Illinois Court Curbs Police In Traffic Stops


The Illinois Supreme Court has restricted police investigations in traffic stops. The Chicago Sun-Times says the court held in two cases that a traffic stop does not give police license to conduct a full-fledged criminal investigation.

The court reversed a marijuana conviction of Roy Caballes, who was stopped for speeding and then arrested for having marijuana in the trunk. Justice Thomas Kilbride wrote in a 4-3 opinion, “The police impermissibly broadened the scope of a traffic stop in this case into a drug investigation.”

The same lineup of justices reversed a drug possession conviction for a car passenger whose record was checked, and then was discovered to possess cocaine. “The warrant check was not supported by a reasonable, articulate suspicion that [Harris] had committed or was about to commit a crime,” Justice Charles Freeman wrote.

Attorney General Lisa Madigan is considering whether to appeal the cases to the U.S. Supreme Court. Andrea Lyon, president of the Illinois Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and a professor at DePaul University College of Law, calls the rulings “pretty unreviewable” because federal law allows the states to grant more due process than federal case law requires.


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