Jan 302015
 January 30, 2015  Court, U.S.

Marjorie Cohn writes – disapprovingly – about how the Supreme Court upheld a traffic stop  even where there was no traffic violation. The case was Heien v. North Carolinaand was decided in December, with Justice Sotomayor being the only dissenter. But what Cohn, a professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law, really focuses on is how this opinion is part of a disturbing erosion of the Fourth Amendment. She writes:

Indeed, since 2000, the court has decided 13 cases that significantly weaken the Fourth Amendment’s guarantee against unreasonable searches and seizures:

– Illinois v. Wardlow (2000) – Flight in a high-crime neighborhood may constitute reasonable suspicion for a warrantless stop.

– Board of Education v. Pottawatomie (2002) – Public schools can randomly drug test students who engage in extracurricular activities.

– Maryland v. Pringle (2003) – When drugs are found in a car, all occupants may be arrested even without particularized evidence connecting them to the drugs.

– Hiibel v. Sixth Judicial District Court of Nevada (2004) – A state can compel someone stopped by police to identify himself.

– Illinois v. Caballes (2005) – Police can use a drug dog to sniff around a car even without prior probable cause or reasonable suspicion that drugs are present.

– Samson v. California (2006) – Parolees can be searched without a warrant even if there is no reasonable suspicion or probable cause of criminal activity.

– Hudson v. Michigan (2006) – No suppression of evidence for violation of the knock and announce requirement.

– Herring v. US (2009) – Police can rely on information received from another law enforcement agency that there is a warrant out for the arrest of a person, even though the information is erroneous, which raises the bar for exclusion of illegally obtained evidence.

– Kentucky v. King (2011) – Police can search without a warrant under the exigent circumstances exception even if the police themselves created the exigency.

– Arizona v. US (2012) – Police can ask about immigration status if they have reasonable suspicion the person is not lawfully present in the United States, even though “reasonable suspicion” is based on racial profiling.

– Florida v. Harris (2013) – Alert by a drug-detection dog can constitute probable cause for search even without a showing that the dog is reliable.

– Maryland v. King (2013) – Arrestees can be forced to provide DNA samples even if they are not convicted of a crime.

– Fernandez v. California (2014) – Police can conduct warrantless searches under the consent exception even if a co-tenant objects to the search.

At this rate, how much Fourth Amendment protection might be left by 2020?

Thanks to Joe Cadillic for the link.