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Univ. of San Diego School of Law

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Monday, December 13, 2004

New Fourth Amendment Decision From Supreme Court

Today the Supreme Court decided Devenpeck v. Alford, No. 03-710.  Holding:  "A warrantless arrest is reasonable under the Fourth Amendment if the arresting officer has probable cause to believe a crime has been or is being committed, even if the offense for which probable cause exists is not "closely related" to the offense the arresting officer identifies at the time of arrest."  [Mark Godsey]

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/crimprof_blog/2004/12/new_fourth_amen.html

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Comments

Devenpeck is distrubing. Only this Court would hold that a police officer need not know why he is arresting someone, if a hypothetical reasonable police officer would have had probable cause to make the arrest.

As a private citizen I must know the law or face criminal liability. The police can plead ignorance of the law to escape the much less daunting prospect of civil liability.

Still, the Court won't allow regular joes to assert mistake of fact or law as a defense to a crime.

I guess protecting the bottom line of local governments is more constitutionally significant than keeping a citizen who acts in good faith out of prison.

Posted by: Mike | Dec 13, 2004 10:23:29 AM

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