The Supreme Court ruled this week that police officers will not be held accountable for violating the rights of Americans if they have a “mistaken understanding” of legislation.
In other words, if a cop doesn’t know the law, they can do whatever they want to you.
The ruling stems from an incident in 2009 when a police officer violated the Fourth Amendment by stopping and searching a driver’s vehicle after making up his own law.
The New York Times reports:
The case arose from a traffic stop in North Carolina based on a broken brake light. But state law there required only a single working “stop lamp,” which the car in question had.
In an opinion by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., the Supreme Court ruled that the officer’s mistake was reasonable and so did not run afoul of the Fourth Amendment’s ban on unreasonable searches and seizures.
The driver gave officer Matt Darisse consent to search the vehicle, in which he found a bag of cocaine. The cop stole the drugs, according to the filing, but would not have been able to do so had the illegal traffic stop not occurred in the first instance.
Eight of the nine Justices of the court agreed that Darisse’s mistaken understanding of the law was reasonable, and therefore the traffic stop was valid.
Sonia Sotomayor was the one justice who disagreed, noting that the ruling “means further eroding the Fourth Amendment’s protection of civil liberties in a context where that protection has already been worn down.”
In a written statement, Chief Justice Roberts claimed that the court’s decision “does not discourage officers from learning the law,” arguing that only objectively reasonable mistakes would be acceptable.
“An officer can gain no Fourth Amendment advantage,” the chief justice wrote, “through a sloppy study of the laws he is duty-bound to enforce.”
While the Supreme Court has upheld the right to film police officers, it has also ruled this year that police can stop US drivers based purely on anonymous tip offs. Indeed, over the past decade, the court has routinely ruled in lockstep with the trend toward a police state.
John W. Whitehead of rights group The Rutherford Institute provides an excellent in depth analysis on the court’s latest ruling and how it enables a power overreach in law enforcement.
Steve Watson is a London based writer and editor for Alex Jones’ Infowars.com, and Prisonplanet.com. He has a Masters Degree in International Relations from the School of Politics at The University of Nottingham, and a Bachelor Of Arts Degree in Literature and Creative Writing from Nottingham Trent University.