Saturday, November 17, 2007

"Warrantless Search" or Common Sense Policework?

Drudge's headline on this is curious; he calls it "warrantless search" in Boston.

Ever the civil liberties guy I went to the story--and found something a little different.

Boston police are launching a program that will call upon parents in high-crime neighborhoods to allow detectives into their homes, without a warrant, to search for guns in their children's bedrooms.

Note that "parents" will be asked to "allow" cops into the homes. So far, so good.

The program, which is already raising questions about civil liberties, is based on the premise that parents are so fearful of gun violence and the possibility that their own teenagers will be caught up in it that they will turn to police for help, even in their own households.

In the next two weeks, Boston police officers who are assigned to schools will begin going to homes where they believe teenagers might have guns. The officers will travel in groups of three, dress in plainclothes to avoid attracting negative attention, and ask the teenager's parent or legal guardian for permission to search. If the parents say no, police said, the officers will leave.

If officers find a gun, police said, they will not charge the teenager with unlawful gun possession, unless the firearm is linked to a shooting or homicide.

Who in hell could object to THAT?

That's just a rhetorical question; you already know the answer.

"I just have a queasy feeling anytime the police try to do an end run around the Constitution," said Thomas Nolan, a former Boston police lieutenant who now teaches criminology at Boston University

College prof.

"Our biggest concern is the notion of informed consent," said Amy Reichbach, a racial justice advocate at the American Civil Liberties Union. "People might not understand the implications of weapons being tested or any contraband being found."

Anti-Catholic Libertines Union.

This isn't real difficult. The parent(s) allow the cops to take a look; the cops confiscate illegally-possessed guns. If the parents say "no," the cops go away.

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