The U.S. Supreme Court today gave police more discretion to gather evidence at roadblocks. The Associated Press reports that the justices decided that when they are used to seek information about recent crimes, police checkpoints do not violate motorists’ rights.
The decision overturned a ruling of the Illinois Supreme Court. Justice Stephen Breyer said that “police appropriately tailored their checkpoint stops to fit important criminal investigatory needs.”
Three justices expressed concerns. Justice John Paul Stevens cited a distinction between seizing a person to determine whether he or she has committed a crime and seizing a person to ask whether that person “has any information about an unknown person who committed a crime a week earlier.” In 2000, the high court said that roadblocks intended for drug searches were unreasonable invasion of privacy. Breyer said this case involved a specific crime that resulted in a death.