Monday, June 18, 2007

SCOTUS: Passengers are Seized When Officer Makes Traffic Stop

Today the Supreme Court decided Brendlin v. California (previewed here), holding unanimously:
When a police officer makes a traffic stop, the driver of the car is seized within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment. The question in this case is whether the same is true of a passenger. We hold that a passenger is seized as well, and so may challenge the constitutionality of the stop.

This has been the law in the Fifth Circuit for some time. You'll still want to keep Brendlin in mind, though, because it's a handy primer on the law governing the test for when a seizure occurs.

Those who can't get enough of Brendlin can find additional commentary at the Volokh Conspiracy, SCOTUSblog, Prawfsblawg, and probably elsewhere.



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