As seen on:
1610 Southern Blvd.
West Palm Beach, FL
Board Certified Criminal Trial Specialist
In Florida v. Bostick, the Court determined whether it was legal for the police to approach passengers and ask for their consent to search their luggage. The Court held that it was legal so long as a reasonable person understood that she could refuse the request. Therefore, in this case, the search of the luggage had to be consensual and the evidence was suppressed.
In a different case, United States v. Smith, police observed suspicious behavior of suspects with luggage at a bus station. The police had a reasonable suspicion the suspects were carrying drugs in their luggage. The policed entered the bus and asked the passengers if they could search the luggage. They did not tell the passengers they could refuse the search. This Court held that the search was legal because the officer’s observation of the defendants revealed adequate grounds for suspicion such as nervous behavior, the Miami destination, and the way the defendants handled their luggage.