Chief Justice Says State DUI Ruling Dangerous

by on October 20, 2009

in DUI

The US Supreme Court as a whole decided not to take up a Virginia case that decided an anonymous call is not sufficient evidence by itself for police to pull over a car.But Chief Justice John Roberts indicated that he wanted to the court to take on the case and made the rule clear for all states. Currently 3 other states don’t allow anonymous phone calls to so-called “Drunk Busters Hotlines” to be the sole basis for the police to track down and stop a driver on the highway.

This article in the Star Tribune notes that Roberts believes the Virginia court decision grants people “one free swerve” before being stopped, and that this is dangerous to public safety.

Crime Scene KC asks “Is a tipster’s word enough to justify a traffic stop?” In Kansas and Missouri, under the law, it absolutely is. But is that fair?

Is it truly a significant burden to either a) require a tipster to leave their name and contact information, or b) have a police officer actually observe someone engaging in dangerous driving or other traffic violations before pulling them over?

Anonymous calls to police have implications in more than just DUI cases. Allowing anonymous tips without any corroboration is practically inviting abuse and governmental overreach. With this standard, the police can essentially pull anyone over for any reason, chalking it up to an “anonymous” tip, that they can either make up or manufacturer themselves.

And this is unfortunately the law in Kansas.

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