Apr 23, 2007 When state constitutions grant more rights than the federal constitution
Numerous state supreme courts provide broader civil liberties protections than does the United States Constitution. A case in point is last month’s phenomenal Vermont Supreme Court ruling generally requiring a warrant to search a car subsequent to a lawful arrest of the driver, absent exigent circumstances. Vermont v. Bauder, 2007 VT 16 (March 16, 2007).
Relying on Article 11 of Vermont’s Constitution — which it says provides broader rights than the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution — the Vermont Supreme Court declined to follow the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in New York v. Belton, 453 U.S. 454 (1981), which holds that "when a policeman has made a lawful custodial arrest of the occupant of an automobile, n2 he may, as a contemporaneous incident of that arrest, search the passenger compartment of that automobile." New York v. Belton, 453 U.S. at 460.