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