Virginia v. Moore Decided

December 10, 2007

Whether the Fourth Amendment bars the government from relying on evidence seized following an arrest that state law prohibits. DECIDED

Under established Fourth Amendment law, the power to search someone incident to arrest does not include the power to search someone who receives a summons (for a traffic violation, for example) but is not arrested. It is up to the states to decide which minor offenses can lead to arrest, and which cannot. The question in this case is what happens when the police arrest someone for a minor traffic offense that the state has concluded should not lead to arrest, and then searches the offender incident to the unlawful arrest. The Virginia Supreme Court ruled, and the ACLU agrees, that such searches are unreasonable under the Fourth Amendment and any evidence obtained as a result of the search is inadmissible.

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