The high court’s opinion, released Tuesday, is being called a drastic change in citizens’ rights and police powers.
Previously, citizens could refuse an officer’s request to search a vehicle. In most cases, the officer would then need a warrant — signed by a judge — to conduct the search.
That’s no longer the case, according to the opinion written by Supreme Court Justice Seamus McCaffery.
The ruling, passed on a 4-2 vote, was made in regard to an appeal from a 2010 vehicle stop in Philadelphia.
Local police and legal professionals are calling the opinion “big news.”
“This is a significant change in long-standing Pennsylvania criminal law, and it is a good one,” Lancaster County District Attorney Craig Stedman said Wednesday afternoon.