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http://ssrn.com/abstract=1611929
 
 

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Reasonableness as a Rule: A Paean to Justice O'Connor's Dissent in Atwater v. City of Lago Vista


Wayne A. Logan


Florida State University - College of Law

April 30, 2010

Mississippi Law Journal, Vol. 79, p. 115, 2009
FSU College of Law, Public Law Research Paper No. 454

Abstract:     
This paper, part of a sympoisum dedicated to "great" Fourth Amendment dissents, examines Justice Sandra Day O'Connor's dissent in Atwater v. City of Lago Vista (2001), where by a 5-4 vote the Court upheld the constitutionality of warrantless police arrests for non-breach of the peace, fine-only offenses. In addition to rightfully condemning the majority's decision to equate probable cause with constitutional reasonableness, in principle, Justice O'Connor presciently recognized the numerous liberty and privacy-restricting consequences of the outcome for the "everyday lives of Americans." Atwater, combined with decisions issued before and after it, including Whren v. United States, Devenpeck v. Alford, and Virginia v. Moore, has afforded police historically unprecedented discretionary authority, examples of which are surveyed in the paper.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 33

Keywords: Fourth Amendment, police discretion, arrest, search and seizure, seatbelt

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Date posted: May 22, 2010 ; Last revised: August 7, 2010

Suggested Citation

Logan, Wayne A., Reasonableness as a Rule: A Paean to Justice O'Connor's Dissent in Atwater v. City of Lago Vista (April 30, 2010). Mississippi Law Journal, Vol. 79, p. 115, 2009; FSU College of Law, Public Law Research Paper No. 454. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1611929 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1611929

Contact Information

Wayne A. Logan (Contact Author)
Florida State University - College of Law ( email )
425 W. Jefferson Street
Tallahassee, FL 32306
United States
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