Prof. Alafair Burke Quoted in LA Times Report on Seeming Bias in Domestic Highway Enforcement

Alafair S. Burke, Professor of Law and Hofstra Research Fellow

L.A. County Deputies Stopped Thousands of Innocent Latinos on the 5 Freeway in Hopes of Their Next Drug Bust
By Joel Rubin and Ben Poston
Los Angeles Times
Oct. 4, 2018

The Times reviewed data from nearly 4,500 searches conducted by the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department’s highway team and found that about 75% were based on consent from drivers or passengers.

A Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman said the agency was “confident that the DHE team appropriately uses consent searches as a recognized investigative tool, in compliance with all applicable legal standards.”

Some legal scholars have raised concerns about police routinely seeking permission to search.

Consent searches “are based on this fiction that people who say yes … are gleefully saying, ‘Yes, officer, I am happy to help,’ and that anyone who doesn’t want to be searched will simply say no,” said Hofstra University law professor Alafair S. Burke. “But, in reality, the average person hears an officer’s request as a command.”

Times staff writers Ryan Menezes and Ruben Vives contributed to this report.

Read the full report on the Los Angeles Times website.