Pat-Downs of Passengers by Police Approved by U.S. Supreme Court

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The U.S. Supreme Court decided today that, based on an Arizona case, cops who pull vehicles over in traffic stops can pat down passengers for weapons without any suspicion of wrongdoing.

You can read about this issue, which affects anyone riding in a vehicle, in our post from last month.

We suspect this ruling could make it easier for unscrupulous police officers to abuse typical search standards.

Anytime an officer is suspicious someone is carrying drugs or other illegal contraband, the person can be searched for "weapons." The officer has nothing to lose, now that the Supreme Court has spoken: If the search produces no weapons, there's no legal foul ball. But if it produces drugs, the cop is rewarded with a felony bust.

You can read the Supreme Court's reasoning in its opinion here.


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