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Consent – Authority: Driver, for Passenger

State v. Jordan A. Denk2008 WI 130, on certification
For Denk: Lora B. Cerone, SPD, Madison Appellate

Issue/Holding: ¶20 n. 4:

… While Pickering could consent to a search of the vehicle, he could not consent to a search of his passenger. See State v. Matejka, 2001 WI 5, 241 Wis.  2d 52, 621 N.W.2d 891 (driver’s consent to search of a car extended to passenger items in the car, but not to passengers). Further, the record does not support a finding that Denk consented to the search. Merely placing a container in view of an officer does not constitute consent to search it.

Matejka confers authority on a driver to consent to search of a passenger’s property in the car (notwithstanding acknowledged significant split of authority, ¶18 n. 3); the passage quoted immediately above makes clear that this authority doesn’t extend to search of a passenger’s person – a point that is probably self-evident anyway.


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