skip navigation


Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.


NCJ Number: 162945 Find in a Library
Title: Not Just Any Sightseeing Tour: Surreptitious Taping in a Patrol Car
Journal: Criminal Law Bulletin  Volume:32  Issue:2  Dated:(March-April 1996)  Pages:123-133
Author(s): C M Bast; J B Sanborn Jr
Date Published: 1996
Page Count: 11
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: The surreptitious tape recording of a conversation made in the back seat of a police car is a questionable practice, because it violates the individual's expectation of privacy.
Abstract: After stopping someone on the highway, a police officer often finds the need to investigate further or search a vehicle. The officer may suggest or insist that the person sit in the back seat of the patrol car for the individual's safety or convenience or for eventual transportation to the police car. The naive arrestee and the unsuspecting private citizen seeking shelter or simply a place of refuge may believe that the back seat of a closed police car is private. However, Federal and State courts have considered the back seat of a police car to be like a public forum. Although for the arrestee no general expectation of privacy exists, especially while in police custody, it is reasonable to question why the government has legitimate access to conversations simply because they occurred in the back seat of a police car. The back seat is not the equivalent of a jail situation, where the authorities must reasonably worry about escape plans and threats to the security of the facility. Depriving those who have not been arrested of the right to privacy in the police car setting is even more troubling and should be prohibited. Footnotes
Main Term(s): Police legal limitations
Index Term(s): Arrest procedures; Police cars; Right of privacy; Surveillance
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.