Game wardens' and the fourth ammendment [Archive] - Glock Talk

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elsolo
10-21-2012, 15:02
I just returned from a pheasant hunting trip and the question of the search rights of game wardens was the topic of discussion during the drive back to Fargo.

The family members I was hunting with contend that a game warden can legally search your home, without a warrant or probable cause, to check for poached or illegally pocessed game.

I have a hard time believing that game wardens are not bound by the fourth ammendment.

They gave some example of a local Minnesota man that had his home freezer searched because a neighbor phoned in a tip that he was a poacher. I told them he must have consented to the search, that a game warden can't just demand access to your freezer to take a look for illegal items.

I spent the last hour searching the internet without finding substantial answers either way. I did find reference to "reasonable suspicion" compared to probable cause, implied consent to search by buying a hunting license, but not any hard rules.

So what does the GT brain trust think about this issue, can a game warden search in your home without PC or a warrant, are they somehow above the rules that other LEO's must abide by?

Bruce M
10-21-2012, 15:07
Were I to guess the warden probably had a substantial level of cause before he entered the home and searched the freezer. Out of curiosity what were the results of the search?

Deanster
10-21-2012, 15:08
Through the simple expedient of typing 'game warden 4th Amendment' into google, you'll find a giant pile of relevant info.

The one that jumped out at me was a Supreme Court item from March of this year in which they declined to review the California supreme court upholding the right of Game Wardens in California to conduct warrantless vehicle searches. On target enough for you?

http://ivn.us/2012/03/06/supreme-court-no-warrant-needed-for-ca-game-wardens-to-stop-cars/

AngryPanda
10-21-2012, 15:08
In a word, no.

hammerkill
10-21-2012, 15:18
A game warden is bound by the same rules as a cop. He can enter your home with a warrant signed by a judge or with out a warrant when there is exigent circumstances.

1. he can enter your home w/o a warrant if he is persuing you.

2. If he has reasonable suspicion that you are destroying evidence. (He has to have a good reason to be there)

3. He has reason to belive an emergency exists such as screaming or gunfire or house fire.


also there is a legal concept of curtilage where you have a reasonable expectation of privacy such as behind your house. He cannot just wander on your property fishing for something.

In summary he has no more or no less powers that any other cop has. His jurisdiction is usually the whole state.

NorthCarolinaLiberty
10-21-2012, 15:22
The family members I was hunting with contend that a game warden can legally search your home, without a warrant or probable cause, to check for poached or illegally pocessed game.


This example alone shows how twisted mindsets have become, and how some people are just willing to roll over and die.

uptomyneck
10-21-2012, 15:59
I was wondering if most game wardens act like those buffoons on the NatGeo program "Wild Justice". Those guys make the Three Stooges look competent.

Fortunatly, I haven't had to deal with any.

certifiedfunds
10-21-2012, 16:03
In LA they can stop my boat without cause to check.

They can come on private land to check.

NeverMore1701
10-21-2012, 16:10
Only time I've ever seen a game warden is the one who camps out at the processor during deer season.

mgs
10-21-2012, 16:10
In PA they have more power than the State Police and are despised for it. They can search a vehicle or home if they suspect game has been taken illegally or out of season. We have lost close to 250,000 hunters in the field who are tired of seeing no game. We use to put a million Big Game Hunters in the woods the first day of Deer Season. The Game Commission is only paid by revenues from hunting so they are getting poor and fewer year by year.....same for Fish Commission....the most despised by all and less people fishing every year too!

Bruce M
10-21-2012, 16:22
.....same for Fish Commission....the most despised by all and less people fishing every year too!
Most despised by all or by those who violate the fish and game laws?

Averageman
10-21-2012, 16:35
Funny Story, we pulled up to the boat ramp one night about 3AM and every light in the world came on.
As we were without a trailer and using a small John Boat we were both waist deep in the water.
Aparently someone was bow hunting (poaching) from a boat on to shore.
I can honestly say I was glad my pants were already wet.

