Search and Seizure: Crash Course Government and Politics #27
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Search and Seizure: Crash Course Government and Politics #27

August 23, 2019


Hi, I’m Craig, and this is Crash Course Government
and Politics, and today, we’re gonna continue our discussion of the Bill of Rights, and
talk about something that may actually be useful to you. We’re gonna talk about when
the police are allowed to search your house, your car, and even you. But not me. I have
immunity. I’m on YouTube. Right, is that how it works, Stan? It’s not how it works? I’m
in trouble. You might think that this only matters if
you are, you know, a criminal, and if you are, then you should be paying close attention,
but even if you haven’t committed any crimes and you are unlucky enough to be stopped by
the police, these protections apply. [Theme Music] The question of when and where and how the
police can conduct a search falls under the general topic of Criminal Procedure. In this
case, the second word is important. The courts usually look at how the police are acting,
and the protections courts have supported are primarily procedural. What this means
is that there is no unlimited, sometimes called substantive, right to have the police not
search you or your home. The criminal procedure civil liberties are found in the Fourth, Fifth,
and Sixth amendments, but today we’re only gonna look at the Fourth amendment, which
reads, “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects,
against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall
issue but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing
the place to be searched and the persons or things to be seized.” You can see right away
that this is not an absolute right. The framers made sure that we are only protected from
unreasonable searches and seizures, and they added that the police are supposed to get
a warrant before they search you. Let’s start with the warrant requirement,
because it’s kinda confusing. A search warrant is a piece of paper issued by a judge, authorizing
law enforcement officers to search something, usually your house, but possibly your car
or your person or your desk eagle. I’m not hiding anything in there. What? According
to the Fourth Amendment, for the police to get a judge to issue a warrant, they must
have probable cause, which is more than just a suspicion or an anonymous tip, although
sometimes judges will issue warrants on pretty flimsy probably cause. When they are issued,
warrants are supposed to be specific, laying out what the police are searching for and
where they expect to find it. This means that if the warrant says the police can search
your garage for a stolen car, they can’t look in your kitchen drawers and cupboards, because
A, the warrant says they can search your garage and B, they’re looking for a car, and you
can’t hide a car in your kitchen drawers, unless it’s a very small car. I drive a Prius,
which is pretty small, but it doesn’t fit in my kitchen drawers. I’ve tried. Even when
I take the whisk out. You’ll notice that I qualified my statement
about warrants. You do this a lot when you’re talking about criminal procedure. I said,
“When they are issued,” despite the fact that the Fourth Amendment seems to say that the
police always need a warrant, the courts have ruled that it is not always required for the
police to engage in a reasonable search. What this means is that if the police have probable
cause to search you, say, they catch you pocketing powdered donuts in the grocery store, they
don’t always need to go to the judge to search you. What makes a reasonable search is a question
that the courts have wrestled with. Sometimes, like with a stolen car in the kitchen cabinet,
it’s pretty obvious. But many times it isn’t. For example, if the warrant allows the police
to search your kitchen for illegal hand grenades and they look in your freezer and find illegal
drugs instead, that’s probably reasonable, because freezers are where most people store
their illegal hand grenades, and also their drugs, and if the police stop you for speeding,
which is a violation of traffic laws, also known as a crime, and then search your car
and find a dead body in the trunk, the courts have ruled that this is reasonable, too. It’s
important to realize that the warrant and reasonableness requirements are not meant
to prevent the police from stopping criminals caught in the act. If the police, after chasing
a masked man carrying a bag with a dollar sign on it running away from a bank that has
just been reported robbed by a man with a gun and mask manage to catch him, they don’t
need an arrest warrant to take him into custody, and because the running away and the bag of
money are pretty suggestive, the police will have probable cause to search the guy, who
in my mind, looks like the Hamburglar for the gun. And the question is, can they use
the gun as evidence? Let’s go to the Thought Bubble. One of the
most important Supreme Court cases dealing with searches and seizures is Mapp v. Ohio,
decided in 1961. The facts of the case are pretty wild. The police went to the home of
Dollree Mapp to search for explosives and gambling equipment. They didn’t have a warrant,
so she didn’t let them in. They came back a bit later with a fake warrant and searched
