View Full Version : U.S. Supreme Court Rules 8-1 that Citizens Have No Protection Against Fourth Amendment Violations by Police Officers Ignorant of the Law

28th December 2014, 14:16
In a blow to the constitutional rights of citizens, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 8-1 in Heien v. State of North Carolina that police officers are permitted to violate American citizens’ Fourth Amendment rights if the violation results from a “reasonable” mistake about the law on the part of police. Acting contrary to the venerable principle that “ignorance of the law is no excuse,” the Court ruled that evidence obtained by police during a traffic stop that was not legally justified can be used to prosecute the person if police were reasonably mistaken that the person had violated the law. The Rutherford Institute had asked the U.S. Supreme Court to hold law enforcement officials accountable to knowing and abiding by the rule of law. Justice Sonia Sotomayor, the Court’s lone dissenter, warned that the court’s ruling “means further eroding the Fourth Amendment’s protection of civil liberties in a context where that protection has already been worn down.”

“By refusing to hold police accountable to knowing and abiding by the rule of law, the Supreme Court has given government officials a green light to routinely violate the law,” said John W. Whitehead, president of The Rutherford Institute and author of the award-winning book A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State. “This case may have started out with an improper traffic stop, but where it will end—given the turbulence of our age, with its police overreach, military training drills on American soil, domestic surveillance, SWAT team raids, asset forfeiture, wrongful convictions, and corporate corruption—is not hard to predict. This ruling is what I would call a one-way, nonrefundable ticket to the police state.”

In April 2009, a Surry County (N.C.) law enforcement officer stopped a car traveling on Interstate 77, allegedly because of a brake light which at first failed to illuminate and then flickered on. The officer mistakenly believed that state law prohibited driving a car with one broken brake light. In fact, the state traffic law requires only one working brake light. Nevertheless, operating under a mistaken understanding of the law, during the course of the stop, the officer asked for permission to search the car. Nicholas Heien, the owner of the vehicle, granted his consent to a search. Upon the officer finding cocaine in the vehicle, he arrested and charged Heien with trafficking. Prior to his trial, Heien moved to suppress the evidence seized in light of the fact that the officer’s pretext for the stop was erroneous and therefore unlawful. Although the trial court denied the motion to suppress evidence, the state court of appeals determined that since the police officer had based his initial stop of the car on a mistaken understanding of the law, there was no valid reason for the stop in the first place. On appeal, the North Carolina Supreme Court ruled that even though the officer was wrong in concluding that the inoperable brake light was an offense, because the officer’s mistake was a “reasonable” one, the stop of the car did not violate the Fourth Amendment and the evidence resulting from the stop did not need to be suppressed. In weighing in on the case before the U.S. Supreme Court, Rutherford Institute attorneys warn against allowing government agents to “benefit” from their mistakes of law, deliberate or otherwise, lest it become an incentive for abuse.

Affiliate attorney Christopher F. Moriarty assisted The Rutherford Institute in advancing the arguments in the amicus brief before the U.S. Supreme Court.

https://www.rutherford.org/publications_resources/on_the_front_lines/supreme_court_rules_8_1_that_citizens_have_no_prot ection_against_fourth_ame

28th December 2014, 14:30
Oh boy, Gustapo here we come. They'd better watch their a** on this one. People are just plain tired of injustice. Injustice anywhere, is injustice everywhere, for you never know when they'll use the cover up. In a kidnapping or missing child sex slave trade and dirty cops, I'd watch it. Some of the Rumsfeld holy riders, are on the forces and they are from KKK groups in prison.

28th December 2014, 14:51
For years the so-called "government" at all levels has been actively thwarting citizens' efforts to hold any civil servants/public officials accountable to the Law. However, this supreme court decision is really in our face.

It is starting to appear like they are intentionally trying to get people to rebel against the "government", especially on the subject of police brutality, perhaps with the intention of implementing "martial law".


craig mitchell
28th December 2014, 17:06
Thanks Jerry for the post, I didn't know about this one. They failed in Furgeson to ignite their much needed race war across the U.S.ofA. so this is the latest provocation. And this from the "supreme" court! (no capitals needed, or earned)

@Lifebringer....."Some of the Rumsfeld holy riders, are on the forces and they are from KKK groups in prison." Can you give me something to go on with this?


28th December 2014, 17:27
Yah!, that is unbelievable!, the Court of Justice functioned in "reverse"!

The benefit of the doubt not knowing the interpretation of the law is given to the Law, not the people!

Another blow to the downward spiral to the overpowering of the State over the people!

28th December 2014, 20:02
Thanks for posting this. Sotomayor was right to vote against this, however they lost their fourth amendment rights the moment they consented to the search. Personally I don't consent to searches, retaining my rights, if they want to bring in a dog to smell my car, that's fine with me. I can not imagine being a drug user, having drugs in my car and giving the po po permission to find it! School boy error in my opinion. As to the wider implications of this trial, they are not good, if ignorance of the law can get me into trouble, like the person in this case, then the po po, being the enforcers of said laws should at the very least, understand the law they enforce... Troubling times indeed... N

28th December 2014, 21:24
There is just too much force against the people by the elite, on too many fronts in too many parts of the world all at once. Rather than bringing peace, order and liberty, the outcome becomes violence, chaos, enslavement and suffering. It's quickly coming to a point when we the people on a global scale need to proclaim we've had enough of this, we need a reform at the very core of how our world is operated. A civilization that is facing this much force against it will sooner or later collapse when it does not do healthy loving counter measures. We can solve this as a world community, without violence. World peace NOW!