AFR argues coordinated successive traffic stops must be construed as one stop under the 4th Amendment

Happy to announce the filing of another amicus curiae brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. This brief argues that if police coordinate successive stops of motorists, such stops must be analyzed as one stop under the Fourth Amendment. 

Summary of our argument:

When police officers coordinate to stop the same person or vehicle multiple times, this raises major constitutional concerns about coercion by law enforcement and circumvention of Fourth Amendment limits on stops. To address these risks, courts must analyze coordinated successive stops together, account for the collective knowledge of the officers involved, and consider whether extra justification exists for the stops at issue. In this case, Straughn Gorman was subjected to two coordinated successive traffic stops—stops that led to a search of his vehicle and the seizure of $167,070 from him. Gorman was not charged with any crime nor were any illegal drugs found in his vehicle. The district court analyzed the traffic stops at issue together, and found that the second stop involved a redundant record check that unlawfully prolonged the stop. This Court should affirm the district court’s decision. The Fourth Amendment protects every American from prolonged detention without sufficient justification. The district court’s decision makes this clear. This decision thereby serves to ensure that police officers do not use their power to perform traffic stops and conduct record checks in ways that circumvent or gameplay an essential Fourth Amendment protection.

Read the rest of the brief here.

Finally, AFR wishes to extend our many thanks to our friend and frequent collaborator Mahesha Subbaraman of Subbaraman PLLC for his fine work on the brief.

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