Pennsylvania police officers no longer need a warrant to search a citizen's vehicle, according to a recent state Supreme Court opinion. The high court's opinion, released Tuesday, is being called a drastic change in citizens' rights and police powers. Previously, citizens could refuse an officer's request to search a vehicle. In most cases, the officer would then need a warrant — signed by a judge — to conduct the search.That's no longer the case, according to the opinion written by Supreme Court Justice Seamus McCaffery. The ruling, passed on a 4-2 vote, was made in regard to an appeal from a 2010 vehicle stop in Philadelphia.
So what are the implications of this—especially given this states' sharp racial divisions? They have already diverted funding that could go to the schools to the prisons. What's next? It remains to be seen but this is not exactly a comforting development in terms of civil rights and protections against the police.