu Dec 06, 2007 5:04 pm
Location: Central Texas

This one stinks

#12

Post by flechero » Tue Jan 02, 2018 3:40 pm

I'm 100% pro LEO but this was handled wrong. After reading the article and seeing the pic... there was no way to know the bike was the one in question from the street or even standing next to it... with the fitted cover on. But they had more than enough info to get a warrant and as notes above, they could have easily gotten one. Sadly, I agree with the BG's Lawyer on this one. Lazy police work with the right outcome, doesn't excuse lazy police work!

User avatar

The Annoyed Man
Senior Member
Posts in topic: 1
Posts: 23711
Joined: Wed Jan 16, 2008 12:59 pm
Location: North Richland Hills, Texas
Contact:

Re: Warrantless Search of a motorcycle

#13

Post by The Annoyed Man » Tue Jan 02, 2018 4:34 pm

warnmar10 wrote:
E.Marquez wrote:... Worse scenario would be, the LEO feels threatened by my dogs and shoots them, ...
Meh, that doesn't really happen IRL, not without good reason.
Uhhh, no, it has actually happened, a BUNCH of times, and there are plenty of YouTube videos proving it. They have also done this to people who had committed no crimes at all, shooting and killing them while serving a no-knock warrant at the wrong address.......absolutely innocent people who reasonably made the assumption that they were being home-invaded in the middle of the night, and who met the threat at the front door with a firearm in hand. In many cases, the murdering cop gets off Scott free. In some cases, the surviving families are “rewarded” with paltry “wrongful death payouts” (in a few cases, but not in all of them), but the terms of the payout usually forbid the victim’s survivors from discussing the particulars if they accept the money. It is corrupt as heck. Law enforcement carries out an armed assault at a wrong address, kill an innocent person, nobody can talk about it, and NOBODY GOES TO JAIL FOR MURDER!!! In some cases, the murdering cop isn’t even administratively punished.

If the police have the license to shoot to kill without legal consequence when they massively screw up, then they had darned well better make sure that they are at the right place, and the right time before no-knocking a home, killing the dogs, or killing an innocent home owner. Because if they don’t, trained warriors (like retired Sgt Major E.Marquez for instance), with more combat under their belts than the assaulting police, are going to make sure that the assaulters end up in body bags, and it will be within their moral authority to see to it. You don’t go gunning down innocent people and their pets because you couldn’t take the time to get the details of your warrant correct, and show a proper respect for the lives and property of citizens, before you executed it. If you are a senior officer and you can’t be bothered to get the facts right, then when your own men end up in bags, that’s on you, not the person who was called to defend their home in the middle of the night from unarmed intruders who kick down doors at wrong addresses without announcing themselves.

If you don’t believe it happens, then you seriously need to read author Radley Balko’s “Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America’s Police Forces”. It will give you all the documented incidents that your stomach can handle. It made me sick.

Yes, the bulk of American LEOs are decent people who most likely share our values. In fact, I know more than one currently working LEO who is aware of the problem and agrees that something needs to be done to prevent it. But this crap actually DOES happen, and it happens WAY too often to just turn our heads and say “Meh, that doesn’t really happen”. It flat out does. If you don’t want to believe it, then you’ve got your head in the sand. Fortunately, there is in fact even a movement among some police forces away from this trend because there are enough good decent cops and cop management who recognize how toxic this really is, and don’t want any part of it. Why do they not want any part of it? Because it is destructive to the goals of good policing, and it makes their jobs more dangerous.

Many Americans keep guns for personal protection. At least as many Americans keep dogs as there are who own guns, and many keep their dogs for the same reasons. Their dogs are part of their family, and they are part of the family’s defenses. You don’t get to just kill them because their presence is inconvenient to you. “I felt threatened” is not a viable excuse for a cop, when he shows up with a dozen other armed men, wearing Kevlar and helmets, and assaults a home with 2 people and a couple of dogs in it, using flash-bangs and carrying rifles. And it DOES happen. There is a well-documented history of it.
Give me Liberty, or I'll get up and get it myself.—Hookalakah Meshobbab
I don't carry because of the odds, I carry because of the stakes.—The Annoyed Boy


OlBill
Senior Member
Posts in topic: 2
Posts: 507
Joined: Thu Nov 28, 2013 12:36 am

Re : Warrantless Search of a motorcycle

#14

Post by OlBill » Tue Jan 02, 2018 4:42 pm

Seems the consensus is the police can come on my property and touch my property without a warrant?


OlBill
Senior Member
Posts in topic: 2
Posts: 507
Joined: Thu Nov 28, 2013 12:36 am

Re: Warrantless Search of a motorcycle

#15

Post by OlBill » Tue Jan 02, 2018 4:43 pm

TAM,
I'd like to have a beverage with you some day.

Post Reply

Return to “The Crime Blotter”