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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 115003 Find in a Library
Title: Third-Party Consent Searches: Legal vs. Social Perceptions of 'Common Authority'
Journal: Journal of Applied Social Psychology  Volume:18  Issue:15  Dated:(December 1988, Part 1)  Pages:1275-1287
Author(s): D K Kagehiro; R B Taylor
Date Published: 1988
Page Count: 13
Type: Issue Overview
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This study investigated the degree of correspondence between legal concepts underlying third-party consent searches (a co-resident permits a police search of shared living space and belongings) and laypersons' sociocultural expectations.
Abstract: In accord with legal concepts, the study hypothesized that laypersons would be able to distinguish between authority over exclusive-use vs. common-use areas and personal effects in exclusive-use vs. common-use areas. The study also hypothesized that the interpretation of 'common authority' would be influenced by the presence vs. absence of the co-resident and that the type of intruder (social, commercial, civil authority, or criminal justice authority) would influence responses to requests for entry. These hypotheses were tested using a fully between-subjects factorial design (N=160). Results support the first three hypotheses. Subjects understood the concept of a warrantless search and distinguished between 'exclusive-use' areas and 'common-authority' areas at the level of rooms within the shared residence. Subjects' interpretation of 'common authority' for third-party consent purposes was influenced by the physical presence of the co-resident. If the co-resident was absent, 'common authority' was interpreted as independent-consent power. There was no consensual interpretation of 'common authority' when the co-resident was present and protected the proposed search. Results suggest situational dependence of lay understandings of 'common authority' over jointly used areas. 1 table, 47 references. (Author abstract modified)
Main Term(s): Search and seizure laws
Index Term(s): Public Attitudes/Opinion; Warrantless search
Note: Portions of this research were presented at the meeting of the American Society of Criminology, Atlanta, October 1986.
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