Bruce H
10-21-2012, 16:59
Anybody who dares to hunt and take one of th kings animals has to be ready to pay the price.

noway
10-21-2012, 17:01
They are bound by the same laws and rules as any other LEO. One thing to in the example of a tip called into a GameWarden, a tip alone is not enough to sustain a warrantless check of a fridge.

As far he/she would know the , tipster could just not like you as a hunter. The LEO would still need some PC like;

blood hair
statement
deer parts or alligator parts in your truck on your yard
eye ball witness that you did a crime by a Law Officer
etc....


Even on state ground, the Warden does NOT have any more right to search you unless he suspect a crime has been committed and has PC.


Outside of the above, I would tell him politely to go pound sand and come back with a warrant :rofl:

Bren
10-21-2012, 17:48
I just returned from a pheasant hunting trip and the question of the search rights of game wardens was the topic of discussion during the drive back to Fargo.

The family members I was hunting with contend that a game warden can legally search your home, without a warrant or probable cause, to check for poached or illegally pocessed game.

I have a hard time believing that game wardens are not bound by the fourth ammendment.

They gave some example of a local Minnesota man that had his home freezer searched because a neighbor phoned in a tip that he was a poacher. I told them he must have consented to the search, that a game warden can't just demand access to your freezer to take a look for illegal items.

I spent the last hour searching the internet without finding substantial answers either way. I did find reference to "reasonable suspicion" compared to probable cause, implied consent to search by buying a hunting license, but not any hard rules.

So what does the GT brain trust think about this issue, can a game warden search in your home without PC or a warrant, are they somehow above the rules that other LEO's must abide by?

It's BS. I'd call it a "myth" but that would imply that more people than your buddy believe it.

The 4th amendment applies to game wardens the same as any other agent of the government.

DaneA
10-21-2012, 17:56
2. If he has reasonable suspicion that you are destroying evidence. (He has to have a good reason to be there)


Quick destroy the evidence: :eat::eat:
http://www.goodwebsite.us.com/images/revamp/recipes/venison-low-res.jpg

Chuck TX
10-21-2012, 18:03
A lot of what people think Game Wardens can do is myth. That's not to say they don't use those myths to their advantage from time to time.

RonS
10-21-2012, 18:27
http://texasfishingforum.com/forums/ubbthreads.php/topics/5685333/1

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Game_warden

Seems that there are some state laws that need to be challenged. Oh, wait, the SCOTUS already declined to do that.

I was always under the impression that their powers above and beyond common LEO authorities and limitations came from that little paper you sign to get your license, but it appears to be another myth.

Ohio Copper
10-21-2012, 18:30
Asking GNG for advice on this matter was your first mistake..


Feel free to contact your local game wardens office, I call our park officers here all of the time, very knowledgable folks.


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Mostly 9
10-21-2012, 18:35
Anybody who dares to hunt and take one of th kings animals has to be ready to pay the price.

Right you are! Robin Hood would never have been able to defeat the Game Warden of Nottingham!

Dennis in MA
10-21-2012, 19:06
Quick destroy the evidence: :eat::eat:
http://www.goodwebsite.us.com/images/revamp/recipes/venison-low-res.jpg

Lol

That was my first thought, too.

toshbar
10-21-2012, 19:11
So how about when they check the plug on a shotgun? Unless they have heard you fire 4 shots in a row or see you load 3 shells in the tube, isn't that an unreasonable search?

Bruce M
10-21-2012, 19:39
In as much the check for the plug in the shotgun takes what, maybe twelve seconds, my guess is that a court would probably feel it is not unreasonable.

Bren
10-21-2012, 19:46
http://texasfishingforum.com/forums/ubbthreads.php/topics/5685333/1

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Game_warden

Seems that there are some state laws that need to be challenged. Oh, wait, the SCOTUS already declined to do that.

I was always under the impression that their powers above and beyond common LEO authorities and limitations came from that little paper you sign to get your license, but it appears to be another myth.

What a state statute says about their powers makes no difference and they already know that.

Bren
10-21-2012, 19:49
So how about when they check the plug on a shotgun? Unless they have heard you fire 4 shots in a row or see you load 3 shells in the tube, isn't that an unreasonable search?