the house. They didn’t find explosives or gambling equipment, but they did find a trunk
full of pornography, which was illegal at the time, so they arrested her. The main evidence
against her, naturally, was the pornography, but the cops’ probable cause was to search
for explosives. The Court ruled that the evidence had been seized through an illegal search.
There was no warrant, and even if there had been one, it probably wouldn’t have included
the trunk in which they found the porn. More important, they ruled that this evidence and
any evidence seized pursuant to an illegal search cannot be used against a defendant
in a trial. This is called an exclusionary rule, unlawfully obtained evidence is excluded
from the trial, and it’s sometimes called the “Fruit of the Poisoned Tree,” possibly
because lawyers are better at naming things than historians are. This is incredibly important,
especially for cop shows on TV, but also for you if you happen to have your home searched
illegally and the police find evidence of criminal activity. Thanks, Thought Bubble. So it seems like there are some pretty strong
protections against the police searching your home because of Mapp, but there are also plenty of
exceptions, and no, we’re not talking about the Mongols. [Mongoltage] Many of these exceptions involve your car.
In general, the courts have been very lenient when police search your car, probably because
very often, when they pull you over, it’s because of some kind of moving violation,
like speeding, which can be probable cause, especially if they think you might be speeding
away from a crime. The court decisions on this issue are really, really complicated,
but the general rule of thumb is that the police can usually search your car and you
if they pull you over, despite what Jay-Z may think. Another question that comes up
is random traffic stops to check for drunk driving. A breathalyzer is a type of search,
so it would seem that the police should have probable cause to stop you and check to see
if you’re drunk. But the Courts have ruled that drunk driving
checkpoints are okay, assuming they don’t disproportionately target people of a specific
race, but that’s for another episode. While we’re talking about cars and specific groups
of people, I should probably add that there’s one group of people who don’t have the same
protections against searches: students. Students often think that it’s not okay for school
officials to search their lockers or their bookbags, but those students are wrong. Most
students go to public schools, where the officials are mostly government workers, and are subject
to the Bill of Rights. The Courts have ruled that students don’t have the same protections
as other citizens, and that the interests of the state in keeping a safe, drug and weapon-free
educational environment trumps their privacy interest. Although there are limits to how
intrusive these searches can be. Drug tests for student athletes? Fine. Strip searches?
Not okay. And bee tee dubs, in the same way that a breathalyzer
test is a search, so is a drug test, or as they say in England, a drugs test, which is
probably a more accurate way to say it, because they usually test more than one drug. These
can seem pretty intrusive, but the Courts usually rule that they are okay, especially
where public safety is concerned. The state interest in drug-free schools is a pretty
strong one, but the cases on student drug tests are really interesting, especially when
they get into the issue of whether schools can test all students without probable cause,
or only specific groups, like athletes. If you’re really interested, you should look
these cases up, but why are you so interested? Maybe you should take a drug test.
Or a drugs test. So I’m gonna stop here before I get too deep
in the weeds about search and seizures and the Fourth Amendment. There are two important
things to remember. The first is that, like all the Constitutional protections of civil
liberties, it only applies to government agents. You have no Fourth Amendment protection against
your parents searching your room, unless your parents are police officers and they’re on
duty, and it’s like, official police business. The second thing to remember is that the protections
in the Fourth Amendment are far from absolute. The Amendment itself includes a reasonableness
standard, and what is reasonable as well as when warrants are necessary has been, and
continues to be, determined by the Courts. In this case, as with most civil liberties
cases, the Court’s attempt to balance an individual’s interest in maintaining her privacy against
the state’s interest in preventing crime and keeping citizens safe. It’s not an easy balance,
but that’s what makes the issue complex and interesting, at least to us here at Crash
Course, because we’re complex and interesting. Right, Stan? Thanks for watching. See ya next time. Crash
Course Government and Politics is produced in association with PBS Digital Studios. Support
for Crash Course US Government comes from Voqal. Voqal supports nonprofits that use
technology and media to advance social equity. Learn more about their mission and initiatives
at Voqal.org. Crash Course was made with the help of these complex and interesting people.
Thanks for watching.

