Who knew? Supreme Court remembers the Fourth Amendment

Supreme Court Says Police Violated 4th Amendment When Use of Drug-Sniffing Dog Prolonged Routine Traffic Stop

In a 6-3 decision issued today in the case of Rodriguez v. United States, the U.S. Supreme Court held that Nebraska police violated the Fourth Amendment by extending an otherwise lawful traffic stop in order to let a drug-sniffing dog investigate the outside of the vehicle.

According to the majority opinion of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, which was joined by Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Antonin Scalia, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan, “a police stop exceeding the time needed to handle the matter for which the stop was made violates the Constitution’s shield against unreasonable seizures.” […]

During the January 2015 oral argument in the case, Justice Sonia Sotomayor previewed the Court’s skepticism towards the police officer’s approach. “We can’t keep bending the Fourth Amendment to the resources of law enforcement,” Sotomayor declared. “Particularly when this stop is not incidental to the purpose of the stop. It’s purely to help the police get more criminals, yes. But then the Fourth Amendment becomes a useless piece of paper.”


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29 Responses to Who knew? Supreme Court remembers the Fourth Amendment

  1. darkcycle says:

    Gee,I thought the world revolved around dog sniffs…infallible, but apparently subject to time limits.
    Kinda surprised that they don’t think the humans need to wait for nose of god….er…dog.

  2. Servetus says:

    There is more good news for the Fourth Amendment. A federal judge has ruled against the FBI in a case that also affects drug agents.

    Agents are now prohibited from employing ruses in which the consent to enter is “involuntary”. An involuntary entry is an entry in which there is considered an emergency, such as for water or gas leaks, or if a cable Internet connection is deliberately disrupted by the police in order to gain access to a private dwelling…

    April 18, 2015 — In 1966, the Supreme Court authorized an agent to pose as a drug buyer to get consent to go inside a house. In 1980, an agent posing as a drug dealer’s chauffeur was upheld. Seven years later, agents posed as real estate investors to access a bedroom and closet of a suspect. And in 1989, an agent posed as a UPS delivery man to get inside a drug house, the government argued.

    But operatives posing as gas company or water district workers seeking permission to enter the premises to check for leaks were deemed illegal searches. That’s because the occupants provided “involuntary” consent to enter because they were duped into believing a life-threatening emergency was afoot, Phua’s defense pointed out.

    The ruling means all other types of fraud employed by government agents to circumvent Fourth Amendment privacy protections is perfectly okay—that we’re supposed to be thankful we’ve been tossed a few crumbs of juridical legitimacy by the government. The DoJ will need to do better than this if they want to avoid being overrun by angry mobs. Eliminating the drug laws that prompted this kind of policing behavior will be the only way to be rid of it.

  3. Dante says:

    Off topic:


    She (apparently) resigned today. Good riddance.

  4. Sotomayor is right, “We can’t keep bending the Fourth Amendment to the resources of law enforcement,”.

    Bend it? Hell, they broke it.

    This isn’t Japanese Bonzai tree 101. Patriot act, Citizens United, CSA and commerce clause. Rulings to favor government and law enforcement to fight the drug war have all but made a disappearing act out of the bill of rights. http://tinyurl.com/ovy5alz

    Nice ruling as a starting move in the right direction, but hardly enough to address the problem in its entirety. http://tinyurl.com/kegmpsh

    Just the tip of the iceberg in drug war damage done to the constitution.

  5. Duncan20903 says:


    Well some days you just can’t win. Here’s a link to a video of an LEO smashing a woman’s smart phone because she was recording him. Will the police figure out a way to reconcile their policies and social contract to reflect the reality of the 21st Century? Watching me watching you watching me, no doubt.

    • tensity1 says:

      I just read an article stating that the Supremes had ruled that recording law enforcement in public is permitted . . . you know, 1st amendment and all that jazz. I guess they struck down some state laws forbidding recording, but I guess no one informed the “we don’t make the laws, we only enforce them” brigade.

      • Windy says:

        Cops don’t really know the actual laws and statutes, they just wing it and constantly try to enforce their personal opinion of what should be illegal, including the recording of their public activities (which you correctly point out SCOTUS ruled on, twice, saying it IS legal for the populace to record them in public).

