American law enforcement can now forcibly pull motorists over based solely on the anonymous “911” tips they receive from highway rats.
The high court’s opinion finds that this societal expansion of big brother in the streets is in no way unconstitutional, because “a 911 call has some features that allow for identifying and tracking callers.” However, while the majority agreed with Justice Clarence Thomas, the verdict struck a dissenting nerve in Justice Antonin Scalia.
“The Court’s opinion serves up a freedom-destroying cocktail consisting of two parts patent falsity: (1) that anonymous 911 reports of traffic violations are reliable so long as they correctly identify a car and its location, and (2) that a single instance of careless or reckless driving necessarily supports a reasonable suspicion of drunkenness,” Scalia said in a statement.
“All the malevolent 911 caller need do is assert a traffic violation, and the targeted car will be stopped, forcibly if necessary, by the police. If the driver turns out not to be drunk (which will almost always be the case), the caller need fear no consequences even if 911 knows his identity,” he added.
This case was provoked by an incident that happened about six years ago in California, in which an anonymous 911 caller reported that a truck had run her off the road. The caller was able to provide the police with a location, as well a description of the truck and its license plate number. When police finally caught up to the suspected highway hellraiser, Jose Prado Navarette, officers reported smelling marijuana permeating from the truck… a search ensued.
In the end, Navarette was busted for transporting 30 pounds of marijuana, but his attorney argued that the charges should be dismissed because the initial traffic stop was unconstitutional, since officers did not have reasonable suspicion to stop him in the first place.
The Supreme Court disagreed; stating that as long as the anonymous tip includes enough details an officer can establish reasonable suspicion based on that information.
“We have firmly rejected the argument that reasonable cause for an investigative stop can only be based on the officer’s personal observation, rather than on information supplied by another person,” Thomas wrote on behalf of the majority.
“The officer was therefore justified in proceeding from the premise that the truck has, in fact, caused the caller’s car to be dangerously diverted from the highway,” he continued. “Running another vehicle off the road suggests lane positioning problems, decreased vigilance, impaired judgment, or some combination of those recognized drunk driving cues.”
Be careful out there, kids!
Mike Adams writes for stoners and smut enthusiasts in HIGH TIMES, Playboy’s The Smoking Jacket and Hustler Magazine. You can follow him on Twitter @adamssoup and on Facebook/mikeadams73.