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Federal Law Enforcement Training Center

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1 Federal Law Enforcement Training Center
AIRPORT SEARCHES Bryan R. Lemons Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (912)

2 United States v. Albarado 495 F.2d 799 (2d. Cir. 1974)
“Depriving a hijacker of his weapon is critical, because by means of a weapon like a pistol or even a knife the hijacker may literally turn the plane itself into a weapon, threatening not only those within it, but those on the ground as well. In short, the plane may become a weapon of mass destruction that no ordinary person would have any way of obtaining except through a hijacking.”

Administrative Searches Terry Searches - Terry “frisks” Consent Searches

Requirements. The search must be … - In furtherance of an administrative purpose (to deter potential hijackers) … - And not to discover contraband or evidence unrelated to that purpose. “Screening searches of airline passengers are conducted as part of a general regulatory scheme in furtherance of an administrative purpose ….” United States v. Davis, 482 F.2d 893 (9th Cir. 1973)

5 TERRY SEARCHES Requirements: Reasonable suspicion suspect is presently armed and dangerous. “Tragic experience has taught us more than once that such deterrence must begin before the hijacker is about to step onto the plane.” United States v. Moreno, 475 F.2d 44 (5th Cir. 1973)

6 TERRY SEARCHES Boarding Gate: Search is allowed on mere or unsupported suspicion. General Airport Area: Reasonable suspicion is required. “We note a sharp distinction between a search conducted at an airport boarding gate and the search of certain persons in the general airport area.” United States v. Wehrli, 637 F.2d 408 (5th Cir. 1981).

7 CONSENT SEARCHES Requirements. Consent must be … - Voluntary
- Actual or Apparent Authority “It is well-settled that one of the specifically established exceptions to the requirements of both a warrant and probable cause is a search that is conducted pursuant to consent.” Schneckloth v. Bustamonte, 412 U.S. 218 (1973)

8 CONSENT SEARCHES Generally: Passenger must be given the opportunity to avoid the search by refusing to fly. However … once bags are submitted for examination, the right to refuse consent ends. “To avoid a search, a passenger must elect not to fly before placing his bag on the x-ray belt.” Torbet v. United Airlines, 298 F.3d 1087 (9th Cir. 2002)

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