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Anonymous Neighbor Calls 911 to Report You’re a Lousy Driver: Can Police Search Your Car?

Tell us what you think.

The Michigan affirmative action decision wasn't the only controversial ruling handed down last week by the U.S. Supreme Court. (Patch file photo)
The Michigan affirmative action decision wasn't the only controversial ruling handed down last week by the U.S. Supreme Court. (Patch file photo)

By Todd Richissin

When the U.S. Supreme Court handed down its decision Tuesday on affirmative action policies at Michigan colleges and universities, largely lost in the reporting that day was another decision that could directly impact far more people.

That is, the high court ruled that if police receive an anonymous 911 tip about erratic driving, they can pull over the called-about vehicle and question and even search the driver.

The court has long held that officers can make stops based on anonymous tips, but only if the information in those tips provide enough detail to give rise to a reasonable suspicion of criminal activity.

Which raises the question:

  • Is it right that police can pull over a car based on an anonymous tip? Tell us what you think in comments below.

K. Scott April 27, 2014 at 06:01 PM
Joe, you're still a schmoe. That is a fact. I don't need to look it up, you named yourself that. The irony! Who you need to be bitter with is the Republicans that keep throwing their own under the bus. Or just saying outrageously stupid things like 47% are moocher, yeah, that won the election. On the local level, Snyder can't get anything done because of Jase(fix the election) Bolger having a temper tantrum. They can't fix the GD roads because they can't get it together.
Donna April 27, 2014 at 08:51 PM
No. Someone may just want to give an innocent person a hard time.
Nathan Wagstaff April 28, 2014 at 08:30 AM
We have just reached the point at which our judges care so little about the constitution and personal protection from abusive authority that this ruling is possible. Even 15 years ago, this would have been ruled a 4th amendment violation. Not anymore.
michelle April 28, 2014 at 10:09 AM
About 20 years ago when I was a teen we called in about a driver driving erratically down I-75 (later on a weekend evening so probably drunk). We kept an eye on the person and waited for the cops to show. There needs to be some clear guidelines but I think in my case they needed to get checked out.
Canton April 28, 2014 at 12:10 PM
T, I hope you're being sarcastic, because slower is not necessarily safer. Speed should be set using the 85th percentile rule, and artificially impeding the free flow of traffic (artificially low speed limit, moving road block, etc) makes the roads more dangerous. Now, to the ruling. I disagree with the court on this one. Civilians should be able to report what they see, and the police should be able to act on that tip, but the they should not be able to pull someone over until the police directly witness a potential violation. The way it stands, the system can be abused by both civilians and police. For example, a civilian can report an anonymous tip on someone they hate as a form of harassment, or police can use the system to pull someone over without cause (you know, burner phones). The other concern is, civilians are not always the best judge of the law, and may be unable to distinguish the difference between the law and common courtesy.

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