Probably not. My wild guess is that it's a regulatory search related to the licensed sctivity you are participating in. They can do that without a warrant or suspicion, but when it starts getting into the stuff about searching homes where game may be kept, it's BS (no matter what a statute says).

tantrix
10-21-2012, 19:55
The family members I was hunting with contend that a game warden can legally search your home, without a warrant or probable cause, to check for poached or illegally pocessed game.

It varies by state, but here in LA they can go any damn where they please...including your home, if they suspect illegally possessed game. They do not need a warrant.

But, LA is called the 'Sportsman's Paradise' too...there's hunting and fishing of some sort going on here 24/7/365. Game wardens stay pretty busy.



In LA they can stop my boat without cause to check.

They can come on private land to check.

Exactly right.

GRIMLET
10-21-2012, 20:14
As a former game warden and currently a different type of conservation officer, may I jump in?
Entering a home requires pc and exigent circumstances without a warrant. Buying a license in my state gives acquiescence for searches to vessels and vehicles. What if its a nice day of boating and no gear for harvesting fish or game is on the vessel? One can still be stopped and their boat and safety equipment inspected.
If the conservation officer seems very stern on contact, remember, most everyone we deal with has a knife out and near them, many others have firearms in their hands. Its nothing personal.

Rooster Rugburn
10-21-2012, 20:31
Isn't the typical GT cop blower answer "if you aren't breaking the law, you have nothing to hide or worry about."?

As for game wardens, IMO, there aren't enough of them. But I do have issues with the whole idea of them confiscating property for violations. I've never had my truck or boat confiscated, but I've HEARD they can take them if you are in violation. Game laws, like the game, are sacred to me. I go out of my way to be within the law.

I hunt private land and could get away with not buying a license. But I spend over $500 a year to buy the appropriate licenses because I want to support the program. I know and understand where that money goes.

IMO, "Pittman-Roberson" was one of very few good laws passed by the US Congress in our entire history.

geofri
10-21-2012, 20:35
Most despised by all or by those who violate the fish and game laws?


All. 5char

elsolo
10-21-2012, 23:16
It varies by state, but here in LA they can go any damn where they please...including your home, if they suspect illegally possessed game. They do not need a warrant.

So what constitutes suspicion?
Some random phoned-in tip?
They can just demand entry to your home and search your freezer for whatever reason under the guise of "suspected poaching"

elsolo
10-21-2012, 23:25
As a former game warden and currently a different type of conservation officer, may I jump in?
Entering a home requires pc and exigent circumstances without a warrant. Buying a license in my state gives acquiescence for searches to vessels and vehicles. What if its a nice day of boating and no gear for harvesting fish or game is on the vessel? One can still be stopped and their boat and safety equipment inspected.
If the conservation officer seems very stern on contact, remember, most everyone we deal with has a knife out and near them, many others have firearms in their hands. Its nothing personal.

Thanks for your input.
That is about what I expect the case to be, but apparently there are some state-by-state differences.

I assume that licensing a boat gives consent to check the boat, much like driving a car on a public road gives consent to check the driver for DUI.
Buying a hunting license and signing it is an agreement and consent to search you in the field as well, but an out of the blue search of one's home seems unreasonable unless they are doing a post-arrest investigation for more evidence.
But I am just guessing and trying to use common sense, which doesn't always work.

tantrix
10-22-2012, 00:16
So what constitutes suspicion?
Some random phoned-in tip?
They can just demand entry to your home and search your freezer for whatever reason under the guise of "suspected poaching"

Yes, a phoned-in tip might result in such a search...but it usually happens after surveillance and enough evidence has been collected to pretty much verify you are illegally taking game.

frizz
10-22-2012, 03:15
They gave some example of a local Minnesota man that had his home freezer searched because a neighbor phoned in a tip that he was a poacher. I told them he must have consented to the search, that a game warden can't just demand access to your freezer to take a look for illegal items.

The burden of proof is on them. Plus extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

Saying that a particular kind of LEO has search powers greater than the 4th Amendment allows is an extraordinary claim.

frizz
10-22-2012, 03:17
http://texasfishingforum.com/forums/ubbthreads.php/topics/5685333/1

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Game_warden

Seems that there are some state laws that need to be challenged. Oh, wait, the SCOTUS already declined to do that.

