Supreme Court says police may use evidence found after illegal stops, if you are found to have an outstanding warrant and the search was performed subsequent to a valid arrest based on that warrant.
Make no mistake about it, this is a win for the police power and weakens the protections of the 4th Amendment. The fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures lives on but not for people who have outstanding warrants. In many situations this may include people with unpaid parking or speeding tickets.
See the below excerpt from the Supreme Court’s ruling.
”Facts: Narcotics detective Douglas Fackrell conducted surveillance on a South Salt Lake City residence based on an anonymous tip about drug activity. The number of people he observed making brief visits to the house over the course of a week made him suspicious that the occupants were dealing drugs. After observing respondent Edward Strieff leave the residence, Officer Fackrell detained Strieff at a nearby parking lot, identifying himself and asking Strieff what he was doing at the house. He then requested Strieff’s identification and relayed the information to a police dispatcher, who informed him that Strieff had an outstanding arrest warrant for a traffic violation. Officer Fackrell arrested Strieff, searched him, and found methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia. Strieff moved to suppress the evidence, arguing that it was derived from an unlawful investigatory stop. The trial court denied the motion, and the Utah Court of Appeals affirmed. The Utah Supreme Court reversed, however, and ordered the evidence suppressed.
Held: The evidence Officer Fackrell seized incident to Strieff’s arrest is admissible based on an application of the attenuation factors from Brown v. Illinois, 422 U. S. 590. In this case, there was no flagrant police misconduct. Therefore, Officer Fackrell’s discovery of a valid, pre-existing, and untainted arrest warrant attenuated the connection between the unconstitutional investigatory stop and the evidence seized incident to a lawful arrest. We hold that the evidence Officer Fackrell seized as part of his search incident to arrest is admissible because his discovery of the arrest warrant attenuated the connection between the unlawful stop and the evidence seized from Strieff incident to arrest.” (cited from slip opinion http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/15pdf/14-1373_83i7.pdf) Utah v Strieff, 579 U. S. ____ (2016); reversing 2015 UT 2, 357 P. 3d 532.
A link to the New York Time’s article on the Supreme Court’s opinion: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/21/us/supreme-court-says-police-may-use-evidence-found-after-illegal-stops.html