In the case of Commonwealth vs. Grahame, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that the police did not have a reasonable suspicion to conduct a protective search of the handbag. The woman’s proximity to others engaged in criminal activity was insufficient in itself to justify the search of the purse. The Commonwealth was unable to state any facts to support an objectively reasonable belief that the owner of the purse was armed and dangerous.

Specifically, the Court ruled that the police cannot use a guns-follow-drugs presumption to uphold a protective search conducted during a drug investigation.Rather, there has to be something more than the assumption that, since the drug dealer was inside with the drugs, there likely were guns in the house and probably within that purse.

Therefore, if you answered that the drugs found in the handbag were suppressed, you are correct!!

This case highlights the balancing the Courts must employ in these situations. The safety of the police must always be paramount in any situation of this type. However, that factor must also be balanced by the 4th Amendment guarantee that all citizens enjoy.

Part of that guarantee is the right to be free from an unreasonable search and seizure of items and personal effects without a warrant.

It is really decisions like these that keep you and I free from unreasonable searches and seizures.

OK, that’s my take on this case. What do you think?