Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Two interesting court cases

From the fine gentlemen at CrimProf Blog:

U.S. Law Week notes that the Supreme Court granted review in two criminal cases yesterday:

1. Maryland v. Blake, No. 04-373 -- When a police officer improperly communicates with an in-custody suspect after the suspect has invoked his right to counsel, does the rule of Edwards v. Arizona, 451 U.S. 477 (1981), against reinitiation of custodial interrogation permit consideration of curative measures taken by the police to conclude that a suspect's later initiation of communications with the police was voluntary?

2. Georgia v. Randolph, No. 04-1067 -- When two persons have equal use and control of a residence, may one occupant give the police permission to conduct a warrantless search of the common areas of the premises over the objection of the other occupant? [Mark Godsey]

I don't know what number 1 really means, so perhaps one of you law talking guys can explain it to the rest of the class. What it sounds like it's trying to decide is whether or not police can give evidence that in-custody suspects voluntarily reinitiated interrogation after they invoked their rights. If that's the case, I obviously have no problem with that.

Number two is of more interest to me. According to my academy training, at least in California, occupants of a home can consent to searches of common areas. I don't see why this should be problem. It makes sense that if Jim and Tim share a house, Jim can't give consent to search Tim's room. It doesn't make sense that Jim couldn't give consent to search the kitchen.

My one beef with consent searching is that parents cannot give consent to search their child's room. I don't think children should have that kind of right to privacy that supercedes their parents. I was raised under the banner of "My House, My Rules", so if dad wants to let the police look through Junior's stuff while Junior is living in dad's house, he should be allowed to. If Junior doesn't like it, he can pay rent on the room and make it "his". But apparently precedent is not on my side.... yet... ;)


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