Kudos to the Washington Supreme Court for upholding restrictions on auto searches without a warrant in an amazing case where a private citizen argued his own case before the court.
The state constitution in Washington provides its drivers greater privacy protections. Last Thursday, the state Supreme Court ruled that this principle should be applied to automobile searches, shielding Evergreen State residents from intrusions that would otherwise be legal under federal precedent. The justices made their 8-1 decision in a case arising from a seatbelt violation that state Trooper Keith Pigott observed on July 22, 2006. Daniel Snapp had been driving his blue Ford Escort that morning with Angela Mae Wilcox, but his safety restraint appeared to be patched together with a blue carabiner. As Pigott pulled the Escort over, he claimed to see Snapp hide something under the seat of his car. In the course of the traffic stop, Snapp revealed he had a meth pipe and Wilcox had marijuana in her purse. He also had an outstanding no-bail arrest warrant. A search of the Escort further revealed Snapp's involvement in identity theft and other crimes. Acting as his own attorney, Snapp successfully argued to the high court that the officer should have obtained a warrant before searching his car.
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