police car in day time

Michigan Supreme Court Changes Rule On Vehicle Searches

April 24, 2019 - 8:25 am

LANSING (WWJ/AP) - The Michigan Supreme Court has tightened the legal standard for searching people during a traffic stop.

The court ruled in favor of a passenger who said his rights were violated when police in Jackson County searched his backpack without his consent. Marijuana and methamphetamine were found inside the bag -- but in a unanimous decision, the Supreme Court says the search was unconstitutional.

Click here to read the court's opinion (.pdf format)

A deputy found the drugs in May 2014 while looking through the man's backpack after the driver said the car could be searched.

Chief Justice Bridget McCormack, who compared it to someone using a ride-sharing service, says police can't search a passenger based on consent from a driver. She said passengers have a "legitimate expectation" of privacy.

The man served nearly three years in prison on drug charges.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.