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Supreme Court rules police search of person or vehicle legal without warrant

Mexico City, Mexico — The Supreme Court of Mexico has ruled it constitutional for police to search people and their vehicles without a warrant.

The recent ruling was challenged by the National Human Rights Commission on the grounds that such a search violated individual rights and guarantees. However, on Tuesday, the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation (SCJN) declared it constitutional for police to perform inspections without judicial or ministerial orders in the case of reasonable suspension or flagrancy.

By a majority ruling, the court approved three articles of the National Code of Criminal Procedures, whose draft proposal was prepared by Minister Javier Láynez. In the vote, the Court agreed to declare that articles 132, fraction VII, article 147, third paragraph, 251, fractions III and V, 266 and 268 are constitutional.

These are the same articles, that only a few weeks ago, were challenged by the National Human Rights Commission.

In his pleadings, the ombudsman pointed out that when police elements carry out searches of people or vehicles without the order of a judge, it violates the rights to personal freedom and freedom of movement, legal security, privacy, private life, personal integrity and arbitrary non-interference.

However, ministers of the Court decided to endorse the Láynez project, which established that the arguments of the National Human Rights Commission are unfounded because police inspections constitute preventive and provisional controls authorized under the Amparo of the prevention and prosecution of crimes, as well as their investigation.

The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Luis María Aguilar Morales, affirmed that the inspections are a proportional measure, suitable and with a constitutionally valid purpose, which is to protect the public safety and the rights of the victims of crimes.