Photo and story by William Green / Contributing Writer
A local criminal defense lawyer instructed a group of students on the ins and outs of police searches and their constitutional rights in those situations Monday in the Student Union Building as a part of a three-week lecture series.
Attorney W. Scott Kimberly gave the talk as a part of a series, entitled “Can Police Do That?,” which is co-sponsored by the MTSU College Republicans, College Democrats and Young Americans for Liberty. The other two lectures in the series will be provided by Hunter Fowler, another local criminal defense lawyer, and Richard Kimberly, a retired lawyer and Kimberly’s father. Kimberly tailored his presentation, which he has been conducting for four years at colleges, churches, businesses, and many other locations, for the student audience. The presentation features several pertinent topics from the law surrounding criminal defense cases and much more.
“If you haven’t already, you’re going to get profiled (as college students),” Kimberly said. “People who are 18 to 22 years old have a disproportionately high number of interactions with police.”
While Kimberly stressed that he was pro-police and that police have a “very, very, very difficult job,” he continually reminded his audience that “asserting your rights is not disrespectful.”
While many people think that police are always required to get warrants to conduct searches, police will often attempt to conduct a search of a person they’ve stopped by simply asking for permission, according to Kimberly
“Ninety-nine percent of the cases I handle probably fall into this category,” Kimberly said. “When police request a search, the answer is easy: no.”
Kimberly said the single biggest misconception he comes across when giving his presentation is that you are required to consent to searches and that you cannot say no when police ask to search you.
“Not only is it a misconception, it’s also the complete opposite of the truth,” Kimberly said. “You do not have to consent to searches.”
For more information on the lecture series, visit here.
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