Supreme Judicial Court (January 30, 2007)
An individual is not entitled to withdraw his consent after an administrative search commences and is then notified that a more extensive search will take place.
The defendant, a juvenile, entered the Dorchester District Court where signs were posted that all bags were subject to a manual search. The defendant placed his bag on the table next to the x-ray device and walked through the electronic metal detectors, which did not go off. When informed that his bag was going to be searched manually, the defendant stated he did not want his bag searched, picked up his bag and turned to leave the building. When officers asked him to return, the defendant fled and a chase ensued. When caught, officers found marijuana in the defendant's bag.
The search was a lawful administrative, or screening, search since it was conducted as part of a scheme that has as its purpose something other than the gathering of evidence for criminal prosecutions. Safety and security at court house entrances justify such administrative searches. Here, the defendant implicitly assented to inspection when he approached the security checkpoint area, placed his bag on the table, and passed through the metal detector. The defendant was not entitled to withdraw his consent after the inspection had commenced. "To allow established court house security to be manipulated in this manner would jeopardize court house safety."