Kansas Supreme Court: Silence Can Mean “Okay”

An individual’s conduct can be relevant in determining whether a person has expressed valid consent to search, the Kansas Supreme Court said in a decision reversing a lower court ruling suppressing evidence.

The ruling came in the case of a man who allowed police to enter his apartment when he opened the door and stood aside for them to come in.

The appeals court reversed a Johnson County District Court ruling suppressing evidence after the warrantless search led to the discovery of marijuana and other incriminating evidence.

The Supreme Court said valid consent requires a showing that an individual freely expressed consent, and was not merely submitting to lawful authority.

It ruled that an individual’s nonverbal conduct can be relevant because a person may express valid consent through words, acts, or conduct.

The court sent the case back to the district court for further proceedings.