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  1. Being a white guy is pretty great. The cops have shot and killed 700 people this year while it's the safest year in history to be a cop. (25 KIA) During Reagan's presidency it was closer to 225 a year.

  2. Disclaimer Notice: these American rights don't apply to all Americans especially ones of the minority orientation. You will likely be beaten up and arrested or possibly shot and killed for questioning police methods. You've been warned

  3. The entitled, lower earning spouse asking for a consultation is likely to get silence. Their attorney is likely to sell them out because if statutes were followed everyone would settle out of court and no money for judges and attorneys. If the lower earning spouse feels that they won't hire an attorney unless they communicate clearly – here's what I experienced. Bonnie Shields appeared to be helpful and was working unbundled. She entered general representation without my knowledge. I read the Introduction to Rule of Professional Conduct (LexisNexis 2014) and there was a ruling stating that unbundled attorneys can enter general representation and do whatever they want on the record. The party has no access to the record except requesting that the court accept the attorney's Motion to Withdraw. That, at least was the law back in 2014 – the Supreme Court changes it weekly to prevent constituents from upholding their civil rights. After entering general representation Bonnie Shields' communications became muddled. The attorney then requests the appointment of a guardian ad litem. A party can't get their attorney dismissed for representing the interests of the opposing party – the rulings claimed its fine. A corrupt judge such as Angela Arkin will not dismiss an attorney. So then the party appeals. But if the attorney preemptively requests the appointment of a guardian ad litem – only the guardian ad litem can appeal. So the two attorneys and the guardian ad litem can rack up endless bills and the party is helpless. The judge gets kickbacks from all of this. She also traditionally removes the party from Permanent Orders and orders the wealthier party to pay the state funded guardian ad litem's fees a second time. She then closes the case, has the attorney hire a locksmith, enter the residence of the poorer party, steal the social security card, Xeroxes of I.D.s, medical and financial documents as well as titles, etc. The guardian ad litem now claims to have power of attorney. If the party appeals the GAL hijacks that litigation and creates endless bills again. All this, without tipping the public as to the correct law – something that a pro-se appeal could get onto a record. I'm giving away copies of my outdated appeal and story freely. The party is also instructed that they can request some of their stolen property back. If the do they get hit with an attorney bill because the case is considered closed (the attorneys and judges still use it – the courts decide whatever makes more money.) It sounds wild – but the judicial branch is unsupervised. Attorneys make their own terms of employment and if a judge feels the statutes get in her money making way she informs a justice. The Court Improvement Committee passes local laws and court rules to make all legislation irrelevant. Many of my friends told me they suffered the same scam by the attorney they hired. The judges intimidate them with fraudulent incarceration, mental hospitals, chemotherapy, etc. Judge Arkin created a 3 month schedule so that the statutes of limitation on the deniable domestic assault kicks in. She has always scheduled hearings around my husband's need to deny the domestic assault. It doesn't help with the injuries or medical bills. I worry that the GAL, Virginia Fraser Able will put me in prison for not taking chemotherapy. I don't have cancer. There is no medical documents showing cancer. But doctors are unregulated and I've seen one fraudulent medical document already. The judge could put me in jail anyway.

  4. Can you do a segment on the 2nd Amendment? Specifically how case law has changed from the time of U.S. v. Miller (1939) to DC v. Heller? And an analysis of the text of the amendment?

  5. Just Obey the law and respect the officers and you won't get hurt.

    If you cause a threat, and the cops will take actions.

    The Cops won't shoot you, they only shoot you if you are a serious threat. That is rare.

