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The right to be free from an unreasonable search and seizure

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While it is a common assumption that the criminal justice system creates a fair and equitable process under which crimes are prosecuted, this is not always the case. Where quotas, belief systems and ambition are in play, sometimes police departments will go the extra mile to charge an individual, potentially in violation of the Constitution.

An article recently pointed out a number of questionable ways in which police department accuse individuals of drug charges. From seizing property in order to search the premises, to putting up fake drug check points to implementing body cavity searches in brief traffic stops, some police officers are forcing citizens to experience potentially unconstitutional searches.

A recent case in Texas is one example of a troubling form of police work. A 38-year-old woman and her 24-year-old niece were stopped by a Texas police officer, when he allegedly saw the woman throw her cigarettes out the window. After stopping the women, the officer stated he smelled marijuana in the vehicle. He then called over his female colleague and requested she perform a search. What ensued was a deeply troubling event. The female officer performed a body cavity search on the two women, using the same glove.

The female officer has since been indicted on sexual assault charges. This is apparently not the only case where Texas police have allegedly used a body cavity search during a roadside stop. Another incident was also caught on video.

These types of incidences are particularly troubling as they potentially violate the constitutional rights and personal dignity of the accused. Under the Constitution, individuals are permitted to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures. If any evidence is procured in an unconstitutional manner, it may be prohibited from being introduced in court later.

Source: Salon, "4 shady ways police make shady drug busts," Kristen Gwynne, July 8, 2013.

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