D.V.I.: Court doubts legal authority for border searches from mainland to VI, but GFE applies

The court doubts the legal basis for customs searches of people traveling nonstop from the U.S. mainland to the Virgin Islands because there is no international travel. Reliance on the V.I. Code doesn’t provide any real help to the government. “Nonetheless, because the Court concludes based on its analysis of Hyde that warrantless and suspicionless searches at the internal customs border are reasonable for Fourth Amendment purposes only if those searches are federally authorized-and because the searches in the instant cases were not so authorized-the Court has determined that the searches here were unreasonable under the Fourth Amendment.” Nevertheless, this has been going on for a long time, and the good faith exception applies. United States v. Barconey, 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 3329 (D. V.I. Jan. 8, 2019).

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