The Campaign For DA

12.15.2014

Supreme Court This Morning: Cops Can Detain You Even If You Did Nothing Wrong




As of this morning, we now have a new rule made up on the fly.

If a cop makes a "reasonable" mistake about what the law is, he can stop you for violating what he believes the law to be even if he is dead wrong. Incredible. Simply incredible.

In the new case, the defendant had only one taillamp working. The cop mistakenly believed that North Carolina law required two taillamps. He was wrong.  It only required one.  Up until this morning, the rule was that if the cops stopped you for a traffic violation that wasn't actually a violation, any evidence they discovered after the stop couldn't be used against you.  Not only would the ticket be thrown out, but anything else they found could not be used against you.

Now, the ticket still gets thrown out, but if other evidence is discovered which is incriminating, the cops and prosecutors still get to use it. (Count down to some goofball who fires off the, "Well, don't have anything illegal in your car and you won't have to worry about it" line.)

But this will give rise to just a ton of more issues. For example, most cops in Texas believe that if you have a broken taillamp that you have committed a traffic violation.  That's not true. So long as there is SOME red light coming from the broken taillight, that's not a violation.  Can they stop you for that now and simply say, "I was mistaken about that law"? Doesn't that sound like a reasonable mistake? However, does it matter that a court interpreted that statute almost thirty years ago to say any red light emitting is sufficient? Do the cops still get a pass? Does it matter that the court case was taught a seminar they attended? Do I now have to find out what a particular cop was taught at a seminar? Isn't it to the cops' benefit that they don't teach/learn about that one court case thirty years ago? Or not to learn details about the law in general?

27 comments:

Anonymous said...

yes we are living in a police state..

Anonymous said...

Tercy be knowin dis bad juju.

Anonymous said...

How do you like those Bush SCOTUS appointments now, Comrade? Show me your papers!

Anonymous said...

Will nitted underware chaff my nuts?

Anonymous said...

From the brief: Following a suspicious vehicle, Sergeant Matt Darisse noticed that only
one of the vehicle’s brake lights was working and pulled the driver
over. While issuing a warning ticket for the broken brake light, Darisse
became suspicious of the actions of the two occupants and their answers to his questions.

Lots o' suspicion there...

SCOTUS set the example of using "reasonableness" as a test. So, if a "reasonable" peace officer makes a stop based on "reasonable suspicion" that a law has been broken, even if they're wrong that's OK. The problem is that peace officers are becoming less and less "reasonable."

Anonymous said...

Oh...sorry...I thought a tool box in the bed of a pick up were against the law.

Oh well...my bad.

Anonymous said...

Black folks driving an expensive black car at night...I was sure that was illegal Judge...sorry about that.

I'll try to do better Judge, I promise.

Anonymous said...

You're more than welcome to go live in Iraq or some such. Bam!

Anonymous said...

"Thanks a lot Bin Laden..."

Anonymous said...

So, ignorance of the law is no defense for a citizen, but it is a defense for law enforcement?

Wow. The Rhome PD will love this!

Anonymous said...

Well, well, only one disagreed with end results...no surprise who. So quit bashing all the "Bush guys" lol...read the results!

Anonymous said...

This is Bush's fault.

DF Barack Hussein Obama

Anonymous said...

2:59 -- you're more than welcome to read the Constitution. Ka-boom!

Anonymous said...

Isn't reasonable just another word for lawyers make money?

Anonymous said...

2:59

You are the epitome of stupidity. Bam!

Anonymous said...

This has nothing to do with Bin Laden. It is a police state pure and simple. Just like all the guns that are seized, and to be destroyed by the ATF and Law inforcment. The ATF guys get to strip everything first, then the city police. I happen to know this, because some good optics landed in my lap from the good old boy club. Its just a shame that the laws are leaning to make us more, and more like the countries we are tring to help.

Arrowmus

Anonymous said...

What did they discover?

Not saying I agree with the new law, but could you give an example how this would negatively effect a law abiding citizen other than time waste?

Anonymous said...

I am a retired cop. I am sick and tired of all the different rules and regulations, intreprutation (spell check needed)that keep coming up from something that was so simple to understand years ago. Used to be if the tail light was broke and you got stopped you were told to get it fixed. Folks complained and lawyers got involved. This resulted in multiple definitions of what was considered a broken tail light and how much red was showing as opposed to white light. Common sense left the freaking building once lawyers got involved and they needed to get some rich dude off on a traffic ticket. It changed the law and made all the other stuff the real criminals were doing use these loop holes to get off on real crime. The one with the most money will always win if the criminal justice system is involved. The broke criminals (mostly young blacks) will keep the jail cells full and the rich folks will continue to clog the courts system arguing the difference between a mostly red or mostly white tail light!. In the real world the drug cartel in Mexico owns the entire railway system, most of the law enforcement, and make billions off the sale of dope. The old school mafia is in control of most the road construction in the entire US and they build big building on the side depending on how many city elections they can control. I got nothing else at the moment. KEEP ON WRITING TRAFFIC TICKETS AND SHOOTING BLACK KIDS!!

Anonymous said...

Retired cop at 6:05 can't spell interpretation and someone gave him a badge and a gun. Cops are the dumb guys from your high school and they now have a gun and are scared out of their minds.

Anonymous said...

@6:05

Life tip: Don't use words you can't spell.

Anonymous said...

I'm in the minority here. Everybody is hating on the police. I've learned that if you're polite to them and treat them with respect you will receive the same. I hear stories about traffic stops that escalate. Be nice.

Now for the LLDQ posting, there will be a lot of ugly cases in the court. The Supreme Court must be in a hurry to get through the cases before the holidays.

Anonymous said...

That's such a bs new law. Wth were they thinking? I say it doesn't last too terribly wrong. Uh, if a cop stops me for a violation I didn't commit and charges me with something else I'm calling Barron!

Anonymous said...

That tail wasn't broken until my night stick hit it.

Anonymous said...

I'm curious about the grounds for suspicion. Under Terry v. Ohio, that stop could be good.

I'm not happy with misunderstandings of the law being a valid basis for a stop, either.

Over my career, I've a few times made traffic stops for expired motor vehicle inspection stickers, only to discover that, due to a dirty windshield or simply misreading the sticker, I was incorrect about the sticker being expired. The second that I realize that the sticker is valid, the stop is over, and I apologize for human error and wish them a better day. On one such occasion, however, just before I made contact with the driver, I saw that two toddlers were bouncing around in the back seat. The driver got cited for Unsecured Child Passenger. Could the driver have fought it? Possibly. At that time, I was in good faith approaching the driver and front of the windshield to verify what I had thought that I had seen, but I was in a public place, looking into the back window. I wouldn't have been upset if the judge felt that it wasn't enough, and I put in the warning box that I had made an error on the MVI.

Atticus said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

"Well, don't have anything illegal in your car and you won't have to worry about it" line.

Anonymous said...

What happened to "ignorance of the law is no excuse" ?