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Article posted Aug 05 2014, 4:57 PM Category: Tyranny/Police State Source: TheNewspaper Print

US Supreme Court To Rule On Cops Who Get Law Wrong

Oral arguments set for US Supreme Court to decide whether a traffic stop is invalid when the police officer is wrong about the law.

Is a police officer's traffic stop valid if he is wrong about the law? The US Supreme Court announced it would take up that question when it returns in October to hear the case of Nicholas Brady Heien.

On April 29, 2009, Surry County Sheriff's Sergeant Matt Darisse was on Interstate 77 when he saw a Ford Escort hit the brakes, and the right-side light did not illuminate. Sergeant Darisse decided to pull over the Ford, which was driven by Maynor Javier Vasquez with Heien asleep in the back seat. After the driver's license came back clean, Sergeant Darisse handed him a warning.

While questioning Vasquez, however, the sergeant became suspicious. Vasquez said he was on his way to West Virginia, but Heien said they were headed to Kentucky. Both Vasquez and Heien consented to a search of the vehicle which turned up cocaine.

The sergeant was wrong to pull over the Ford, as it is legal to drive in North Carolina as long as one brake light is functional. Liberal and conservative groups have joined to urge the US Supreme Court to reject the December 2012 decision of North Carolina's high court, which held that since it had never ruled on the stop light issue and the officer's interpretation was "reasonable," the stop should be considered valid.

The Cato Institute, National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and American Civil Liberties Union teamed up to file a friend of the court brief arguing police ought to have the same duty as citizens to know and obey the law. The groups urged the US Supreme Court to uphold the principle that a traffic stop is always invalid when the cop is wrong about the law.

"The North Carolina Supreme Court's rule threatens to undermine law enforcement," the groups wrote. "It understates the importance of legal training for law enforcement officials, as well as diminishing the public perception of law enforcement officials' knowledge and authority."

North Carolina prosecutors argued the single stop light law was "antiquated" and that the Fourth Amendment does not require police officers to be perfect. As long as the suspicion is reasonable, they argued, that was good enough.

"No one disagrees that the officer stopped petitioner's vehicle based upon a reasonable belief of a violation," North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper argued last month. "That reasonable belief was dispelled only by a 'surprising' appellate court ruling that for the first time construed a traffic law on the books for more than fifty years to require only one functioning brake light. The Supreme Court of North Carolina correctly ruled that reasonable mistakes of law, like this one, can support reasonable suspicion."

Oral arguments before the US Supreme Court have been set for October 6.

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Comments 1 - 3 of 3 Add Comment Page 1 of 1
Mr. Reasonable

Posted: Aug 06 2014, 2:11 PM

50104 Once we slide down the "reasonable" path, we are screwed.

What if some heavy handed cop decides, after hearing a rumor, that you're going to commit a terrorist act and they come in with guns blazing. Oh! Wait! They do ALL THE FREAKING TIME! Its called being "SWAT'd".

This is nothing but Minority Report! Problem is, these coppers are dumbed down and selected for their not-too-high IQ and not gifted like the Minority Report panel. Reasonable to a cop is "They Won't Fire Me For Doing This." and has NOTHING to do with justice or protecting the publice. We should not go there!

We shall see if the fake supreme court (which, none of you know what the real supreme court is, I bet?) says. It will be telling if they come down on the side of the state to further agree with the statist bastards and continue to attempt to talk you into giving up your rights or they rule for the people.

Posted: Aug 06 2014, 7:32 PM

@Mr. Reasonable, it's hard for me to plug-back-in, so to speak, but your comment caught my eye.

I don't know what the "real Supreme Court" is. I imagined it to be a bunch of script writers, cleverly rewording America's statutory law, so that it mirrors the UK's laws. But, if you have insight, please share.

(Also, I'm not opposed to reasonable conspiracies, but, if you start-in with alien-cons and reptilian-cons, you'll lose me.)

Posted: Aug 08 2014, 9:37 PM

18410 yeah, I got pulled over by California Highway Patrol for emptying a little remaining tea out my window from a styrofoam cup. What??? They are out of control, and over a lifetime I have several other similar stories. Who needs them? They are only there to punk and humiliate people.

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