Federal appeals court ok's random inspections on ferrys

11/30/06 12:00AM By Lynne McCrea



A federal appeals court says it's okay for the Lake Champlain Ferry Company to randomly inspect passenger bags and vehicle trunks to deter terrorism.

The ruling today by the Second U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals sided with the Lake Champlain Transportation Company, the Coast Guard and the Department of Homeland Security.

The court issued a ruling in a case filed by the ACLU of Vermont on behalf of commuters who regularly take the ferry between Grand Isle, Vermont, and Plattsburgh, New York.

Allen Gilbert is Executive Director of the ACLU of Vermont. He says he's disappointed in the decision.

(Gilbert) "We knew the case was going to be an uphill battle. But we felt we just couldn't let the government's overreaching of power go unchallenged. We were hopeful the court would be brave and say the searches go too far. But it didn't say that."

The court says the government has a need to prevent potentially hazardous situations from developing.

Gilbert says the ACLU's legal panel will meet to discuss the case and possible next steps.
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