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Texas Rep Seeks to Protect Motorist Privacy
A Texas state House committee considers restricting police vehicle searches.

Rep. Harold Dutton
The Texas House Committee on Law Enforcement on Monday considered a bill that would require written consent from motorists before their vehicle could be searched. The bill, as introduced, prohibited all searches without probable cause but the proposal was amended to require written authorization before a voluntary search would be allowed. Rep. Harold Dutton (D-Houston) introduced the measure.

The US Supreme Court recently expanded police search powers by allowing police dogs to search cars by smell without a warrant. On Monday, the high court agreed to review a case where police searched a house with the permission of a wife over the objection of her husband.

Article Excerpt:
Text of the bill as introduced:
H.B. No. 2418
relating to the authority of peace officers to conduct certain searches.

SECTION 1. Article 1.06, Code of Criminal Procedure, is amended to read as follows:
Art. 1.06. SEARCHES AND SEIZURES. (a) The people shall be secure in their persons, houses, papers and possessions from all unreasonable seizures or searches. No warrant to search any place or to seize any person or thing shall issue without describing them
as near as may be, nor without probable cause supported by oath or affirmation.
(b) A peace officer who stops a motor vehicle for any alleged violation of a law or ordinance regulating traffic may not request the operator of the motor vehicle for consent to search the vehicle, unless the peace officer has probable cause or another legal basis for the search.
SECTION 2. This Act takes effect September 1, 2005.
Source: House bill would curb car searches by police (Dallas Morning News, 4/19/2005)

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