This week, in Heien v. North Carolina, the United States Supreme Court held that evidence discovered by a police officer during a search of an automobile can be admissible as evidence during a later trial even when the police officer’s initial reason for the traffic stop was based on an incorrect understanding of the law. The Court did note, however, that the officer’s error must be “reasonable.” In this case, the officer made the initial stop because the car in which the defendant was riding had a faulty brake light. No North Carolina law made this condition illegal, but the officer believed that such a law did exist. The car’s occupants gave the officer permission to search the car, and the officer found a bag of cocaine belonging to the defendant, who was subsequently convicted on a charge of attempted drug trafficking. This ruling extends a long line of Supreme Court cases giving more deference to police when they conduct searches after a traffic stop.
- Review of Orphan X, by Gregg Hurwitz, Minotaur Books 2016
- Review of Enrique’s Journey: The Story of a Boy’s Dangerous Odyssey to Reunite with His Mother, by Sonia Navario, Random House 2006.
- Book List — Recently Read and To Read
- The United States Supreme Court and the Oligarchs
- Are Traffic Cameras Dead?