Police can use evidence found during illegal stops, Supreme Court rules

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This pretty much means the end of defense, from what I can tell. The easiest way to handle a defense case, since you have a hard time proving a negative, is to show that the evidence was collected illegally and get it thrown out.If they’re allowed to use illegally gathered evidence then I guess we get to see that incarceration rate get even higher.


Legitimizing stop-n-frisk and racial profiling is not making the highest court in the land look very supreme to me.


Boy do we need two new judges in a hurry!


yes but.

It’s imo one of the worst properties of the German legal system - the concept of poisonous tree is not recognized here. Quite often an action by the police or prosecutor is considered illegal by a judge but this has no meaning for the current lawsuit and the evidence can still be used for the trial.

But we still have successful defences, so it’s not the end of due diligence in general but “only” the very fine US one.

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They call Sotomayor an activist because she is not objective. Objective here means “you agree with me.”


Goddammit. Aggggggh! More fucking harassment and arrests and incarceration and broken lives for black, brown and (to some extent) poor white people. What a fucked-up “democracy.”

And so much for a hung court because Scalia is gone. At least Sotomayer is one judge there who knows that race still matters.


I don’t think it’s quite that bad.

I don’t think the ruling says “police can use evidence found during illegal stops.” It says “police can stop someone illegally, check for arrest warrants, and use that warrant to legally arrest them, even if the initial stop is illegal.” Of course, if you’re arresting someone, you have to search them.

That’s not to say that this isn’t awful, but it isn’t throwing the Fourth Amendment out the window quite as blatantly as the headline states.

Here’s Slate’s analysis:

In an opinion by Justice Clarence Thomas, the court found that if an officer illegally stops an individual then discovers an arrest warrant—even for an incredibly minor crime, like a traffic violation—the stop is legitimized, and any evidence seized can be used in court. The only restriction is when an officer engages in “flagrant police misconduct,” which the decision declines to define.

Of course, for places like Ferguson, you might as well be suspending the Fourth Amendment:

The Department of Justice, Sotomayor writes, “recently reported that in the town of Ferguson, Missouri, with a population of 21,000, 16,000 people had outstanding warrants against them.” That means 76 percent of Ferguson residents have, under the court’s decision, effectively surrendered their Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable seizure. “In the St. Louis metropolitan area,” moreover, “officers ‘routinely’ stop people—on the street, at bus stops, or even in court—for no reason other than ‘an officer’s desire to check whether the subject had a municipal arrest warrant pending.’ ”

So yes. Bad, but not as quite bad as @Xeni is saying it is.


The “Supremes” must be warming up for the tRump oligarchy.

“note sadly the sarcasm”


The mind boggles at such numbers. And I’m sure they’re used as supporting evidence that non-white people are all bad.

[I’m not a lawyer]

I can see the reasoning, that a warrant was levied previously and the warrantee should be aware of their warranted-ness (and that’s a terrible sentence, sorry), but I’m sure that’s cold comfort to the folks getting stopped and regularly harassed.

The other issue, to me, is that Strieff was nailed because of a small amount of meth. The drug laws in this country desperately need reform.


The “business of incarceration” is at fault, if we as a Nation overhaul, long needed too, the draconian Drug Laws, well things would change, and change fast for the better.


It does seem misrepresented here at boingboing with that title. If you can arrest someone with an outstanding arrest warrant at any time, it would follow that any evidence on them at the time of their arrest would be admissible. All commentary on the unequal distribution of law enforcement/prosecution aside, it seems fairly logical. That Ferguson issue with so many with arrest warrants is definitely an issue, but it seems more like an issue of giving out so many warrants than how the warrants can be served and evidence made admissible.

The way I’ve heard it, it’s an issue where you shouldn’t be able to stop someone on the street for no good reason, and then check if they have warrants out.

It’s fine to go looking for someone with an arrest warrant in their name; it’s fine to spot someone and think, “Hey, I know that person — they have a warrant out for their arrest!” And, of course, it’s fine to arrest someone for a legitimate reason and then find out they have another arrest warrant to their name.

The problem is that having a warrant out for your arrest shouldn’t magically be able to change an illegal stop into a legal one if that wasn’t the reason for your stop; otherwise, that could lead to harassment: “Oh, you don’t have anything incriminating on you? Who cares about the warrant — you’re free to go.” “Oh, you have something incriminating on you? You’re under arrest because, um, because of this warrant I found!”


The way I’ve heard it, it’s an issue where you shouldn’t be able to stop someone on the street for no good reason, and then check if they have warrants out.

that’s fair

Yes. it is the lack of even a “reasonable suspicion” for the initial stop that is at issue.


We are fucked. Do not look to the courts for justice. I’ve lost faith. Let’s decriminalize as much as possible so we can cut this cancer out of our lives.

Certainly a fair point, my post probably had a fair bit of hyperbole to it (what post written at 3 AM doesn’t?) but it’s still a pretty damn dark precedent. “It’s okay that we did this illegal thing because it turned out to be okay retrospectively” isn’t a power I want the cops going around with.

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I think the only exception should be for capital offenses. Like if you have a severed head in the front seat, or a bomb, etc.

Making the new wider net to include drugs and shit is just more bullshit War on Drugs rhetoric.

But hey - let’s just stop these random stops for no good reason - mmkay? I mean, they just make shit up. I had a guy stop me because I had no front license plate. But I did. I guess with that logic, one could stop anyone, claim they were mistaken, but oh hey, what else you got in there?


Well, sure. If a cop stops a car, and looks in the window and sees something illegal in plain sight, I’m pretty sure that’s probable cause for an immediate search, regardless of whether the original stop was legal. If something is on display in plain sight, then there’s not much of a breach of someone’s privacy by seeing it.

About the “capital offenses” bit: leaving aside the argument about whether capital punishment is ever appropriate, I don’t think that whether someone’s rights get infringed should depend on the severity of the crime (barring something like “We’re looking for a bomb, and we’ve been told that it’s in one of these cars.”).