Tag: Sonia Sotomayor

Utah v. Strieff and the Exclusionary Rule


shutterstock_258602471I haven’t had time to read the full decision yet, but am very curious to hear what the Ricochetti at large, and those with expertise in law enforcement and criminal law, think of yesterday’s Supreme Court decision. The majority decision (written by Justice Thomas and joined by Roberts, Kennedy, Breyer, and Alito) maintains that evidence from a body search is admissible in court if it’s made upon realization that there the detained party has an outstanding warrant, even if the initial police stop is illegal. As described by Thomas, what happened was:

This case began with an anonymous tip. In December 2006, someone called the South Salt Lake City police’s drug-tip line to report “narcotics activity” at a particular residence. Narcotics detective Douglas Fackrell investigated the tip. Over the course of about a week, Officer Fackrell conducted intermittent surveillance of the home. He observed visitors who left a few minutes after arriving at the house. These visits were sufficiently frequent to raise his suspicion that the occupants were dealing drugs. One of those visitors was respondent Edward Strieff. Officer Fackrell observed Strieff exit the house and walk toward a nearby convenience store. In the store’s parking lot, Officer Fackrell detained Strieff, identified himself, and asked Strieff what he was doing at the residence. As part of the stop, Officer Fackrell requested Strieff ’s identification, and Strieff produced his Utah identification card. Officer Fackrell relayed Strieff’s information to a police dispatcher, who reported that Strieff had an outstanding arrest warrant for a traffic violation. Officer Fackrell then arrested Strieff pursuant to that warrant. When Officer Fackrell searched Strieff incident to the arrest, he discovered a baggie of methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia.

The State charged Strieff with unlawful possession of methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia. Strieff moved to suppress the evidence, arguing that the evidence was inadmissible because it was derived from an unlawful investigatory stop. At the suppression hearing, the prosecutor conceded that Officer Fackrell lacked reasonable suspicion for the stop but argued that the evidence should not be suppressed because the existence of a valid arrest warrant attenuated the connection between the unlawful stop and the discovery of the contraband.

Hispanic Judges and Who Said It First


Sotomayor Latina MagazineJustice Sonia Sotomayor’s comment that a “wise Latina woman” will make a better decision than a white male judge is well known and, inexplicably to me, didn’t get her branded a racist and disqualified from the bench.

However, now that Donald Trump is taking mega-heat from all sides for saying the judge in his case, who is of Mexican descent, might not be fair to him, another of Sotomayor’s comments, even more on point, needs to be looked at:

“Whether born from experience or inherent physiological or cultural differences,” she said, for jurists who are women and nonwhite, “our gender and national origins may and will make a difference in our judging.”

A Signatory Explains His Position on Same-Sex Marriage … Sort of — Richard Epstein


I am one of the people who chose to sign on to the statement (which I did not draft) that carries with it the title “Freedom to Marry, Freedom To Dissent: Why We Must Have Both.” I have received some questions as to why I chose to participate. Here are the basic points.

I think that the efforts to drive people like Brendan Eich from his professional employment via a blizzard of pious statements about the need for universal tolerance, some from Mozilla itself, are themselves representative of a peculiar form of intolerance, which treats this issue as one on which there can be no debate. This effort to drown out disagreement may be legal, but that is beside the point for issues of social discourse. It would have been intolerable for individuals who opposed same-sex marriage to try to silence their opposition in this fashion, and the principle remains the same in the reverse.