Thoughts, essays, and writings on Liberty. Written by the heirs of Patrick Henry.

“The purpose of separation of church and state is to keep forever from these shores the ceaseless strife that has soaked the soil of Europe with blood for centuries.”     James Madison

November 17, 2007

Boston Police Encourage Parents To Waive Their Children’s Fourth Amendment Rights

by Doug Mataconis

The Boston Police Department is hoping that it will be able to encourage parents to waive their childrens’ rights under the Fourth Amendment:

Boston police are launching a program that will call upon parents in high-crime neighborhoods to allow detectives into their homes, without a warrant, to search for guns in their children’s bedrooms.

The program, which is already raising questions about civil liberties, is based on the premise that parents are so fearful of gun violence and the possibility that their own teenagers will be caught up in it that they will turn to police for help, even in their own households.

In the next two weeks, Boston police officers who are assigned to schools will begin going to homes where they believe teenagers might have guns. The officers will travel in groups of three, dress in plainclothes to avoid attracting negative attention, and ask the teenager’s parent or legal guardian for permission to search. If the parents say no, police said, the officers will leave.

If officers find a gun, police said, they will not charge the teenager with unlawful gun possession, unless the firearm is linked to a shooting or homicide.

The searches, of course, would be perfectly valid because parents have the authority to allow the police to search their homes, including their childrens’ bedrooms. Moreover, since it appears that the aim of the program would be to confiscate weapons rather than prosecute teenagers, any Fourth Amendment violation would be largely moot since there would be no criminal prosecution that the Exclusionary Rule could be applied to.

The big question, though, isn’t why the police would do this. That’s rather obvious.

The big question is what parent in their right mind would allow this to happen ?

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  1. [...] Others: Just Barking Mad, Sadly, No!, Don Surber, Blog, Liberty Papers, Free Constitution, Bob Krumm, Traction Control, Big Dog, OK [...]

    Pingback by Blue Crab Boulevard » Stand Still, Laddie! — November 17, 2007 @ 2:46 pm
  2. Bigger question – if parents are that concerned, why aren’t they looking for themselves?

    Comment by Stephen Macklin — November 17, 2007 @ 3:15 pm
  3. Stephen,

    Why parent, when the government will do it for you? I mean, if the parents found the gun, they might have to talk to their kids about gun safety or something. It’s much easier to let the cops find the gun. Then conversation can just be about how people shouldn’t have guns cuz the authorities say it’s bad.

    Comment by Nick M. — November 17, 2007 @ 4:55 pm
  4. What if the police find drugs when looking for guns? You know one thing leads to another…

    Comment by MCLA — November 17, 2007 @ 8:39 pm

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