Supreme Court Voids Search Over Consent Issue
There's a knock on your door. The police are there, asking if they can come in and search. You and your wife answer the door. Your wife says yes, you say no. Can the police come in and search?
The Supreme Court said "no" today -- when both parties are present and one objects, the police cannot come in.
- A divided U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday that the police cannot enter a home and seize evidence without a warrant when one occupant agreed to the search after the other occupant refused permission. By a 5-3 vote, the high court said the husband's refusal in a case from Georgia was clear, making the search unreasonable and invalid, despite his wife's approval for it.
The narrowly written ruling was a defeat for the state of Georgia and for the U.S. Justice Department, which had argued that the search of a residence should be allowed when one occupant consents, even if the other occupant objects.
Judge Alito did not participate. Roberts, Scalia and Thomas dissented. Souter, who wrote the majority opinion, criticized Roberts' dissent:
Under the dissent's view, he wrote, "The centuries of special protection for the privacy of the home are over."
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