Schneckloth V. Bustamte Summary

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Title: Schneckloth v. Bustamonte
Date/Court: The United States Supreme Court, 1973
Facts: This case deals with Clyde Bustamonte, who tried to defraud a check. At 2:40 a.m. local Sunnyvale Police Officer James Rand stopped a vehicle that had a burnt out headlight and license plate light. When Officer Rand approached the vehicle he found that the individuals Joe Alcala, Bustamonte, and Joe Gonzales were in the front seat. In the rear of the vehicle Officer Rand saw three older gentlemen, Officer Rand then asked the driver if he had identification and the driver (Gonzales) did not have any. Rand then asked the other individuals in the car and only Alcala had a valid license, after producing his license Alcala told the officer that the car was his brothers. Additional officers were called to assist Rand and after they arrived, Officer Rand asked Alcala for consent to search the car and he said yes. Gonzales even assisted Officer Rand with the search by opening the trunk and glove department, over the course of the search
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But the court in Schneckloth v. Bustamonte used a different test for consent searches and it’s the voluntariness test or totality of the circumstances. In this test knowledge to refuse consent is a factor but it is not a requirement the main requirement is on police coercion, this means that the officer did not force Alcala to search the vehicle. In this case Officer Rand asked Alicia to search the vehicle and he said sure this shows that did not use police coercion, because he voluntarily answer and submitted. It would have been coercion if Alcala said “no” and then Rand started saying things like “you’ve got nothing to hide let me search the car”. So the consent was voluntary because Alcala was not coercion into allowing the search by Officer

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