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US Supreme Court allows for scorn ex-lovers, envious co-workers, jealous neighbors, etc. to anonymously call 911 and have you stopped for DUI!!! Yes, I'm serious...

Posted by Nathan Webb | Apr 25, 2014 | 0 Comments

Recently the Supreme Court of the United States of America (SCOTUS) ruled in Naverette v. California that an uncorroborated 911 call alleging a "drunk driver" was sufficient in and of itself to allow law enforcement to stop the suspected driver.

This ruling effectively strips away the Fourth Amendment rights of every US citizen. Can you imagine a scorn lover, an envious neighbor or some other person who has some sort of beef with another being able to simply call 911 alleging drunk driving and have law enforcement then stop someone. The Court in Navarette v. California held that the tip alone was sufficient to allow a stop for suspected drunk driving.

The court reasoned the anonymous caller's description was essentially credible because a 911 tipster would not have done so with ill-will, that no one would falsely call 911!  Are they freaking serious??? Without getting into a Fourth Amendment diatribe the Court here has given law enforcement carte blanche to stop anyone based upon BS 911 calls.  Just think of all the hypotheticals you could come up with!

In Washington state however, it will be interesting how this case will be implemented as under Article I Section 7 of the Washington State Constitution citizens are afforded more protection than what is provided under the Fourth Amendment.  One such case I can reference is Campbell v. DOL wherein a similar fact pattern was argued and the court held the anonymous tipster's description of a driver (without some law enforcement corroboration of bad driving) was not sufficient to stop someone for alleged drunk driving.   We will see how all of this plays out, but it is a really really bad decision by SCOTUS and I believe anyone with a brain would agree.

About the Author

Nathan Webb

Nathan "Nate" Webb has been repeatedly recognized by Washington Law and Politics Magazine as a Super Lawyer Rising Star, named one of Seattle's Top Attorneys by Seattle Met Magazine and is rated Superb (perfect 10 out of 10) by Avvo.com.

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