Ohio has a unique restriction on traffic stops. The Ohio Supreme Court, in its Robinette decision, said that police officers may not request consent for a search of a vehicle, once the purpose of the initial traffic stop is completed and there is no evidence of any wrongdoing beyond the reason for the traffic stop. The Supreme Court of Ohio said that the courts have an obligation to protect the ordinary law-abiding citizen from intrusive, illegal and overbearing government action. This protection is necessary because most people are not aware of their right to refuse consent to a search of their vehicle.
The United States Supreme Court, in its review of this decision, declined to adopt this rule for the entire nation. In doing so, the rule was left intact in Ohio. This was an unfortunate decision, as the Ohio Supreme Court got it right in this instance. Authorities should not be allowed to further detain people and request consent after they have already issued a citation, and checked for license, registration and insurance. This person should be free to drive off without being subjected to a fishing expedition. (more…)
The police need reasonable suspicion that a crime has been committed prior to pulling someone over or temporarily detaining them. The police need probable cause to arrest someone. Even if the police are wrong, as long as they acted in good faith, the stop, detention or arrest is still valid. This is known as the good faith exception. If the criminal record computer system, otherwise known as LEADS, shows that someone has an arrest warrant, the police can arrest the person. Even if that computer entry later turned out to be wrong and the warrant was quashed well before the arrest was made, the arrest is still valid because the police were acting on good faith reliance on the computer records. The computer records, which includes LEADS and BMV records, tells police the person’s record, whether the driver’s license is valid, active warrants, active civil protection orders, and violent tendency warnings. (more…)
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