An anonymous reader writes: In a ruling handed down by the U.S. Supreme Court, the nation’s top court found that a police officer who mistakenly interprets a law and pulls someone over hasn’t violated their Fourth Amendment rights.
If a police officer reasonably believes something is against the law, they are justified in initiating a traffic stop, says the U.S. Supreme Court.
The problem? According to North Carolina traffic law, only one tail light needs to be functional. That means the initial stop, justified on these grounds, would have been illegal — and so would the seizure of the cocaine found in Heien’s car
“The result is a system in which “ignorance of the law is no excuse” for citizens facing conviction, but police can use their own ignorance about the law to their advantage,” notes the legal brief on the case by a coalition of civil rights organizations, including American Civil Liberties Union and Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank.
Although this was a traffic stop, imagine this applied to computer search & seizure. Suddenly, you could be facing "reasonable belief" that you committed a crime.
I don't think I'm exaggerating when I say that this will enable a Police State.