Man in handcuffs

Utah v. Strieff

Court Type: U.S. Supreme Court
Status: Closed (Judgment)
Last Update: February 3, 2016

What's at Stake

Whether the prosecution may use evidence seized after an arrest on an outstanding warrant that was only discovered after an unconstitutional stop.

The defendant in this case was unconstitutionally stopped by the police. The stop led to the discovery of an outstanding arrest warrant on a minor offense, which led to the discovery of drugs when the defendant was searched incident to arrest. The question is whether those drugs are admissible at trial. As the ACLU notes in its amicus brief, failure to apply the exclusionary rule will encourage the police to engage in random and often racially discriminatory stops in the hope of finding an outstanding warrant that will then be used as justification to engage in a search that would otherwise be impermissible.

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