    Don't blame race or the cops.

    Just be responsible and respectful and obey the laws.

  6. This will help me out with my law enforcement classes because sometime I can't hear everything from the teacher.

  7. This week Craig talks about police searches and seizures. Now, the fourth amendment says that you have the right to be protected against "unreasonable searches and seizures" but what exactly does this mean? Well, it's complicated. The police often need warrants issued with proof of probable cause, but this isn't always the case – such as when you're pulled over for a moving violation. We'll finish up with the limitations of these protections and discuss one group of people in particular that aren't protected equally – students.

  8. There is one thing you didn't clarify in this video, if you do get pulled over for speeding, they CANT search you or your car unless they see visible evidence of a crime committed or anything illegal in your car. Just because you are pulled over for speeding isn't probable cause to search you or your car.

  9. Hello, I am using your videos for a constitutional law class I teach. They are great. I have some updates for your search and seizure video if you are interested.

  10. My school will always have "Instructional lockdowns where the school keeps going as before, but, students/staff can't leave the classroom. During this time they have the school's resource officers search the schools lockers. On one of the lockdowns another student got busted with a huge amount of weed in their locker.

  11. There are student athletes who are clearly on steroids , but the coaches don't give a fudge. Like what the fudge coach.

  12. If you want to see the 4th Amendment trampled on, look up my video Receipt Refusal Gone Wrong. You will be amazed.

  13. It seems so crazy that people can't be found guilty of a crime that they clearly committed just because the evidence was collected illegally… Wouldn't it be better to just punish the cops for the illegal search and still apply the evidence?

  14. tbh, I'm in law school in a Civ Pro class, and while this won't help me with all of the specific exceptions that make the 4th amendment protections look like Swiss cheese, it's a great overview and very helpful as a refresher before my exam. thanks Crash Course!

  15. This shall remain anonymous in every way however I just wanted to say my school blows when it comes to seizing illegal substances. I mean really, you could find weed on every other person, and one time some kid came smashed with some more booze in his backpack, but nope, they went through the whole day absolutely fine. Anyone else?

  16. You forgot to mention that Humans are also Hats man. Humans ware many hats and could most likely and always most certainty be deceived to eat the Poisoned Fruit.

  17. So.. If police get a warrant to search my house to find drugs.. and they find a body in the oven, does that mean they ignore it?

  18. Major issue with your legal advice that you're offering: A person can be legally detained and not be under arrest. A traffic stop is a good example.

  19. The police are searching my house right now, I’m blaring this video so they know I’m educated, pray for me plz

  20. I don't know what law school you went to but you definitely failed. Just because an officer pulls you over does not give him the right to search a vehicle.

  21. mongoltage.
    the person who does the closed captions for these videos need a raise

  22. What if the warrants are trying to search electronic communications and potential devices of people who are deceased…? How does that factor in to the ability of the DOJ to get a warrant to find some missing kids?
    I couldn't find any specific info on this.

  23. Please, please, please don’t tell people that the police search’s of cars are usually legal. That is a misstatement of the law. Everyone has a right to refuse a search of there property. This is the take away for most people. NOT that police can just search your car. I really hope you amend this video.

  24. A friend was arrested at work on an arrest warrant for suspicion of theft. That night when he was being booked was told that he's also charged with poss with intent and para. He wasn't present when they found it and it was in a common area which dozens of people were in and had access to his bag . he hadn't been in that room for several hours. Can this stick?

