WASHINGTON, D.C., (CBS13/AP) – The Supreme Court says an anonymous tip can be sufficient to justify a decision by police to pull a car over on suspicion of reckless or drunken driving.
The justices voted 5-4 Tuesday to uphold a traffic stop in Mendocino County in which officers subsequently found marijuana in the vehicle in 2008. The officers themselves did not see any evidence of reckless driving.
Justice Clarence Thomas said the tip phoned in to 911 that a Ford pickup truck had run the caller off the road was sufficiently reliable to allow for the traffic stop without violating the driver’s constitutional rights.
Justice Antonin Scalia wrote the dissent in which he called Thomas’ opinion “a freedom-destroying cocktail.”
A 911 caller had anonymously reported nearly being run off the road by the truck, prompting a law enforcement alert that led to the California Highway Patrol officers making the stop.
The CHP officers reported smelling marijuana and searched the truck where they would find four bags of marijuana in the truck bed. Lorenzo Navarette and his brother Jose Navarette were charged with drug-related crimes.
Copyright 2014 The Associated Press.