Originally posted by Domo1
See I think it may have been his right to look for a number of reasons. The first being that this was an event opened up to the public. The second
that he most likely was unaware the seller owned the property, and the third that I believe if something is in plain view like that police can
Well, if you had a table full of little bags of white powder and a sign that said "Nose candy $100" it might be probable cause. With the proviso that
private firearm sales are legal there, though, if you walked up and started asking me "Hey, what's this - what shape's it in?" I'd have a nice talk
with you - I've swapped lots of firearms with cops. If you said "It's my right to look at whatever I want" and gave me that sneer thing, though, I'd
be sending you hence if I had to get the state police there to do it.
For the other part, it's a mix of local precedent and the legal system. Here, if you're a cop, you would likely have more leeway walking into
someone's yard on the basis that it's "public space", the SO don't have nearly as much freedom to do that without exigence or warrant because it's
curtilege. No one said the legal system's rational.
If a person got pulled over and had a very realistic looking airsoft gun on the backseat, I believe the cop would be completely within his rights to
search the vehicle, or at least investigate the 'weapon'. I don't know anything about airsoft guns, only that I have seen a few and they looked VERY
real from a few feet away.
In that case, the cop would be well advised to separate you from the car for his own safety during a stop. In a lot of states you can't carry uncased
and loaded in a vehicle, although I can here. I might add that little extra was legislated in because the cops had flagrantly abused their "concealed
weapon" charges in the past, everyone got tired of it and now they're actually in more danger on stops. Prior to the change (years ago) cops used to
brag that you could dangle a sidearm from a string to the rearview mirror and they could still prosecute you for concealed firearms on the basis that
the string concealed a part of the weapon or that the front surface concealed the back. Well, that was fun for a while, but it shows you why we can't
have nice things, I suppose.
Just as an aside, if the cops change their behavior when you record, or when a supervisor, lawyer or judge appears on scene, they likely were doing
something they aren't totally sure they are in the right to do. If the cop had just said "Record away, I don't care, make sure you spell my name
right" and kept going with what he was doing, it would have been funny. Stopping and walking to the sidewalk instead - I dunno - it seems to me like
the guy knew he might have been in the wrong, or wasn't totally sure he was in the right.
edit to add: of course, the fact that they feel assured they can do a particular thing isn't proof it's right either - the classic thing being the cop
that made us pick up garbage some years back. "I'm the law, I'm giving you an order, so it's a lawful order!" didn't turn out to be quite as consonant
with the actual law as he thought.
edit on 4-7-2012 by Bedlam because: (no reason given)