+ Reply to Thread
Results 1 to 7 of 7
  1. #1
    ShadyM is offline Junior Member
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Posts
    2

    Angry Purse Searches in Movie Theatres

    I'm from Washington State.

    I didn't know where else to post this question, so I hope it's not inappropriate to ask it here.

    Is it lawful for a movie theatre to demand a search of ones purse before entering where the movie screen is? There is a sign at the ticket takers window stating if I do not want my purse searched to leave it in the car. Their "business policy" states that they will do a search and because they reserve the right to refuse service to anyone, they can get away with this.

    I say that no "business policy" can override unlawful searches; or has the privacy issue gone down the tubes?

    TIA for any information...one way or the other.

    Shady
    Last edited by ShadyM; 06-24-2008 at 09:33 PM.
  2. #2
    las365 is offline Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Posts
    2,926
    Do you mean the ticket purchase window? If you can see the sign and decline to purchase a ticket due to their policy, then I think they are in the clear. If one doesn't see the sign until after the ticket is purchased, then one should receive a refund upon declining to have her bag searched and leaving the theater.

    You are free to go to a movie elsewhere.

    Please be aware that I am not endorsing this theater's policy, but I do not think it is illegal.
  3. #3
    CavemanLawyer is offline Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Posts
    1,164
    The Constitutional protection against unlawful searches and seizures applies to the government, not to private entities. The way the law works is that if an unlawful search is made than any evidence obtained cannot be used against you in a criminal proceeding. The theater is not even trying to gather evidence to prosecute you, they are checking to make sure you aren't sneaking foods or drinks into the theater because what most people don't realize is that theaters mostly break even on ticket sales and actually make their profit on the food. Its also possible that they are searching your purse for a weapon of some sort.

    Now if a theater were to make an unlawful search of your purse and find something incriminating, like drugs for example, and they then got the police involved, now you are looking at a possible Constitutional violation because it is the government using the evidence seized.
  4. #4
    mike_lee is offline Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    272
    They cannot force you to submit to a search, however you can't force them to sell you a ticket. They can make you check your bag this is common in big cities and they are responsible to safeguard it.

    Most likely they are looking for video cameras. You could organize a rebellion if it bothers you. Recruit as many people as you can to go there with the intent of refusing to submit to a search do it every showing for a few weeks you'll find it provides your volunteers with a great deal of satisfaction and makes a statement about your values. You can see this idea fleshed out at [url]http://improveverywhere.com/2006/04/23/best-buy/[/url] where a hundred people dressed in blue shirts all walk into a best buy.
  5. #5
    VeronicaLodge is offline Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Posts
    2,580
    Quote Originally Posted by ShadyM View Post
    I'm from Washington State.

    I didn't know where else to post this question, so I hope it's not inappropriate to ask it here.

    Is it lawful for a movie theatre to demand a search of ones purse before entering where the movie screen is? There is a sign at the ticket takers window stating if I do not want my purse searched to leave it in the car. Their "business policy" states that they will do a search and because they reserve the right to refuse service to anyone, they can get away with this.

    I say that no "business policy" can override unlawful searches; or has the privacy issue gone down the tubes?

    TIA for any information...one way or the other.

    Shady
    you can choose not to patronize their business. when you choose to buy a ticket and go in, you are essentially consenting to the search.
  6. #6
    xylene is offline Senior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    St. Richard's
    Posts
    8,750
    I went to a movie theater once with a bunch of friends.

    9/11 hysterionics were in full swing.

    A policeman, with a submachine gun no less, was checking all bags for security contraband.

    My friend was asked to open his bag.

    It was filled with beer, chips, candy, soda...

    The policeman laughed and said, "you're good."

    Now they have an usher to do this job of 'security' aka looking for contraband (like JuJu Bees from CVS).
  7. #7
    CdwJava is offline Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    California
    Posts
    27,446
    When I was younger, theaters used to check for this stuff all the time. They are not the government. So, if you don't want them looking inside your purse, fanny pack, or other bag, then don't go there. And if you DO bring such an item, don't hide your dope or contraband in it ... if they find it, they CAN call the cops, and you WILL almost certainly be charged.

    - Carl
    A Nor Cal Cop Sergeant

    "Make mine a double mocha ...
    And a croissant!"

    Seek justice,
    Love mercy,
    Walk humbly with your God

    -- Courageous, by Casting Crowns ... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pkM-gDcmJeM

Similar Threads

  1. Purse with gun design and the TSA
    By disneykid52 in forum Other Government & Administrative Law Matters
    Replies: 15
    Last Post: 12-05-2011, 04:16 PM
  2. took my purse
    By colleen45 in forum Arrests, Searches, Warrants & Procedure
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 11-11-2008, 01:38 AM
  3. Movie Titles and Movie Posters
    By movies in forum Starting and Operating a Business
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 07-02-2005, 07:37 AM
  4. Purse Searches at Workplace
    By lisab3 in forum Job Discrimination and Harassment
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 04-12-2002, 08:00 AM
  5. Can I use movie titles on free movie nights?
    By mage121179 in forum Copyrights & Trademarks
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 11-26-2001, 04:10 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  

© 1995-2012 Advice Company, All Rights Reserved

FreeAdvice® has been providing millions of consumers with outstanding advice, free, since 1995. While not a substitute for personal advice from a licensed professional, it is available AS IS, subject to our Disclaimer and Terms & Conditions Of Use.