Declining to review a case is not tacit approval of the decision being challenged. That may be the de facto result, but as a matter of law, that leaves an open question.

GRIMLET
10-22-2012, 06:42
The burden of proof is on them. Plus extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

Saying that a particular kind of LEO has search powers greater than the 4th Amendment allows is an extraordinary claim.

No sir. Not at all. If you have gear capable of taking wildlife on a boat, you and your boat are subject to inspection, i.e. search.
If you are walking in the woods hunting and you have a game vest containing your dead squirrels, you are subject to search.
In neither instance have you been deemed to be an outlaw nor has there been any reasonable suspicion to think you have violated a fish or game law. Only that you have harvested wildlife or had the opportunity to do so has now put you in a conservation officers inspection/search. So in a way, yes, your 4th doesn't count in this instance.
228522

frizz
10-22-2012, 07:55
No sir. Not at all. If you have gear capable of taking wildlife on a boat, you and your boat are subject to inspection, i.e. search.
If you are walking in the woods hunting and you have a game vest containing your dead squirrels, you are subject to search.
In neither instance have you been deemed to be an outlaw nor has there been any reasonable suspicion to think you have violated a fish or game law. Only that you have harvested wildlife or had the opportunity to do so has now put you in a conservation officers inspection/search. So in a way, yes, your 4th doesn't count in this instance.
228522

You may be right. But you are going to have to back that up. Can you cite to a case with this holding?

GRIMLET
10-22-2012, 09:04
You may be right. But you are going to have to back that up. Can you cite to a case with this holding?

No case law that I know of. I have state statute, Ms title and USCG colregs concerning boating/fishing laws. If you would like to challenge it, i would really like to see the outcome. As a Libertarian leaning citizen, I would like to see the outcome.

mgs
10-22-2012, 09:14
Most despised by all or by those who violate the fish and game laws?

They are looking to generate revenue because there are few fish and lots of boaters. I refuse to fish or buy a licence but I captain a boat. I could care less about eating wild game but that's just me. A boating friend of mine just beat them in court with their own laws....they were clueless of the real law.

mgs
10-22-2012, 09:18
In as much the check for the plug in the shotgun takes what, maybe twelve seconds, my guess is that a court would probably feel it is not unreasonable.

And they just interupted your legal hunt. Plenty of sour apples due to over-reach.

GRIMLET
10-22-2012, 10:13
They are looking to generate revenue because there are few fish and lots of boaters. I refuse to fish or buy a licence but I captain a boat. I could care less about eating wild game but that's just me. A boating friend of mine just beat them in court with their own laws....they were clueless of the real law.

Wow!!! You are the MAN!!! Not just a man but a Captain. May I presume. USCG licensed Captain or just some guy behind the wheel? Because you know how important following regs are to a USCG licensed Captain.


A friend of MINE just wrote a ticket 2 weeks ago. Because, you know , its all about revenue. I havent written one in about 6 weeks. But im looking. You know, for revenue. Maybe i will get a raise. Hmmm maybe a promotion!!
Or maybe, just maybe , you dont have a clue.
Safe boating!

Chesafreak
10-22-2012, 10:17
Through the simple expedient of typing 'game warden 4th Amendment' into google, you'll find a giant pile of relevant info.

The one that jumped out at me was a Supreme Court item from March of this year in which they declined to review the California supreme court upholding the right of Game Wardens in California to conduct warrantless vehicle searches. On target enough for you?

http://ivn.us/2012/03/06/supreme-court-no-warrant-needed-for-ca-game-wardens-to-stop-cars/

One thing I noticed in the article you referenced was that the game warden saw the man reel in what looked like a lobster and lobsters were out of season. I'm no LEO, but that seems to me like it may be justification for the stop.

tantrix
10-22-2012, 10:19
And they just interupted your legal hunt. Plenty of sour apples due to over-reach.

