Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Justices seem split over police search

A dispute between a husband and wife over a search of their home for illegal drugs left the Supreme Court equally at odds Tuesday in an important case over police powers.
At issue is whether law enforcement officers may conduct searches of private property without a warrant when occupants disagree over allowing the search.
The appeal is a further test of police powers in a post-9/11 environment, when the federal government and local officials have asked courts for greater authority to fight crime and illegal activity. That authority has been argued in recent court cases involving searches of cars along the border, checkpoints for drunken drivers, and police kicking down doors during drug raids. (Watch: How are constitutional protections applied in the home? -- 2:05)
The current case is a little less dramatic, but involves a common part of police work: handling domestic disturbances.


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