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IPFS News Link • Bill of Rights

Words of Consent

• Simple Justice
State v. Meekins, 2009 WL 4876866 (Tex.App.-Amarillo 2009). where the validity of a consent search is ultimately determined based on the nuance of language.

A police officer stops a driver named Williams for a traffic violation. After checking out his driver’s license, the officer asks the driver for consent to search the car:
That solicitation continued over a period of about a minute and included approximately six requests. The officer asked that many times because appellant would not commit one way or the other. Indeed, captured on the video of the event was the officer informing appellant that he was being asked a “yes or no” question. Furthermore, the last request propounded to appellant consisted of Williams asking: “Do you mind if I look?” To it, appellant answered “yes,” according to the officer. Upon so replying, appellant was ordered to exit the car.