Quantcast
Published On: Thu, Jan 1st, 2015

Supreme Court ruling allows ‘ignorant’ police to violate laws, 4th amendment

The Supreme Court has handed down Heien v. North Carolina, the Fourth Amendment case centering on the violation when a police officer pulls over a car based on a reasonable but mistaken belief that the traffic laws prohibit the driver’s conduct.

The Court ruled 8-1, per Chief Justice Roberts, that the Fourth Amendment is not violated in such circumstances.

Only Justice Sotomayor dissented.

Justice Sotomayor sided with the minority in the latest ruling from the US Supreme Court photo donkeyhotey  donkeyhotey.wordpress.com

Justice Sotomayor sided with the minority in the latest ruling from the US Supreme Court photo donkeyhotey donkeyhotey.wordpress.com

Sotomayor wrote: “One is left to wonder why an innocent citizen should be made to shoulder the burden of being seized whenever the law may be susceptible to an interpretative question. … [A]n officer’s mistake of law, no matter how reasonable, cannot support the individualized suspicion necessary to justify a seizure under the Fourth Amendment.”

 

“Ignorance of the law is an excuse… if you are a cop. American police no longer need to know what the law says or to enforce it correctly. They can implement a nonexistent law with impunity even if it results in the apparent violation of constitutional rights,” Personal Liberty writes.

“By refusing to hold police accountable to knowing and abiding by the rule of law, the Supreme Court has given government officials a green light to routinely violate the law,” said John W. Whitehead, president of The Rutherford Institute.

The Court of Appeals reversed the decision, saying that “an officer’s mistaken belief that a defendant has committed a traffic violation is not an objectively reasonable justification for a traffic stop.” The Supreme Court of North Carolina determined the purpose of the 4th Amendment was to ensure that police officers act reasonably. And police officers should be able to make traffic stops based on their reasonable interpretations of law even if that interpretation was in error.

Attorney Jeffrey Fisher represented Heien and argued, “The government should be presumed to know the laws. … It would undercut public confidence in law enforcement and the common law rule upon which the criminal law is built to say the government doesn’t have to be presumed to know the law when it acted.” Fisher claimed that, if “ignorance of the law is no excuse” for average citizens, then the maxim should apply equally to police officers. To argue otherwise would take all incentive away from the police to familiarize themselves with the law or to abide by it.

photo Pearson Scott Foresman

photo Pearson Scott Foresman

About the Author

- Roxanne "Butter" Bracco began with the Dispatch as Pittsburgh Correspondent, but will be providing reports and insights from Washington DC, Maryland and the surrounding region. Contact Roxie aka "Butter" at [email protected] ATTN: Roxie or Butter Bracco

Tags

Leave a comment

XHTML: You can use these html tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>



Recent Posts

May 24, 2019, Comments Off on

May 24, 2019, Comments Off on

May 24, 2019, Comments Off on

Categories

Archives

At the Movies