Naverette v. California”. 2014. Print.Abstract
A California Highway Patrol officer stopped a pickup truck that matched the description of a vehicle that a 911 caller had recently reported as having run her off the road. As officers approached the truck, they smelled marijuana. They searched the truck’s bed, found 30 pounds of marijuana, and arrested defendants, who moved to suppress the evidence, arguing that the traffic stop violated the Fourth Amendment. The motion was denied. They pleaded guilty to transporting marijuana. The California Court of Appeal and the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed. The Fourth Amendment permits brief investigative stops when an officer has “a particularized and objective basis for suspecting the particular person stopped of ... criminal activity.” Reasonable suspicion considers “the totality of the circumstances,” and depends “upon both the content of information possessed by police and its degree of reliability.” The totality of the circumstances indicated that the officer had reasonable suspicion that the truck’s driver was intoxicated. The 911 call bore adequate indicia of reliability for the officer to credit the caller’s account. The caller claimed an eyewitness basis of knowledge. The apparently short time between the reported incident and the 911 call suggests that the caller had little time to fabricate the report. A reasonable officer could conclude that a false tipster would think twice before using the 911 system. The tip created reasonable suspicion of drunk driving. Reasonable suspicion “need not rule out the possibility of innocent conduct.” The officer’s failure to observe additional suspicious conduct during the short period that he followed the truck did not dispel the reason able suspicion of drunk driving.