In an issuance of opinion today the Supreme Court justices trashed the fundamental concept of the 4th Amendment to the Constitution.
From the USA Today:
WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court divided largely along ideological lines Monday in ruling that police can seize evidence from an unconstitutional search if they first discover the suspect has one or more outstanding arrest warrants.
The court’s four conservative justices, joined by Justice Stephen Breyer, ruled that even if police violate the Constitution by stopping someone without suspicion, an arrest warrant entitles them to conduct a search. In that circumstance, they said, there is no “flagrant police misconduct.”
“Evidence is admissible when the connection between unconstitutional police conduct and the evidence is remote or has been interrupted by some intervening circumstance,” Justice Clarence Thomas wrote. The vote was 5-3.
The protection against unreasonable searches and seizures is a fundamental maxim in American jurisprudence. The exclusionary rule is right behind it in regards to essential protections against and abusive government. The idea that police can obtain evidence through illegal manners and then still use it against the defendant in court is detrimental to our fundamental freedoms.
What is even worse about this case is that it has nothing to do with a violent crime, but rather another victim in the war on drugs. The Supreme Court has essentially said that police can now stop people on the streets in an illegal manner, then search them unreasonably, and then use that evidence against them. That essentially trashes the 4th Amendment to the United States Constitution.
Justice Sonia Sotomayor blasted the decision in a harsh dissent. “This case tells everyone, white and black, guilty and innocent, that an officer can verify your legal status at any time,” Sotomayor wrote. “It says that your body is subject to invasion while courts excuse the violation of your rights. It implies that you are not a citizen of a democracy but the subject of a carceral state, just waiting to be cataloged.”
Read the full decision of the court here.