Utah v Streiff

A person leaves a location which is being surveilled for narcotics activity. He is stopped by the police who search him and recover narcotics. There was no probable cause for the stop. There was no “reasonable suspicion” for the stop other than the location from which the individual was seen leaving just prior to the stop. After arrest, the police learn that the individual has a “warrant” for an unpaid traffic violation from years before. It would be argued that as the above stop was no good, then the evidence was inadmissible as “fruit of the poisonous tree”. This has been the bench mark of the constitutional right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure as secured by the Fourth Amendment. Not so fast says the Supreme Court in Utah v Strieff as the discovery of the warrant post arrest now legalizes the unlawful recovery of evidence.Guess who wrote the opinion?

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