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Officer, you still need that warrant...

Posted Monday, November 7, 2016 by Andrew Charles Huff

A police officer must have a warrant to search you or your property with a few limited exceptions. The extent of these “exceptions” were put before the Court of Appeals-Division Three recently against someone in the great outdoors.

A Fish and Wildlife officer was watching two men fishing and determined one of them illegally snagged a chinook. The officer confronted Mr. Eric Cruz on shore as he filled out his catch card. He was then arrested for the illegal snag and placed in handcuffs. Mr. Cruz was polite and cooperative and told the officer he had hunting rifles in his truck, although prohibited being a convicted felon. The officer then searched the truck and seized the guns without a warrant.

The Court of Appeals found that none of the exceptions to the warrant rule applied here, as the officer was not facing any emergency circumstances nor was the search incident to arrest. The Court found that because the right to bear arms is constitutionally protected, an officer needs to get that search warrant, even in the great outdoors.

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