Allison Kilkenny: Unreported

US Supreme Court Says Passenger Can Be Frisked

Posted in police state, politics, privacy, Supreme Court by allisonkilkenny on January 26, 2009

Newsday

police-brutalityWASHINGTON (AP) – The Supreme Court ruled Monday that police officers have leeway to frisk a passenger in a car stopped for a traffic violation even if nothing indicates the passenger has committed a crime or is about to do so.

The court unanimously overruled an Arizona appeals court that threw out evidence found during such an encounter.

The case involved a 2002 pat-down search of an Eloy, Ariz., man by an Oro Valley police officer, who found a gun and marijuana.

The justices accepted Arizona’s argument that traffic stops are inherently dangerous for police and that pat-downs are permissible when an officer has a reasonable suspicion that the passenger may be armed and dangerous.

The pat-down is allowed if the police “harbor reasonable suspicion that a person subjected to the frisk is armed, and therefore dangerous to the safety of the police and public,” Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said.

  

The case is Arizona v. Johnson, 07-1122.


2 Responses

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  1. Bijan said, on February 6, 2009 at 6:46 pm

    “harbor reasonable suspicion”! I like how they don’t just come out and say it, but rather putting a huge grey area that says do as you wish.


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