EvidenceProf Blog

Editor: Colin Miller
Univ. of South Carolina School of Law

Friday, October 24, 2014

Leslie Shoebotham on Heien v. North Carolina & Police Mistakes of Law

Leslie A. Shoebotham, the Victor H. Schiro Distinguished Professor of Law at the Loyola University New Orleans College of Law, has a terrific blog post up at Hamilton and Griffin on Rights about Heien v. North Carolina. The issue that the Supreme Court is set to decide in Heien is: Whether a police officer’s mistake of law can provide the individualized suspicion that the Fourth Amendment requires to justify a traffic stop. Professor Shoebotham, who attended oral arguments in Heien, leads her post as follows:

The Supreme Court opened its new Term by hearing argument in Heien v. North Carolina, a Fourth Amendment case that asks whether a police officer’s mistaken understanding of a traffic statute—a mistake of law—can provide the requisite suspicion under the Fourth Amendment to support an investigatory stop of a vehicle. I attended oral argument and found the Justices to be frustrated by the unusual posture of the case before them. Heien seemingly grew in what amounts to a Petri dish of background North Carolina law and meticulous pruning of legal arguments—which the parties argued meant that the Court was limited to considering only the question of whether the traffic stop at issue violated the Fourth Amendment, not the consequences if the Fourth Amendment was, indeed, violated.

You can check out the rest of the post by clicking here.



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