Rental Privacy Case Heads to Supreme Court

The U.S. Supreme Court Justices. Photo via WikiMedia
The U.S. Supreme Court Justices. Photo via WikiMedia
The Supreme Court has agreed to hear the case of Byrd v. United States. The case from Pennsylvania will determine whether rental car drivers who are not listed on the rental agreement have the right to a reasonable expectation of privacy in the vehicle.

The case will be heard on Tuesday, Jan. 9.

Terrence Byrd, the petitioner in the case, drove a car rented by his girlfriend. Byrd's girlfriend had authorization from the rental agreement and gave Byrd permission to drive the vehicle. While driving, police officers pulled Byrd over for a traffic violation and, because Byrd's name was not on the agreement, searched his car, where they found heroin and a bulletproof vest.

Police officers are not allow to conduct searches without warrant or suspicion on cars operated by drivers with a reasonable expectation of privacy. An appeals court found that Byrd did not have the right to a reasonable expectation of privacy because his name was not on the rental agreement. Byrd appealed the ruling.

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