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MONTVILLE, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — A proposed ordinance in Montville, New Jersey could give police officers broad powers – including entering private property – if underage drinking is even suspected.
As CBS 2’s Christine Sloan reported, the proposal has some people questioning just how far police should be allowed to go.
Residents value their privacy in the upscale community of Montville in Morris County. But the proposed ordinance could change all of that.
Police officers under the ordinance could search homes with probable cause, and without a warrant, if they suspect underage drinking.
“I am not in favor of them just coming into the homes, because there – other people have said – there are children that do make mistakes on various occasions, and that’s more of a parent responsibility rather than a police responsibility,” said Anna Marie Cecire of Montville.
The proposal is so controversial that when it was heard in a local committee room, a vote was postponed until members could hear from the police chief.
But another aspect of the plan does appeal to residents. While teens caught drinking face criminal charges under state law, officers under the Montville proposal could choose to let underage drinkers face lesser penalties.
“They are kids, and kids make mistakes, and they need to understand the consequences, but I don’t think it needs to be on their college application or somehow affect them in the future,” said guidance counselor Debbie Meenan.
Despite that, some 17-year-olds in Montville said the proposed ordinance gives police too much discretion.
“I just feel that it’s not really their business to be going into people’s houses,” said high school senior Brendan Zevits. “If you want to do that, you need to get a warrant.”
“Just coming in our houses searching – eventually, it’s going to turn into hunches and all that, and once you base it on a hunch, then it’s all downhill from there,” said high school senior Stephen McManus.
The mayor, committee members and the police chief do not appear to want to talk about the proposal, Sloan reported. None of them returned CBS 2’s calls.
One town official said the ordinance, which also imposes fines of up to $350, is vague in some areas. For that reason, it will be heard again on Sept. 23.
originally posted by: AugustusMasonicus
a reply to: OptimusCrime
We heard about this (Montville is only a few towns over from me) and think it is absurd. I also believe that this would be found un-Constitutional if challenged.
originally posted by: OptimusCrime
They're giving the cops the right to be the judges in this case. I don't like it at all. It definitely sounds unconstitutional.
"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."
originally posted by: Jakal26
Those trying to circumvent warrants are traitors to freedom and should be dealt with as such.
No more leniency for this lot, I say......HANG them. Extreme? Not when one sees the ROT this lot has caused in America.
There are times when police can perform a search without a warrant, and most searches actually do occur without warrants being issued. That is not to say the police can barge into your home and search it without a warrant; if there is a reasonable expectation of privacy and there is not probable cause, a search warrant is required. However, if probable cause does occur, such as the suspect runs away, a gunshot is heard from another room in a home, or even when an individual makes a sudden movement, a search becomes legal without a warrant. Even with a reasonable expectation of privacy, the police can legally conduct a search without a warrant in situations in which certain exemptions apply.
originally posted by: SlapMonkey
but please understand that I've been trained and worked for years in the legal field
originally posted by: HandyDandy
This is the problem with this country.
There are so many laws that it takes 4-8 years of learning to even try to attempt to understand them. But, I (as a normal citizen) am supposed to know the laws.
Ignorance of the law is no excuse.......