Navarette v California: Does The 4th Amendment Requires Police To Corroborate Anonymous Tips?

Navarette v California: Does The 4th Amendment Requires Police To Corroborate Anonymous Tips?

Well SCOTUS is  hearing the case of Navarette v California , in which an anonymous driver called police stating a silver Ford Truck ran their vehicle off the road. The anonymous tip did not include any other identifying information, like a license plate number.  The police then located a silver Ford truck and followed it and eventually pulled the vehicle over.  The officer did not notice any erratic driving or any indications that the driver was intoxicated.  The officer then searched the vehicle and found four bags of marijuana.  The officer arrested the driver and passenger.  At trial the Navarettes filed a motion to suppress the search as it violated the 4th amendment.  The Navarattes argued that anonymous tip alone did not equal sufficient probable cause to pull the vehicle over.  The Trial Court denied the motion, and the Court of Appeal upheld the conviction.

SCOTUS has agreed to hear the matter and will focus on the following two questions:

  1. Does the Fourth Amendment require an officer who receives an anonymous tip regarding a drunken or reckless driver to corroborate dangerous driving before stopping the vehicle?
  2. Does an anonymous tip that a specific vehicle ran someone off the road provide reasonable suspicion to stop a vehicle, where the detaining officer was only advised to be on the lookout for a reckless driver, and the officer could not corroborate dangerous driving despite following the suspect vehicle for several miles?

SCOTUS as set oral argument for 1/21/2014, to follow the Navarette v California progress click here.