U.S. Supreme Court Trends Toward Government Intrusion

Recent U.S. Supreme Court cases may have carved mammoth exceptions out of the Fourth Amendment.

Utah v. Strieff (2016) recently decided that evidence obtained by police after an unlawful vehicle stop is admissible at trial if the police discover that someone in the car has an outstanding warrant, and the police then proceed to search the vehicle.

In Navarette v. California, (2014) the same justices determined that police can pull over a vehicle from an anonymous tip of reckless driving.

In Maryland v. King,(2012) the same five justices ruled that police can take DNA from a person who has been arrested for a serious crime, and compare it with DNA from a separate unsolved crime that is sitting in a police database.

In the most recent case, the Court emphasized that this exception will not apply where police engage in “flagrant misconduct.” Hopefully that will be enough to deter unwarranted police intrusion, although the fact that a vehicle has been pulled over for no valid reason may not be independently deterred in the future by the language of this latest decision.

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