A very good question, Wienerdogtroy, and it certainly calls into question, in an honest and intelligent fashion, my just prior post on this thread. (I am assuming that when you use "license" in your question you are referring to a "driver's license.)Wienerdogtroy wrote:Technically all vehicle operators May or May Not have a valid license. Pulling everyone over is just trying to verify that. Is that ok too?smoothoperator wrote:The system says it needs to be manually verified and that's what they're trying to do.
The protection given by the 4th Amendment is a moving target. More than 200 years have elapsed since its enactment, and our courts, state and federal, at all levels, still struggle with what it means, as is the case with the 2nd Amendment (which, BTW, appears to many to be very clear), and so many others.
The 4th, depending on the circumstances, requires the authorities intending a search and/or seizure to have a range of justifications -- a range going from probable cause (when a warrant is sought), through a reasonable "suspicion," all the way down to the rub -- the search and/or seizure must just be "reasonable."
One's dictionary is not going to help him define, in the multitude of different cases which arise, the meaning of the word "reasonable." The best definition of the word I have seen paraphrases a Supreme Court justice's definition of the word pornographic -- "I can't define the word 'reasonable' for you, but I will know whether or not the search and/or seizure was reasonable when I know all the circumstances."
Helpful definition, isn't it? Subjective to an extreme. The one who has been searched, or the one who did the search, may sincerely and honestly disagree with the Supreme Court if the case gets that far, but so be it.
An uneasy situation for us and LEO's to face, when such a critical right is involved? Yes, of course, but that is the best we, LEOs and judges, all being human beings with all their failings, can do.
So, I will suggest a very bad answer to your very good question, Wienerdogtroy, "Was the search, under the circumstances then at hand, reasonable?"
My opinion, without having that perhaps one additional teeny little missing fact added, is "No."
This is the point where on many forums one gets a response beginning, "But what if...."
I must apologize, if in order, for writing what might appear to be a thesis in an honest effort to answer a simple question. On the other hand, in a law library you can find volumes and volumes of books which have attempted to answer your question.
With real respect, while short and to the point, your question may not be as simple as it appears.