A new 10th Circuit court case came out this morning that highlights why everyone should just refuse to give the police officers consent for just about anything. The defendant, Michael Harmon, had multiple opportunities to tell the officer “no” and missed them all.
After speaking with the police officer outside his car, the defendant was issued a written warning for failing to maintain a lane and then he was told he was free to go. As Harmon was walking back to his car, the officer called out to him and asked him if he would mind answering a few more questions. As far as the law is concerned, at this point, everything Harmon did and said to the officer was voluntary. If he had just answered that he had to get going, the officer would have had to let him go. Obviously, Harmon did not do that. The officer then asked if he could search the car, and once again, Harmon missed an opportunity to just say, “no.”
Imagine for a moment that Harmon was innocent and had nothing to hide. There still would have been no benefit for talking with the officer. It could only delay him from wherever he was headed. Yet there he was, answering questions and letting the officer search his car for evidence.
Personally, I would rather be anywhere else other than watching passively as an officer rifles through my car. He would not find anything illegal, but it would be a complete waste of my time (and potentially embarrassing) as he snoops around my personal belongings. Everyone has the right to tell a police officer they need to leave, and everyone should do so. Nothing good will come from letting an officer look around.