And it doesn't matter if they uninterrupted your legal hunt or not, game wardens are there to make sure everyone is following the rules when it comes to harvesting game. Checking for a plug in your shotgun is doing exactly that.

noway
10-22-2012, 11:28
No sir. Not at all. If you have gear capable of taking wildlife on a boat, you and your boat are subject to inspection, i.e. search.
If you are walking in the woods hunting and you have a game vest containing your dead squirrels, you are subject to search.
In neither instance have you been deemed to be an outlaw nor has there been any reasonable suspicion to think you have violated a fish or game law. Only that you have harvested wildlife or had the opportunity to do so has now put you in a conservation officers inspection/search. So in a way, yes, your 4th doesn't count in this instance.
228522


Not correct by any means. If I had car that means I have the means to drive it. Does that give a LEO the right to search my car because it has the means?

On the game and inspection of game, that's a resource check,so I give you credit in that area. They could count the bag , validate your license, and even check your ammo to ensure your in compliance of the law. But that's about the extent of their search or inspection.

DanaT
10-22-2012, 11:30
Isn't the typical GT cop blower


:rofl::rofl::rofl::rofl:

Anyone come to mind?

mgs
10-22-2012, 11:35
Wow!!! You are the MAN!!! Not just a man but a Captain. May I presume. USCG licensed Captain or just some guy behind the wheel? Because you know how important following regs are to a USCG licensed Captain.


A friend of MINE just wrote a ticket 2 weeks ago. Because, you know , its all about revenue. I havent written one in about 6 weeks. But im looking. You know, for revenue. Maybe i will get a raise. Hmmm maybe a promotion!!
Or maybe, just maybe , you dont have a clue.
Safe boating!

I'm glad you are honest and not looking to stick it to recreational boaters like I see here. I'm glad you don't act like the Duputies around here! I'm glad you know the law. Respect is earned, not demanded by a badge.

mgs
10-22-2012, 11:38
And it doesn't matter if they uninterrupted your legal hunt or not, game wardens are there to make sure everyone is following the rules when it comes to harvesting game. Checking for a plug in your shotgun is doing exactly that.

That's why I choose not to hunt anymore with 250,000 other hunters in PA. Our choice and their unemployment.

tantrix
10-22-2012, 12:00
That's why I choose not to hunt anymore with 250,000 other hunters in PA. Our choice and their unemployment.

That doesn't mean that every single GW that passes you is going to check. But, that also doesn't mean that you aren't subject to showing one your shotgun is in compliance during your hunt. I've been duck hunting at least a hundred times, and only been checked for my plug maybe 5. Besides, how do you suggest they verify you are in compliance if they don't check?

GRIMLET
10-22-2012, 12:32
Not correct by any means. If I had car that means I have the means to drive it. Does that give a LEO the right to search my car because it has the means?

On the game and inspection of game, that's a resource check,so I give you credit in that area. They could count the bag , validate your license, and even check your ammo to ensure your in compliance of the law. But that's about the extent of their search or inspection.

In reference to a vehicle used in the transport of seafood, in my state a license to engage in any activity related to that grants acquiescence. In recreational activity, it is as little as a scale, ablood smear or the odor of an aquatic species on the deck lid which will allow a lawful search.
In an area where game is taken, wardens do set up road blocks and inspect/search vehicles.

Relax a little. If this bothers you, you should read up on the Patriot Act.
Our civil liberties concerning privacy are just about all gone.

GRIMLET
10-22-2012, 12:39
I'm glad you are honest and not looking to stick it to recreational boaters like I see here. I'm glad you don't act like the Duputies around here! I'm glad you know the law. Respect is earned, not demanded by a badge.

Sorry if I came across like THAT GUY. It really isn't about numbers or revenue at my dept.
My bosses are kind of old school, no bs.
Polite and professional, nothing more expected, nothing less required.
And respect is given if expected.

frizz
10-22-2012, 13:09
Wow!!! You are the MAN!!! Not just a man but a Captain. May I presume. USCG licensed Captain or just some guy behind the wheel? Because you know how important following regs are to a USCG licensed Captain.


A friend of MINE just wrote a ticket 2 weeks ago. Because, you know , its all about revenue. I havent written one in about 6 weeks. But im looking. You know, for revenue. Maybe i will get a raise. Hmmm maybe a promotion!!
Or maybe, just maybe , you dont have a clue.
Safe boating!

