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U.S. Supreme Court

Passenger May Challenge Traffic Stop

Posted Jun 18, 2007 11:23 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that a passenger in a car may challenge a police stop of the driver.

Justice David H. Souter wrote the unanimous opinion for the court, Associated Press reports. "A traffic stop necessarily curtails the travel a passenger has chosen just as much as it halts the driver," he said.

Passenger Bruce Brendlin had challenged the stop under the Fourth Amendment because he wanted to exclude evidence that led to his conviction for drug possession.

California conceded police had no basis to stop the car, but argued only the driver could challenge the stop.

The opinion is Brendlin v. California, No. 06-8120 (PDF posted by SCOTUSblog).

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