CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

New Article Spotlight: Computerized Search Decisionmakingg

UC Davis CrimProf Elizabeth E. Joh has forthcoming in the California Law Review: "Discretionless Policing: Technology and the Fourth Amendment" The abstract:

What if we could eliminate police discretion from traffic stops? What if a computer could accomplish what police officers do, with efficiency and accuracy, and more important, without racial prejudice? How would this technology work? Would its use be consistent with the Fourth Amendment? And if constitutional, would the public accept this automated enforcement? Could the war on drugs continue, once traffic stops became discretionless? This scenario isn't just a thought experiment. The technology and a plan to automate law enforcement exist, yet neither has received serious attention. An automated enforcement program would eliminate stops based not only on excessive speeding, but on nearly all the most frequently used justifications to stop drivers, including record checks and other vehicle code violations. If the war on drugs continued to exist, it would no longer use the traffic stop. Recent federal regulatory approval for the technical standards for the federal intelligent highway initiative shows that this is a real and practicable solution to the problem of police discretion in traffic stops, one that sidesteps entrenched difficulties in Fourth Amendment law and politics.

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I suppose I now have to read the paper, but does the paper suggest police not stop people going 80 in a 25 zone, or for running red lights?

Or, as rereading seems to indicate, is it suggesting that police don't stop cars at all, merely fine the owners of the vehicle?

Of course, that has just been found unconstitutional in one state, and what does one do about stolen vehicles and kidnapped people and so forth.

Ah well, I'll comment again after reading the paper.

Posted by: Leo | Mar 15, 2006 10:19:05 PM

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