SCOTUS Case on Traffic Stops Could Radically Change Your Civil Rights
The docket of the US Supreme Court (SCOTUS) is always quite busy, but one case in particular will be important for anyone pulled over on suspicion of having a revoked or suspended driver’s license. The Justices will soon decide the case of Kansas v. Glover, in which a man was detained and arrested under such circumstances. The constitutionality of this conduct – and similar conduct by police going forward – is the central issue. Some information regarding the case may help you understand some of the key questions before SCOTUS, but you should trust a Fort Lauderdale criminal attorney to handle the details.
Overview of Kansas v. Glover: The case dates back to April 2016, when a Kansas sheriff’s deputy saw Charles Glover, Jr. driving by. Though the officer didn’t observe any traffic violations and couldn’t identify the motorist operating the vehicle, he ran the plates and found that Glover had a revoked driver’s license. The deputy pulled him over and charged him with driving on a revoked license as a habitual violator.
By motion, Glover argued that the stop violated his Fourth Amendment rights against unlawful search and seizure by police. He sought to suppress any evidence resulting from the illegal stop, including his suspended driver’s license. Though the trial court denied the motion, the case made its way to the Kansas Supreme Court – which sided with Glover in 2018. The key finding was that the officer had no reasonable suspicion that the vehicle registered to Glover was actually being driven by him.
Key Question Before SCOTUS: The State of Kansas appealed the decision to SCOTUS, which will hear oral arguments in early November 2019. The central issue is whether or not police have the requisite reasonable suspicion to pull a vehicle over simply because it’s registered to someone with a revoked driver’s license.
Arguments Regarding Fourth Amendment Rights: Organizations and individuals siding with Glover assert that allowing officers to conduct searches and seizures without reasonable suspicion violates the Fourth Amendment. They’re essentially going by a hunch that the person who’s driving is the one whose license is suspended. The fact is that many families have multiple drivers sharing a car, though only one or two people are registered owners.
The US Department of Justice and attorneys general of 17 US states are on the other side of the issue with the State of Kansas. Their position is that stops to apprehend a driver with a suspended license are reasonable because they only impose a minimal intrusion – if that motorist is NOT the one registered to the vehicle and does NOT have a revoked license. Another aspect of their argument is that these stops protect the public, a priority interest.
Contact a Florida Criminal Defense Lawyer for Additional Information
Any criminal case that rests on civil rights and the US or Florida Constitutions will involve extremely complicated issues, but these complexities may be the difference between an acquittal or guilty verdict. For more information about criminal defense strategies, please contact the Fort Lauderdale offices of attorney Kevin J. Kulik. We can schedule a no-cost, confidential consultation to discuss your circumstances.