Court Rules Against Random Stop and Searches

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    A preliminary ruling last week by the Constitutional Chamber of Costa Rica’s Supreme Court (Sala IV) that police cannot stop and search citizens without “a solid indication that the person has committed a crime” has caused strong opposition.

    Public Security Ministry and President Laura Chinchilla, voiced their concerns and disagreement with the decision, saying that the public searches have led to the confiscation of drugs, weapons and counterfeit money and have helped capture fugitives.

    The Sala IV ruled that this “stop and search” method of investigation violates article 37 of Costa Rica ‘s Constitution, which states that “no one may be detained without solid indication that he or she has committed a crime and without a written order issued by a judge or an authority in charge of public order, except in the case of fugitives or delinquents caught in the act.”

    Chinchilla and Tijerino formally requested that the Sala IV revise its decision.

    The Costa Rica News asked for your opinions. Here are some of your comments.

    “It’s about time” John Sacks, expat.

    “Why do they search us gingo’s, when there are drug dealers, working their business on 10 meters away?” Kevin Colins, vacationer.

    ”They should be able to search someone that may not have committed a crime, especially if there are indicators, or red flags in the persons appearance, actions or demeanor.” Barb Ruthers ,expat.

    TCRN Staff

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