  6. Duncan20903 says:


    I’m sure that all of us here are aware of at least one school child who, after attending a DARE indoctrination, turned in his/her parents “in order to get them “help'”. Here’s the story of an 11 year old being placed in protective custody for knowing the actual facts. This one is from the “yeah right, what about ‘the children’?” category:

    Kansas mom loses custody of son, 11, after he gives marijuana speech

    They don’t call it DARE anymore but it quacks like a duck and waddles like a duck.

    • darkcycle says:

      Yup, there’s nothing more indicative of druggie parents than some little kid who knows the truth. No “good parent” allows their child to go about with nasty, dirty facts on their pristine lips. “Good parents” only inculcate lies and propaganda. Don’t they know the truth is DANGEROUS and SUBVERSIVE, and must never be shared with innocents?
      (Although I do not think it is needed, /Snark off/)

      • Duncan20903 says:


        Well it is nice to see at least some parents who teach their kids the truth. I’m wondering why the heck didn’t they teach Junior to keep his mouth shut within hearing range of a jack booted thug?

        I’m sure I’ve mentioned that a long time ago that I would skip reproducing on purpose. Fortunately my sperm suffer an extreme case of amotivational syndrome so it also didn’t happen by accident. But that leaves me with no personal knowledge of interacting with school administrators and bureaucrats. So my question is, don’t they make parents sign a permission form before the children are force fed that particular brand of indoctrination?

        • Windy says:

          I am constantly urging people to remove their children from the public schools. My kids went to public school when they were still, sort of, teaching civics, though the indoctrination was becoming obvious. Luckily my kids had me to teach them the truth, my grandkids are seriously lacking in knowledge about the Founding, the Founding Documents, and how the governments federal and State) are supposed to function, and how free the people are supposed to be, I raised them when they were little (I was their caregiver while their parents were working), but at the ages where they should have been learning civics, I was no longer picking them up from school and keeping them until their parents got home, instead their parents deemed them old enough to not need a babysitter any longer, so I had less influence on them.

          If you want your children to know about these important matters, and you leave them in public schools, YOU need to teach them civics, yourselves. If you don’t have the time or the knowledge to teach them yourselves you should remove them and hire a tutor, put them in a good private school, or let them unschool with a little direction at the beginning of the day.

    • tensity1 says:

      This woman’s plight so pisses me off. I love how there was a “lab” to manufacture oil sitting on the kitchen counter, and the fuckers even had the audacity to say this was all about the child’s welfare, that the “lab” equipment was within easy reach. What, a slow cooker? Cheesecloth? Vegetable glycerine? A Magic Butter machine? Suuure the kid said there was all kinds of drug use going on in the house. What a nice, convenient excuse so the cops can play a game of Punch the Hippie–you know, for her child’s protection and betterment.

      • Windy says:

        They did more than just kidnap her child, they shut down her facebook page so she could not continue her gofundme campaign to fund her defense, and then they barred her from entering her own home. If thoughts could […] well you know, those assholes need to suffer for what they are doing to her and her child.

  7. DdC says:

    What I Learned at the DEA Museum @HuffPostBlog
    http://huff.to/1H9VGpq via @HuffPostPol

  8. free radical says:

    Can I get some feedback on this? I have my opinion, but would like to hear yours.
    Meanwhile, here comes a big ol’ fatty boombalatty blunt on the left hand sizzide!


    • NorCalNative says:

      I say go bigger and freakier. Fuck the haters.

      Mostly-smoked blunt (I take huge hits) coming back at ya.

    • Duncan20903 says:


      Stockholm syndrome.

      If he was in the U.S. I’d ask the writer why the heck he believes that any cohort of 25 million people would walk in lockstep and speak with one voice. Then apply the likelihood that the members of our cohort members may have only 1 thing in common, that being a strong sense of individualism. Now we’re way way past the sublime and way past the ridiculous.

      By the way, 4/20 is a celebration, not a political statement. Do people go to the park for a bar-b-que on the 4th of July?

      Every year in April for over a decade I’ve pondered the thought of just how stunning it is that we’ve stolen a day on the calendar. I’ve got a news flash for Mr. Reynolds: we’re not giving it back.

  9. free radical says:

    Peter Reynolds of UK’s CLEAR organization asserts that public smoke-ins, such as occur on 4/20, are counterproductive to the cause of legalization. Any thoughts?

    • Justin Auldphart says:

      He may have a point…I have always thought that anytime a big event like that happens, the media will gravitate to the more flamboyant of the participants..you know the ones with the outlandish costumes or the young lass in a gossamer gown, playing “oh Wow, like look at the clouds!!”….all the while passing by the modestly dressed, clean cut older guy or gal who just likes their weed…this never plays well in Peoria as the dimwits will suspect that is what the world will come to if (gasp!!) somehow sanity prevails..gays have the same image problem at many of their parades and events

  10. CJ says:

    Hello friends. I am so sorry I havent been around. Believe it or not, your favorite heroin addict has been… dealing with matters of romance lately… who would ever have thought, right?? I have been so busy sticking myself with needles, I forgot of mine own capability to stick others w… erm.. nevermind, thats gonna take this comment in a totally different direction. Excuse me. Nevertheless, it has been so long, naturally, because of my lifestyle and the isolation that accompanies it. I forgot how wonderful it can be to share with someone else, especially when they are an awesome person, but I also forgot all the other BS that comes with it. Reading into stuff, getting your feelings hurt (sometimes intentionally, usually unintentionally) etc. It reminded me, actually, how a big part of my drug use began, it began, coping with the break up of a long time girlfriend.

    I am priviledged to share my facebook friendship with some of the readers of Petes page here. They may or may not have noticed, I dont know if its really that noticeable, there is a certain… uh… “unusual” i guess, dynamic, to the situation that prevents me from being very public about it. Nevertheless, I am actually really pleased with the friends I’ve made on facebook through drug reform sites like this. Viggo and Curtis Creek come to mind as some good dudes, especially Curtis. My facebook username is UnionJack if anyone is interested. My name wont be CJ, it will be Remmy Skye which is going to be my legal name when my parents die, out of respect to them I haven’t changed it yet.

    Anyway, I wanted to say that I did not forget my commitment to rep our cause in the upcoming AIDS WALK NYC. I sure as hell am. If I cant put together a shirt promoting this site and others then I will wear my INSITE safe injection site shirt that I ordered from INSITE and that I have worn proudly all over the city, it is a sure fire way to get dirty looks from people throughout NYC, especially, I find, older persons, on the subway. Nobody has had the audacity to try and argue with me about it though I do see their stares.

    Anyways, I had been thinking about this AIDS walk thing. When I was a very young man my father who is a hair dresser was heavily involved in the early AIDS walks, the hair industry has a majority of homosexual males in it (versus hetero) and so many people we knew died over the years, especially the early-mid 90s. These men, as a child, I had no idea what gay or straight was, but I called one “Aunt Tony” and the other my fairy godmother lol. They loved it. No discrimination.

    But heres the thing, it is a HUGE MISTAKE to think the AIDS WALK is about JUST GAYS and JUST GAY RIGHTS and just GAY AIDS. DUDE AIDS kills heroin users. STRAIGHT UP. And this is my whole point: if anybody is gonna start with me over the shirt or my being there, I swear to God I will give them such hell. I will not have the memory of mine dead friends disrespected by anybody. Drug Reform has a place in the AIDS walk and drug reform has a place in the entire AIDS stratosphere.

    Infact, im going to try and order another INSITE shirt, or, like I’d said, if I can put together a cool shirt to rep the sites… ill have two, ill see if I cant convince this beautiful girl (who has had a life just like mine own in terms of heroin use) to come with and march along side me.

    And anybody else in NYC in the community who would like to join me (and hopefully her) please, by all means. Wed need to talk about it though because evidently there is a process that need be done to register as a “team”. Its simple though, dont be afraid.

    Hope youve all been well!

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  12. n.t. greene says:

    Someone call me when LEOs actually stop blowing their noses with the bill of rights.

    I love how human fallability is a problem but dogs trained by humans are often percieved as perfect. Its not the fault of the vehicle, its the fault of the handler.

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