Pa. high court OKs warrantless vehicle searches

    Pennsylvania’s highest court says police don’t necessarily need a warrant to search a vehicle, but can do it based on reasonable probable cause.

    The Intelligencer Journal/Lancaster New Era reported Wednesday that the case involved a 2010 vehicle stop in Philadelphia that produced two pounds of marijuana.

    The decision aligns Pennsylvania with existing federal standards.

    • WHYY thanks our sponsors — become a WHYY sponsor

    A local police chief tells the newspaper the decision helps law enforcement in drug investigations, but defense attorneys are calling it an expansion of government power and a possible step toward the elimination of personal privacy and freedom.

    In a dissent, Justice Debra Todd says the decision “contravenes over 225 years of unyielding protection against unreasonable search and seizure.” She calls the change “diametrically contrary to the deep historical and legal traditions” of Pennsylvania.

    Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

    Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal