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Cops: Stop shredding the Constitution with hunches

May 11, 2009 Cops: Stop shredding the Constitution with hunches

Cops must stop shredding the Constitution with hunches, particularly because they are not Quasimodo.

Praised be Maryland’s highest court for recognizing that the cops had no more than a hunch of criminal activity afoot when witnessing a car drive around a parking lot, and then signaling left and followed by signaling and turning right. Crosby v. Maryland, ___ Md. ___ (May 7, 2009).

No matter how frequently cops look to make presumptive traffic violation stops on the theory that any driver eventually will violate the moving violation laws, the police in Crosby observed no violations of the traffic laws. That should have been the end of the story. Instead, the cops unlawfully detained Crosby while awaiting the arrival of a drug dog, which alerted for drugs, and which led to a car search that revealed contraband.

Fortunately, Maryland’s highest court confirmed that a mere hunch does not justify a search or seizure. Crosby  Did you hear that, cops, judges and prosecutors?

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