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Whren v. the United States, 517 US 806 – Supreme Court 1996

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Facts

Whren v. United States is a lawsuit that entered the Supreme Court of the US. The dispute occurred between young African American Michael Whren and the United States. Whren’s motion says that the search of the car in which he was a passenger by officers in an unmarked car was a violation of the 4th Amendment (prohibition of unreasonable search and seizure). The reason is that the police used a minor traffic violation to search the car, which resulted in confiscating two bags of crack cocaine. Because police officers did not have reasonable evidence to search the car, the stop was considered by Whren as an unconstitutional seizure. Whren was able to petition the Supreme Court because the District Court and Court of Appeals affirmed the conviction.

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Issue

Did the police officers violate the 4th Amendment by the seizure and search of a car, which was stopped because of a minor traffic violation?

Holding

The judgment of the Court of Appeals was confirmed. Police officers did not violate the Constitution.

Reasoning

The context of reasoning proposed by the authorized opinion of Antonin Scalla is the question of whether the pretext decision of police officers to stop the vehicle can be the result of racial bias. The formal reason for violating traffic rules can be found in almost every case, so the true nature of the decision can be dictated by prejudice. The line of argumentation in the Supreme Court’s text is constructed under the principles of the ‘reasonableness test’. Scalia indicated that “subjective intentions play no role in ordinary, probable-cause Fourth Amendment analysis” (Whren v. the United States, 1996, p. 813). In Whren’s case, there was an evident violation when Whren’s driver James Brown highly, increased the speed with the aim of avoiding the car’s search.

Reference

Whren v. the United States, 517 US 806 (1996). Web.

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StudyCorgi. "Whren v. the United States, 517 US 806 – Supreme Court 1996." January 24, 2023. https://studycorgi.com/whren-v-the-united-states-517-us-806-supreme-court-1996/.

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StudyCorgi. 2023. "Whren v. the United States, 517 US 806 – Supreme Court 1996." January 24, 2023. https://studycorgi.com/whren-v-the-united-states-517-us-806-supreme-court-1996/.

References

StudyCorgi. (2023) 'Whren v. the United States, 517 US 806 – Supreme Court 1996'. 24 January.

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