Josh Covert

In The News

Thursday, July 12, 2012


By Michael Nichols
Categories: Josh Covert

The United States Ninth Circuit Court recently held that baggage searches conducted by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) must be consistent with the TSA’s mission in order to be considered a reasonable search as is required by the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution.

The case, United States v. Fulgham, involved a search conducted by the TSA at the Oakland, California, airport.  A TSA official was checking bags as the bags passed through an x-ray machine. The official detected a dark mass inside the bag and then physically inspected the bag and its contents and subsequently discovered controlled substances.  The search was challenged and the Ninth Circuit Court held that the search is an administrative search and is limited to the purpose of discovering explosives or other items which might be a threat to security.  If the search goes outside of what is necessary to protect the safety of the airport and its passengers the search is unconstitutional. 

In Fulgham, the TSA official admitted that when he noticed the dark mass he did not think it was an explosive device.  He also admitted that he did not know what the dark mass was.  The search must not be more intrusive than necessary to carry out the mission of the TSA.  Since the TSA official in Fulgham did not know what the dark mass was, he was unable to articulate a correlation between his search and the mission of the TSA.

If you believe the government violated your 4th amendment rights call the lawyers at the Nichols Law Firm at (517) 432-9000 and speak with a lawyer who believes in protecting your right to be free from unreasonable search and seizures. 

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Peer Recognition

Mike Nichols is a national leader in drunk driving defense. He is a member of the Forensic Committee and Michigan delegate to the National College for DUI Defense. He is also a Sustaining Member of the College. Nichols is also a founding member of the Michigan Association of OWI Attorneys; a member of the American Chemical Society; an associate member of he American Academy of Forensic Science, Adjunct Professor of Forensic Evidence in Criminal Law and OWI Law and Practice at Cooley Law School. He is also author of the West OWI Practice book and several chapters in other books on science and the law.

Mike Nichols is recognized by his peers in Michigan as a “SuperLawyer” in DUI/Criminal Defense. Nichols has also been asked to speak at conferences by groups such as the NCDD; Various Bar Associations in other states.