Cutting Cops Too Much Slack
8 Pages Posted: 4 Oct 2015
Date Written: September 15, 2015
While most citizens would likely regard being seized by police when they have committed no legal wrong as the epitome of the unreasonable behavior prohibited by the Fourth Amendment, recently the Supreme Court concluded otherwise. In Heien v. North Carolina, an 8-1 majority upheld a traffic stop based on what the Court viewed as an officer’s reasonable misunderstanding of a state traffic law, resulting in admission of drugs thereafter discovered. This essay critiques Heien and considers its many important implications.
Keywords: policiing, Fourth Amendment, mistake of law, rule of law
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation