Supreme Court: Illegally Obtained Evidence Can Be Used Against You
By: Joshua Kraus
In the United States, everyone is supposed to have certain legal rights regardless of their innocence or guilt. One legal protection that even the guiltiest of citizens must have, is to be safe from illegal searches and seizures. Evidence that is obtained illegally shouldn’t be admissible in court.
Unfortunately that may not be the case anymore. The Supreme Court recently ruled in favor of the police in the case of Joseph Edward Strieff, who was stopped by a detective in Salt Lake City for an unpaid parking ticket. Strieff was searched by the detective, who discovered methamphetamine on him, which led to his arrest. The search however was illegal since there was no reasonable suspicion that Strieff was breaking the law. He was only guilty of failing to pay a parking ticket, which would not have led to jail time.
By ruling in favor of Detective Fackrell, the Supreme Court has set a dangerous precedent. In certain circumstances, illegally obtained evidence can be used against you in court, which may open the door for the police to abuse our 4th Amendment rights.
Justice Clarence Thomas, who ruled in favor of the detective, explained that since the officer’s search wasn’t a flagrant violation of the law, the evidence he discovered is still admissible. “While Officer Fackrell’s decision to initiate the stop was mistaken, his conduct thereafter was lawful.”
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg and Sonia Sotomayor ruled against the detective. Sotomayor explained in her dissent that “The court today holds that the discovery of a warrant for an unpaid parking ticket will forgive a police officer’s violation of your Fourth Amendment rights.” Justice Elena Kagan added to that dissent, saying that the ruling “creates unfortunate incentives for the police — indeed practically invites them to do what Fackrell did here.”
Editors Note: Images and video added by TLB
Joshua Krause is a reporter, writer and researcher at The Daily Sheeple. He was born and raised in the Bay Area and is a freelance writer and author. You can follow Joshua’s reports at Facebook or on his personalTwitter. Joshua’s website is Strange Danger .