The H-L ran this story about unconstitutional searches and seizures. In prior rulings, the Supreme Court had left open the possibility that a passenger in a car was not actually “seized” by the police when stopped because they were theoretically free to continue on their merry way afoot. Basically, one of those legal fictions often engaged in to try and square the results with the law. If a passenger is not “seized” then they are not under the protection of the 4th Amendment. Now, you tell me, if you are riding in a vehicle that is pulled over by the police, and you open your door, get out, and begin walking down the road – what exactly is going to happen?
The big surprise here is that it was an unanimous decision by a relatively conservative court. Once again, you are probably thinking that a bad guy got away! Ask yourself, how many innocent people are you willing to send to jail in order to insure every criminal ends up there? Now ask yourself if you are willing to be one of those innocent people? The point is not that this guy got away with bad stuff – the point is that this decision makes subjecting an innocent person to search, seizure or other bad stuff is a little less likely now.