The Supreme Court ruled in favor of privacy and actually supressed a stop that yielded drugs.
Brendyln vs. California
From Scotusblog “Applying a considerable dose of common sense, aligning itself with the overwhelming majority of lower courts, and voting unanimously, the Supreme Court ruled on Monday that a police traffic stop of a car also amounts to at least temporary detention of everyone in the vehicle, so passengers, as well as the driver, may challenge the legality of the stop.”
The old rule was that if a passenger was free to leave he was not detained and could not challenge the stop. The Supreme Court decided that passengers in a stopped car are not free to leave.
Good job, SCOTUS.
This opinion will only apply in cases where the cops pull a car over without probably cause that a traffic violation has occured. In Texas we have made it nearly impossible for a driver to obey all the traffic laws all the time. There are dozens of offenses that give rise to a traffic stop and arrest. Most texans may not realize it, but every traffic violation except speeding and open container is an arrestable offense.
It will be a rare stop that falls under this ruling. Cops can always find the car had a bad license plate light, was following too closely, speeding, or not using a turn signal.
It is still a win, albeit a small one.
Labels: Supreme Court