MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - If you get stopped for a traffic violation, and the police want to search your briefcase, don't ask, "Got a warrant for that?"
The Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled on a 4-3 vote that the phrase was too ambiguous for a passenger to withdraw a driver's consent for a search -- and it was too vague for an officer to ask a suspect to clarify the remark.
The traffic stop occurred in August of 2010, when a Sheboygan County deputy stopped Derik Wantland and his brother from Random Lake, for having a defective brake light.
The driver consented to a vehicle search -- and the officer grabbed Wantland's briefcase when that person asked if he got a warrant. The deputy kept opening the briefcase and found four narcotic pills.
Wantland was charged with illegal drug possession -- and he tried but failed to prevent a jury from hearing about the search.
(Story courtesy of Wheeler News Service)