Massachusetts court ruling: Consent to search car doesn’t include under hood

Holyoke man consented to search of car, police found guns under hood

HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – A routine traffic stop three years ago in Holyoke ended up at the state’s highest court.

On January 2015, Anthony Ortiz was pulled over in Holyoke for his music being too loud.When an officer asked Ortiz if he had any drugs in the car, Ortiz allegedly said no “No, you can check.”

Police searched the cabin and then opened the car’s hood. An officer removed the cap on the air filter and found two guns inside.

The state supreme court ruled the search was illegal and the guns should be tossed out of evidence. Justices ruled that consenting to a search doesn’t apply to under the hood of a vehicle.

ACLU layer Bill Newman told 22News the court made the right decision.

“The police come up to you and say, can I search your car, you are allowed to say no,” Newman said. “Unless the police have probable cause, which they didn’t have here. Or the police have a basis for the search, which they didn’t have here. Or they have a warrant, which they didn’t have here, the police have to leave.”

The report states police also brought in a drug sniffing dog who did not alert police to any drug or illegal substances, which may have given them the probable cause they needed.

The ruling was a split 4-3 vote of the justices.