Updated Traffic Stops Paper Now Available

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I realize that the last update was only a few months ago, but I have updated my traffic stops paper again. It now includes a discussion of the United States Supreme Court’s decision in Navarette v. California, __ U.S. __, 134 S.Ct. 1683 (2014) (holding that a motorist’s anonymous 911 call reporting that a particular vehicle had run her off the road provided reasonable suspicion to stop the vehicle for DWI). Of course, I also blogged about that case here. The complete paper is available here. As always, it is a free PDF.

One comment on “Updated Traffic Stops Paper Now Available

  1. State v. Clyburn, mentioned in the article, is a horrific example of allowing the police to avoid even a semblance of RS by simply claiming that they ” suspected ” that a driver was involved with drugs, added to ‘ belligerance ” !! In other words, since cops usually believe, or claim to believe, any rumor or allegation regardless of how true it is if it helps them avoid the RS or PC requirements of the law, all they have to do then is allege that the citizens attitude was insufficiently groveling and humble in order to detain someone.

    Since citizens have every right to express themselves as they wish to a cop, including cursing them or declining to show them the ” respect ” that cops think they deserve without having earned it, how can this travesty be allowed to stand? Most cops believe that anything other than complete and utter subjugation to their ” requests ” or questions is ” belligerent “, so when a citizen simply refuses to answer questions, which is their right, or is not sufficiently craven and cowering before the ego addled badge wearer, the cop can claim that it is ” belligerent ” and that, of course, they heard somewhere that the subject might be involved with drugs in some vague manner..and voila! Legal grounds to detain and further harrass a citizen. Sickening. Just because a citizen does not give up his legal rights, such as the absolute right to remain silent or to refuse to answer interrogations, does not mean that they are being belligerent, it means they want to exercise their rights and choose to do so.

    Cops will, of course, use any and all excuses to frustrate the application of rights when doing so may put a halt to inquisitions and detentions based on next to nothing, so allowing a cop, the person least likely to observe and respect citizens decisions to exercise those rights to determine that it is ” belligerence ” to act on those rights is an awful and dangerous policy. I can hear it now : ” Well, the driver was belligerent because he did not treat me as his master and do what I wanted him to, and I had heard a rumor that he was involved with drugs “. Since when does invoking Constitutional rights become ” belligerence “? Since when does some unfounded rumor or alleged belief, regardless of accuracy, become a part of providing RS for a detention? Allowing cops to have leeway with terminology and deciding what constitutes belligerence is guaranteed to pervert the protections of the law and give them far too much discretion.

    Cops have to be given very defined limits because they almost always, habitually, push the very limits of the law in order to gain more power and authority, despite their horrible track record of respecting rights. You can bet your life that after a court decision like Clyburn, cops will be telling their peers this: ” hey, you don’t need RS anymore..all you have to do is say that you heard somewhere that the subject was involved with drugs, and that they had a ” bad attitude “. Since cops have no compunctions about lying when not under oath and very little hesitation to lie when under oath when they believe that they cannot be caught at it, allowing them the ability to use an opinion about attitude along with some alleged belief that ” drugs ‘ may have been a part of the subjects life is a nightmare for anyone who does not by their nature or choice choose to forsake their rights…this state, and nation, are fast becoming a police state, and decisions such as this are poison to the Constitution and to the people. Shame on whatever judge trusts cops to act honorably and who would acceept what they say as fact…god help us all.

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