Supreme Court takes up vehicle search cases

(AP) – The Supreme Court is considering whether police are free to search a rental car if the person behind the wheel isn't authorized to drive the vehicle under the rental agreement.

The court on Tuesday is hearing arguments in two cases involving vehicle searches.

One involves a man who was driving his fiancee's rental car when he was pulled over in Pennsylvania. The man was told that because he wasn't an authorized driver, troopers didn't need his OK for a search, which turned up heroin.

Lower courts found that because Terrence Byrd was an unauthorized driver, he had no reasonable expectation of privacy in the car and therefore couldn't challenge the search using the Fourth Amendment, which protects against unreasonable searches.

The second case involves a Virginia man who was arrested after a police officer walked onto his driveway and pulled back a tarp covering a stolen motorcycle. Virginia's highest court found the officer's actions proper.

Courts nationwide have been split on the issue.

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