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The Courts Privacy United States

Supreme Court OKs Stop and Search Based On Anonymous 911 Tips 461

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the someone-said-you-were-a-sinner dept.
An anonymous reader writes "On Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that police officers are legally allowed to stop and search vehicles based solely on anonymous 911 tips. Justice Clarence Thomas, writing for the majority opinion, reasoned that 'a 911 call has some features that allow for identifying and tracking callers' as well as for recording their calls, both of which he believed gave anonymous callers enough reliability for police officers to act on their tips with reasonable suspicion against the people being reported.

The specific case before them involved an anonymous woman who called 911 to report a driver who forced her off the road. She gave the driver's license plate number and the make and model of his car as well as the location of the incident in question. Police officers later found him, pulled him over, smelled marijuana, and searched his car. They found 30 pounds of weed and subsequently arrested the driver. The driver later challenged the constitutionality of the arrest, claiming that a tip from an anonymous source was unreliable and therefore failed to meet the criteria of reasonable suspicion, which would have justified the stop and search. Five of the nine justices disagreed with him."
The ruling itself (PDF).
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Supreme Court OKs Stop and Search Based On Anonymous 911 Tips

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  • by EmagGeek (574360) <gterich@@@aol...com> on Wednesday April 23, 2014 @09:42AM (#46822553) Journal

    If someone who doesn't like me makes an "anonymous" call to 911 to report that I'm running meth lab in my garage, does that also give the cops the right to ransack my house looking for a meth lab?

    It's sad that "probable cause" has been diluted to the point that it has.

    Hasn't this already been going on with "anonymous" tips from the DEA and DHS leading to traffic stops where "parallel construction" is used to fabricate grounds for probable cause after the fact? I guess this ruling removes the need to do the whole "parallel construction" thing?

  • DUI checkpoints (Score:3, Interesting)

    by schneidafunk (795759) on Wednesday April 23, 2014 @09:50AM (#46822657)

    Just to play devil's advocate, how is this more invasive than DUI checkpoints?

  • by Wapiti-eater (759089) on Wednesday April 23, 2014 @10:33AM (#46823141)
    Why would the driver have to consent? The drive for "public security" has already diminished our rights to the point that as soon as the officer states he 'smelled weed', he has all the consent he needs. Maybe you need to take a look at reality and hopefully begin to understand the severe slope we're already sliding down. What's next? Paying kids with new uniforms to turn in their parents for cussing?
  • by CrimsonAvenger (580665) on Wednesday April 23, 2014 @10:37AM (#46823193)

    For Christ's sakes, this guy ran the woman off the road, was under the influence, and on slashdot - she is the bad guy.

    I gather that you have evidence that this woman was run off the road by this guy?

    Other than her 911 call, I mean.

    Did the police go to the site of the incident? Not that I've read anywhere.

    Did the police take her statement officially? Again, I've not seen anything hint that they de-anonymized (is that a word? If not, it should be) her by actually talking to her or anything.

    From all I've read, she called 911, reported something that got the police to hunting for the vehicle (which they found 18 miles from the purported incident), the police checked him for drunken driving, found he wasn't, then searched his car for drugs, found he was carrying a lot of weed.

  • by erroneus (253617) on Wednesday April 23, 2014 @10:48AM (#46823343) Homepage

    Can you substantiate that claim? There are police who routinely harass people on the basis of 9-1-1 calls where people complain of something which is 100% legal. (I speak of open carry activity)

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