PA: Random suspicionless stops of boats on inland waters for safety inspection is unreasonable

Surveying apparently all the cases and statutes, Pennsylvania decides that random suspicionless stops of boats violate both the Fourth Amendment and the state constitution. The court distinguishes stops on the open seas upheld in United States v. Villa monte-Marquez. “Thus, even where there is a clearly established legitimate government interest, and suspicionless searches are a proven means of promoting that interest, there are still safeguards that must be put in place in order for a stop or search to pass constitutional muster. We see no need to depart from this framework when considering suspicionless searches of Pennsylvania’s waterways. The Commonwealth has not demonstrated that it is unable to set up a system of inspection similar to what is done on roadways, and consistent with other states. Accordingly, we hold that the random, suspicionless stop of Appellant’s boat to conduct a safety inspection violates the Fourth Amendment and Article I, Section 8 of the Pennsylvania Constitution.” Commonwealth v. Karash, 2017 PA Super 271, 2017 Pa. Super. LEXIS 639 (Aug. 21, 2017) (separate opinion concurring and dissenting).

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