A proposed law in Texas would make it a felony to “intentionally touch someone’s private areas” unless there was probable cause that the person had something illegal concealed there. This would apply to searches on top of the clothing as well and is an obvious response to the many complaints heard across the country about invasive pat downs in airports by the TSA.
The TSA has taken a new approach in the past several years, steadily getting more and more bold with their safety measures. Now, you can choose to go through a scanner, which sends a virtually naked picture of you to a screening room or you can elect to have a pat-down.
The pat downs aren’t a simple brushing of hands over the arms, legs, and back. No they involve sweeping the groin area and the buttocks. Many complaints lodged with the TSA involve these pat downs and agents reaching inside of waist bands and under bra straps.
The proposed Texas law is one of several popping up around the country as states look at how they can help their residents avoid such treatment by the TSA.
The pat-downs are said to be a violation of 4th Amendment protections against unreasonable searches and seizures according to Representative David Simpson (R-Longview) who sponsored the bill. His main concerns are people’s “dignity and freedom.”
The bill has passed committee and is now awaiting debate in the House before it would go to the Senate. It has 70 coauthors at this point, which according to USA Today is more than the 90% of votes needed to pass it out of the House.
The TSA claims that only 898 people have complained out of 252 million who have traveled and been screened from November through March. They say less than 3% of the 252 million undergo the patdowns. Their primary concern is allegedly the detection of terrorists, apparently believing terrorists are foolish enough to put their implements of terror in a place where TSA agents would detect them in the first place.
We commonly think of unreasonable searches and seizures as only being committed by law enforcement. But it seems they aren’t the only ones.
When facing criminal charges, an unreasonable search or one ruled unconstitutional can result in the entire criminal case being thrown out. While this isn’t the most common occurrence, it does happen and it’s something a criminal defense attorney knows to look at.
If you are facing criminal charges and have questions about the search or simply want to discuss your case, contact us for a free consultation today.