  25. Dude you are so full of s*** in a complete shield for the government I can't believe you would have the brass balls to come on here and tell all these lies you ought to be ashamed of yourself you f**** b** you certainly are not a lawyer and are not qualified to be giving information out on legalities especially considering you're lying trying to give the government rights and authorities they do not have tap two and that don't happen

  26. I seriously have to credit some of the "lighbulb moments" I've had throughout my journey criminal law to Craig helping explain it in a different way that makes all my hours studying a little eaiser to understand and comprehend! Also, thank you for the unbiased lectures–it's uncommon these days. Thank God for Crash Course! 🙂

  27. speeding is not a crime it is not a criminal offense it is a civil matter that's the problem with policing these days they believe that civil proceedings or civil charges can be treated as criminal charges that's the big fraud or at least one of very many frauds perpetrated by the courts and the owners of the courts the judges although the Constitution says that the people are the owners of the Court the judge actually gets paid a massive amount of money as the owner and CEO of the corporation that you were standing before because they're not actually courts of law they are corporations for profit dealing with people that they wrongly in without proper knowledge take the jurisdiction from and because they do it through fraud and without knowledge it is not legal lawful or even respectable

  28. Forced Drug tests are never okay according to the Constitution. The court may say that it is okay but that does not make it lawful, it is still unlawful and not okay.. and it is highly tyrannical and anti american.

  29. Have you noticed that warrants will not set limits? Nearly all will include "plus all effects of all areas therein at same address but no other address"….. or something like that. They use the same warrant that's copied over and over again. The only difference is the name and address or place, hell sometimes they don't even change what the warrant is for then claim it's just a typing error to be legal in court.

  30. Stop being paranoid. We will keep our guns . We had guns from the beginning and still will have for a long long time in the future in America. Constitution assured us this so relax and stop making everyone fearful of government. Guns are here to stay

    By the way if the government want your guns they can with no issue. Your wimpy weapons cannot defend US military silly. You need helicopters, Lazars, night vision, missals, etc to defeat them so forget it. Nothing like 1770 of fighting government army. Your logic silly. So should we each have middles too so we can protect ourselves from government???

  31. at 4 minutes, I get that the pornography was an illegal search and seizure because no warrant. But why did it say, even if they say if they had a warrant it probably wouldn't include the trunk where they found the porn? i would like to believe firearms and explosive equipment would possible be stored in a trunk, it would have been in plain view… naw?

  32. I am really grateful for these videos but my goodness I don't know how much longer I can handle this guy's completely predictable and uncreative "humor."

  33. I was not speeding and not breaking the law and I still got search. In a matter of fact the police officer said I was driving too slow..

  34. The public Schools one is stupid, the lockers are public property, so of course they could search your lockers.

  35. Back in my wilder days I used to run a lot of weed, and after a pretty bad car accident was arrested at the hospital with enough to put me away for quite a while. The outcome?

    The case was thrown out of court! The judge ruled that the cop had no legal right to search my bag because I was in the hospital for something completely unrelated. I absolutely love the 4th amendment, it saved me from a decade in prison. Oh, and obviously I cleaned up my act.

  36. Hey i uploaded a video on my channel search jra.x2e & see if any of my rights were violated, 6 cops rushed me without reading me my rights i had a traffic warrant where they unlawfully searched my car after destroying it they found a pair of nunchacku in a bag buried in a duffel bag burried in my truck under alot of other things!

  37. Well…there's a great deal of space between 'reasonable suspicion' and 'probable cause'. Probable cause means that police have a very high degree of belief that a crime has been committed…and this usually facilitates an arrest on the spot. Reasonable suspicion means that police have reason to believe that a crime may have been committed (in the past) or that a crime will be committed (in the immediate future).

    These are quite different…and it's a very important distinction.

  38. When you register to vote the reverse of the document states you are responsible for all they do. Made them untouchable. And we wonder why.

  39. They say kids dont have rights but the declaration of independence says rights are god given and come with you at birth. It seems counterproductive to raise kids with statists rules and expect them to have the intestinal fortitude to stand up for themselves in a country founded on independence.

  40. Okay and legal are different things, it is not okay, or legal, but the courts aren't properly enforcing this law, and furthermore, students are protected by the 14th amendment (even if SCOTUS has yet to recognise this).

  41. WHAT!!! Dude, speeding is NOT a crime!! It's an infraction which you are guilty of if you are engaging in commercial activity on "U.S. State Highways. Are you another one of those undercover state robots??

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