CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Miller on Third-Party Consent Searches

Jason C. Miller has posted When is a Parent’s Authority Apparent? Reconsidering Third Party Consent Searches of an Adult Child’s Private Bedroom and Property (Criminal Justice, Vol. 24, pp. 34-37, Winter 2010) on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

The question of a parent’s authority to consent to the search of the room or property of a minor child is not difficult. But whether a parent’s consent is enough to satisfy the Fourth Amendment in the search of an adult child’s private bedroom, and the property in that room, is a more difficult question. Some courts have applied a presumption of control to parent-child relationships regardless of the age or situation, while others have recognized that such a presumption is not appropriate in all circumstances.

Because there are different kinds of parent-child relationships and different relationships between parents and their adult child’s private bedroom and closed containers within the parent’s home, this paper argues that courts should not apply a presumption of control between parents and their adult children and require police to develop at least some understanding of the situation before accepting a parent's consent to search an adult child's private room and property.

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