Governor Rick Perry gained some support from citizens and some ire from the federal government when he introduced legislation that would have made it a crime for airport officials to conduct invasive pat downs in Texas airports. Unfortunately for him and all those who were hoping to see the law come to fruition, it died before legislators had the chance to approve it this week.
The Transportation Security Administration has been getting a lot of widely publicized heat lately for the over-the-top searches it conducts on airline passengers. Pat searching infants, requiring the elderly to remove their diapers, and even asking a cancer survivor to remove her breast prosthesis are just a few instances that have gotten national media attention over the last year.
But while airline passengers don’t appreciate the tactics, the federal government seems to support the TSA’s method. They advised lawmakers in Texas that the TSA has authority to ground flights if they don’t believe security precautions were taken beforehand. Grounding all flights out of Texas airports would create a virtual nightmare for all national and even international flights.
The searches do seem to fit the criteria of being “unreasonable”, however, which we are protected against by the 4th amendment to the U.S. Constitution. There is no probable cause present to believe random airline passengers are guilty of a crime before the pat down commences. While national security is a real issue, touching the buttocks, breasts, and genital areas of innocent citizens is also a major issue.
Representative David Simpson, who sponsored the bill said, “This is not the last effort to stop unreasonable searches.” Apparently this isn’t the last we’ve seen of this legislation. “Conservative and Tea Party” activists are the two groups credited with pushing Governor Perry to suggest the law, though it’s likely many others would also support it.
It’s a touchy situation when an official is given the right to infringe upon your constitutional rights. The police are bound by certain laws and procedures when it comes to infringing upon those rights. And when they run afoul of them, the resulting criminal charges against you can often be dropped.
If you are facing charges and you believe the search against you was “unreasonable” or if you have questions about other aspects of your case, contact our attorneys today to discuss them.