Could you consider that your personal motivation is different from the motivation of the legislature?

Most cops seem to want to enforce the law, and see the value in discouraging unsafe behavior on the water or on the road; I do. In their view the fines are a means to an end; that makes sense to me.

The legislature wants more money. It seems that they are more interested in the fines and court costs than they are in anything else.

What is the motivation for the traffic signal camera companies? And the city officials who contract with them? A nearby city had cameras installed a few years ago, and the comments by city officials were disgusting. Everything was about the revenue, and the safety aspect was barely mentioned.

I wanted to vomit.

They were more excited at the prospect of collecting $50 from someone who runs a light than they were discouraging that person from running lights again. For them, people running red-lights was a means to an end: money.

oldman11
10-22-2012, 13:09
Anybody who dares to hunt and take one of th kings animals has to be ready to pay the price.
It sure is starting to look that way, isn't it.

GRIMLET
10-22-2012, 13:28
Could you consider that your personal motivation is different from the motivation of the legislature?

Most cops seem to want to enforce the law, and see the value in discouraging unsafe behavior on the water or on the road; I do. In their view the fines are a means to an end; that makes sense to me.

The legislature wants more money. It seems that they are more interested in the fines and court costs than they are in anything else.

What is the motivation for the traffic signal camera companies? And the city officials who contract with them? A nearby city had cameras installed a few years ago, and the comments by city officials were disgusting. Everything was about the revenue, and the safety aspect was barely mentioned.

I wanted to vomit.

They were more excited at the prospect of collecting $50 from someone who runs a light than they were discouraging that person from running lights again. For them, people running red-lights was a means to an end: money.

We have revenue from wetllands grants, BP and NOAA. The legislature really doesnt want us out there thugging. We can enforce the law through warnings or other means such as recommending safety courses in lieu of fines. However, when we have a problematic offender, the fines may be in the thousands and he may lose his license and therefore lose his way to feed his family. It has the potential of going bad quickly.
Our executive director and chief are about intent of the law. It may sound shocking but thats the way it is. As it should be. Intent

frizz
10-22-2012, 13:51
We have revenue from wetllands grants, BP and NOAA. The legislature really doesnt want us out there thugging. We can enforce the law through warnings or other means such as recommending safety courses in lieu of fines. However, when we have a problematic offender, the fines may be in the thousands and he may lose his license and therefore lose his way to feed his family. It has the potential of going bad quickly.
Our executive director and chief are about intent of the law. It may sound shocking but thats the way it is. As it should be. Intent

I should add that the general does not mean each specific. And I have to note that a game warden is somewhat different from a traffic cop.

BTW, I have not finished reading and digesting the court decision. Here it is, if anyone wants it:
People v. Maikhio

51 Cal. 4th 1074, 253 P.3d 247, 126 Cal. Rptr. 3d 74

http://scocal.stanford.edu/opinion/people-v-maikhio-33980

JW1178
10-22-2012, 14:19
Well, from a defensive legal standpoint, if any officer of the law searches you without a warrent or consent, whatever he found pretty much doesn't exist.

Not too long ago I remember a case where a driver of a car was arrested and before towing his car, they searched it and found the trunk packed with cocain. Because they had no warrant or permission, the guy walked out of the courtroom.

frizz
10-22-2012, 14:21
Well, from a defensive legal standpoint, if any officer of the law searches you without a warrent or consent, whatever he found pretty much doesn't exist.

Not too long ago I remember a case where a driver of a car was arrested and before towing his car, they searched it and found the trunk packed with cocain. Because they had no warrant or permission, the guy walked out of the courtroom.

Read the case above your post...

The law is a ass.

Ohio Copper
10-22-2012, 14:24
Well, from a defensive legal standpoint, if any officer of the law searches you without a warrent or consent, whatever he found pretty much doesn't exist.

Not too long ago I remember a case where a driver of a car was arrested and before towing his car, they searched it and found the trunk packed with cocain. Because they had no warrant or permission, the guy walked out of the courtroom.

Care to cite that case, please?


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