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Old 01-21-2012, 10:02 PM   #71
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When on a public road, you are a vehicle...no difference. Warrant needed to search the MH.
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Old 01-21-2012, 10:45 PM   #72
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This question comes up from time to time and I notice some of the answers come from people with issues. I spent 32 years in law enforcement and have only been involved in one stop and search of a motor home and it was not for firearms as the questioner seems to be worried about. The winnie was driving out of the Keys in the mid 1980's on US1 when a PO noticed the rear end was seriously overloaded. When the officer stopped the vehicle and asked the driver why he was overloaded, the open window permitted a cloud of marijuana smoke to escape from the cabin. That my friends is was is known as probable cause. 3 tons worth. You should also know that back then US1 was a major transhipment route for drug smugglers. I don't know of any police officer who thinks Motorhomes or their drivers need any special attention. If you are going through life being afraid of officers stopping you and searching your vehicle you may be right to think that, but for what you are doing and not what the PO is doing. JMO. I could be wrong.
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Old 01-22-2012, 12:32 AM   #73
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Search Warrant Requirements




Anyone who watches crime dramas on television is familiar with the scene where police officers enter a home or business brandishing a search warrant. The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution guarantees the people's right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures, which often -- but not always -- means that government agents must have a warrant to search and seize your person and property.
Here is the full text of the Fourth Amendment:
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.
The Fourth Amendment protects the people from unreasonable searches and seizures, which means that many searches are fine as long as they meet certain requirements. Searches are generally considered reasonable when: 1) a judge issues a search warrant based on probable cause; or 2) certain situations occur that justify a search without a warrant (a search for weapons after an arrest, for example).
The Fourth Amendment's requirements don't apply when a person doesn't have a "legitimate expectation of privacy" in the place or thing searched. If there isn't an expectation of privacy, then the Fourth Amendment doesn't come into play, and officers conducting a search don't have to meet its requirements.
The United States Supreme Court has created a test for determining when a legitimate expectation of privacy exists. The test has two parts:
  • Did the person subjectively expect the place or thing to be private? I.e., did they actually feel that the place or thing would remain private?
  • Was that expectation objectively reasonable? I.e., would society as a whole agree that the place or thing should remain private?
An example might help clarify the point: most people feel that their homes are private, so there is a subjective expectation of privacy in one's home. Most people in society would find this expectation reasonable, so a police search of one's home must satisfy the Fourth Amendment's reasonableness requirement.
If someone leaves evidence of a crime on their front lawn, however, it's likely that a police seizure of that evidence would not constitute an unreasonable search since most people in a society would not expect that an object that was clearly visible to anyone passing by would remain private. Even if the owner of the home or the evidence genuinely expected that the area would remain private, that expectation would not be reasonable, and so the seizure would not have to meet the requirements of the Fourth Amendment.
Also keep in mind that the Fourth Amendment's requirements only apply to government actors. Private individuals, including security guards, don't fall under the Fourth Amendment's restrictions. While a private individual may break other laws if they conduct a search of a person or their belongings, any evidence they discover in the process would still be admissible in court.
If a government actor conducts an illegal search (one that violates the Fourth Amendment), the government cannot present any evidence discovered during that search at trial. Known as the "exclusionary rule", this rule aims to deter police officers from conducting unreasonable searches. Opponents of the exclusionary rule, however, argue that it lets guilty criminals go free on technicalities.
In addition, evidence obtained through illegal searches cannot lead police to the discovery of other evidence. This legal rule, known as the "fruit of the poisonous tree", is also designed to prevent government actors from invading people's privacy by conducting unreasonable searches. If police know, so the theory goes, that any evidence they obtain based on what they discover in an illegal search will be thrown out, they won't conduct illegal searches in the first place.
Here are a few examples to illustrate the exclusionary rule and the fruit of the poisonous tree doctrine:
Officer Joe suspects that Chris is selling drugs. Without a warrant, Officer Joe walks into Chris' house and finds drugs and a scale on the kitchen table. Officer Joe arrests Chris, but the judge throws out the evidence of the drugs and scale on the basis of the exclusionary rule.
In the example above, instead of finding drugs and a scale, Office Joe finds a map to locations throughout the city where Chris is storing his drugs for sale. Officer Joe collects the drugs and enters both them and the map as evidence. The map is thrown out because of the exclusionary rule, and, because Officer Joe would not have discovered the drugs without the map, the fruit of the poisonous tree doctrine prevents the use of the drugs as evidence.
It is important to note, however, that just because the prosecution can't use certain evidence at trial, it doesn't mean that a judge will dismiss a case or that a jury will acquit the defendant. Prosecutors may have enough other evidence to convict the defendant even without the results of the illegal search.
Plus, while prosecutors can't use improperly obtained evidence to secure a conviction, that evidence may enter into other areas of the trial. For instance:
  • The evidence may become a factor in civil and immigration cases
  • Prosecutors can use the evidence to attack the credibility of a witness under certain circumstances
  • Judges may consider the evidence when determining a sentence after a conviction





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Old 01-22-2012, 01:03 AM   #74
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Originally Posted by tylerdmoore View Post
Warrant needed to search the MH.
Not in WA as I stated earlier, during a traffic stop the LEO can search the rig for his safety. It's been to the State Supreme Court and was upheld.
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Old 01-22-2012, 01:10 AM   #75
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They Are not suppose to enter without a warrant. and must have probable cause. the only exception are the following:
1: at all Federal, Military and or "Secured" Control Points
2. At a Border of another Country From the U.S. Side.
3. During A Presidential Event:
4. If Martial Law has been declared.

