A Jacksonville, Florida elementary school teacher at Cedar Hills Elementary School (Gina Cevasco) was arrested after Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office (JSO) officers reportedly responded to her house in reference to a drug complaint, according to an article on News4Jax.com. The JSO officers apparently obtained consent to search the house from her son, and then her, and found the drugs and gun in the house. The article does not give any further details and without them, it is hard to specifically evaluate the several issues that are potentially present, a couple of which include: whether the consent to search initially given by the son was legally sufficient to allow the Jacksonville police to search when and where they did; whether the consent to search obtained from the son and later the mother/teacher was lawfully obtained; whether the tip the police received and any other evidence they may have had were sufficient to rise to the level of probable cause allowing the police to obtain a search warrant if consent had not been given; based on where the drugs and gun were found and the number of people who have been in the house, whether the drugs and gun can be attributed to any particular person.
One issue that immediately came to mind after reading the article is that many people do not know their Constitutional rights when it comes to such encounters with police. If the police approach a person on the street, in his/her car, at his/her home, no matter what the police officer says and how much they purport to know about drug or other illegal activity taking place, a person has a right to refuse to give consent to police to search his/her person, home, car or other belongings.
If you have questions about your rights when it comes to a drug investigation, arrest or charge, an encounter with police or any other search and seizure issue in the Jacksonville, Florida or Northeast Florida area, contact an experienced law firm whose attorneys understand the ever-changing law in this area so your rights can be protected.