But the way they are training most of the news guys their is a "Major" lack of discipline
Hope this helps,
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Old 01-22-2012, 07:24 AM   #76
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Also keep in mind that the Fourth Amendment's requirements only apply to government actors. Private individuals, including security guards, don't fall under the Fourth Amendment's restrictions. While a private individual may break other laws if they conduct a search of a person or their belongings, any evidence they discover in the process would still be admissible in court.

So your wife gets murdered and you break into the killers house (without the governments knowledge) and get the gun and give it to the police and they can use it as evidenve in the killers trial knowing how you obtained the gun.
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Old 01-22-2012, 09:17 AM   #77
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Also keep in mind that the Fourth Amendment's requirements only apply to government actors. Private individuals, including security guards, don't fall under the Fourth Amendment's restrictions
A Security Guard wanting to search my motorhome,,, Now that would be quite an interesting and possibly a humorous event.!
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Old 01-22-2012, 10:12 AM   #78
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The rules of search and seizure, aka the 4th Amendment, are the most complicated in our system of laws as they are constantly changing. Every court case builds upon the case before it. LEOs get constant training on these rules and on the latest cases. This training is to prevent evidence from being excluded in a court case.

I'm not going to get into Probable Cause here because that area is worse than search and seizure.

Search of a Motorhome because of it's dual use as a motorhome and an abode, is one of those issues where specific court rulings apply. The case really pertinent to this discussion is California v Carney.

Wikipedia has a very good, read short, summary of Search and Seizure rulings which I will paste in here. To find the original article go to Wikipedia and search for "Motor Vehicle Exception". There you will find all the links to the individual cases and reference material. The majority of these cases were decided by the US Supreme Court, therefore, they are the law of the land.

From Wikipedia:

Motor vehicle exception
The motor vehicle exception was first established by the United States Supreme Court in 1925, in Carroll v. United States. [1] The motor vehicle exception allows an officer to search a vehicle without a warrant as long as he or she has probable cause to believe that evidence or contraband is located in the vehicle.[2]

Five phases
The automobile exception has gone through five phases:[3]
A. Early cases; Carroll v. United States to United States v. Di Re and the requirement of exigency
See also: Cooper v. California
B. Chambers v. Maroney and relaxing of exigency
See also: Preston v United States, Dyke v Taylor Implement Mfg. Co.; Coolidge v. New Hampshire, Almeida-Sanchez v. United States, Cardwell v. Lewis, Texas v. White
C. Automobile exception first applied to containers in Arkansas v. Sanders
See also: United States v. Chadwick, Colorado v. Bannister
D. Probable cause and containers -- United States v. Ross
See also: California v. Acevedo, Wyoming v. Houghton
E. The clearer movement toward automobile--exigency
See also: Michigan v. Thomas, United States v. Johns, California v. Carney, Maryland v. Dyson

Details
The motor vehicle exception is based on the idea of a lower expectation of privacy in motor vehicles due to the regulations they are under. Additionally, the ease of mobility creates an inherent exigency. In Pennsylvania v. Labron the U.S. Supreme Court, stated, “If a car is readily mobile and probable cause exists to believe it contains contraband, the Fourth Amendment thus permits police to search the vehicle without more.”[2]

The scope of the search is limited to only what area the officer has probable cause to search. This area can encompass the entire vehicle including the trunk. The motor vehicle exception in addition to allowing officers to search the vehicle also allows officers to search any containers found inside the vehicle that could contain the evidence or contraband being searched for. The objects searched do not need to belong to the owner of the vehicle. In Wyoming v. Houghton, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the ownership of objects searched in the vehicle is irrelevant to the legitimacy of the search.[2]

Some state's constitutions require officers to show there was not enough time to obtain a warrant. With the exception of states with this requirement, an officer is not required to obtain a warrant even if it may be possible to do so.[1]

In United States v. Ludwig, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals found that a search warrant is not required even if there is little or no risk of the vehicle being driven off. The court stated, “[i]f police have probable cause to search a car, they need not get a search warrant first even if they have time and opportunity.” In United States v. Johns, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a search of a vehicle that had been seized and was in police custody for three days prior to the search. The court stated, “A vehicle lawfully in police custody may be searched on the basis of probable cause to believe it contains contraband, and there is no requirement of exigent circumstances to justify such a warrantless search”.[1]

The motor vehicle exception does not only apply to automobiles. The U.S. Supreme Court in California v. Carney found the motor vehicle exception to apply to a motor home. The court did however, make a distinction between readily mobile motor homes and parked mobile homes. A number of factors including, the home being elevated on blocks, whether the vehicle is licensed, and if it is connected to utilities determine if the motor vehicle exception applies. In United States v. Johns, the motor vehicle exception was applied to trucks. In United States v. Forrest it was applied to trailers pulled by trucks. United States v. Forrest applied the exception to boats and in United States v. Hill to house boats. In United States v. Nigro and United States v. Montgomery the motor vehicle exception was found to also include airplanes.[2]

References
1. a b c Regini, L. A. (July 1999).The Motor Vehicle Exception: When and Where to Search. FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin. 68, 27-33.
2 a b c d Hendrie, E. (August 2005). The Motor Vehicle Exception. FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin, 74, Retrieved August 14, 2006, from http://www.fbi.gov/publications/leb/...leb.htm#page22
3 1-18 Search and Seizure § 18.3. Copyright 2008, Matthew Bender & Company, Inc., a member of the LexisNexis Group.
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Old 01-22-2012, 10:44 AM   #79
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Sounds a bit to me like when we elected to make our MoHo's our residence we unknowingly "forfeited" our 4th Amendment rights unless we are hooked up to utilities in a campground...

(Wally dockers and Boondockers BEWARE)


Hmmm.....Food for thought..
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Old 01-22-2012, 03:12 PM   #80
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This question comes up from time to time and I notice some of the answers come from people with issues. ............ I don't know of any police officer who thinks Motorhomes or their drivers need any special attention. If you are going through life being afraid of officers stopping you and searching your vehicle you may be right to think that, but for what you are doing and not what the PO is doing. JMO. I could be wrong.
Denis, I have no issue with a legitimate request for a search. I do have experience with an abuse of the powers granted to a PO. I have no fear of a search of any of my vehicles, I am law abiding and have nothing to hide. I also appreciate the protections afforded to me by the Constitution from behavior that amounts to nothing more than a thug with a badge. Are you really saying that in 32 years that you were never aware of a PO's abuse of their position?
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Old 01-22-2012, 03:16 PM   #81
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Originally Posted by nrc1963 View Post
They Are not suppose to enter without a warrant. and must have probable cause. the only exception are the following:
1: at all Federal, Military and or "Secured" Control Points
2. At a Border of another Country From the U.S. Side.
3. During A Presidential Event:
4. If Martial Law has been declared.

But the way they are training most of the news guys their is a "Major" lack of discipline
Hope this helps,
Nick, U.S. Spec. Ops.
Does not apply in WA state as I previously stated. No probable cause required to search a motor vehicle during a traffic stop. It's been through the State Supreme Court, but no one (so far) has taken it to SCOTUS.
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Old 01-22-2012, 03:20 PM   #82
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Originally Posted by D in Davie View Post
This question comes up from time to time and I notice some of the answers come from people with issues. I spent 32 years in law enforcement and have only been involved in one stop and search of a motor home and it was not for firearms as the questioner seems to be worried about. The winnie was driving out of the Keys in the mid 1980's on US1 when a PO noticed the rear end was seriously overloaded. When the officer stopped the vehicle and asked the driver why he was overloaded, the open window permitted a cloud of marijuana smoke to escape from the cabin. That my friends is was is known as probable cause. 3 tons worth. You should also know that back then US1 was a major transhipment route for drug smugglers. I don't know of any police officer who thinks Motorhomes or their drivers need any special attention. If you are going through life being afraid of officers stopping you and searching your vehicle you may be right to think that, but for what you are doing and not what the PO is doing. JMO. I could be wrong.
Thanks for the good simple answer.
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Old 01-22-2012, 07:43 PM   #83
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Does not apply in WA state as I previously stated. No probable cause required to search a motor vehicle during a traffic stop. It's been through the State Supreme Court, but no one (so far) has taken it to SCOTUS.
looks like the WA courts are re-considering this stance

Local News | High court rules police need warrant for vehicle search | Seattle Times Newspaper
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Old 01-22-2012, 08:23 PM   #84
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I sorta believe the 4th applies in Washington as well as the other 49 states.
There are certain circumstances that allow a limited search to take place without a search warrant i.e. Mobility, loss of evidence if time is taken to obtain a search warrant etc. However, the officer must be able to articulate to judge or magistrate (to their satisfaction and likely a superior court judge later) the set of circumstances that he felt required his warrantless search. I promise you will get a pile of motions to suppress if you go around searching without a warrant. Even if you do find contraband, there is a good chance you will lose it when the probable cause hearing takes place.

We did have a local constable who would tell people that in a county with less than 10 thousand that the 4th did not apply I am sure this guy was joking, but he also told a local bootlegger who asked where his search warrant was, that he had it printed on the bottom of his shoe and he served it when he kicked in the door. This guy was a good street deputy and related to the folks he dealt with very well. They loved him and many came to his funeral when he died shortly after retirement
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