The U.S. Supreme Court will hear a case that could impact the way police conduct traffic stops.
The justices agreed April 1 to review whether it’s reasonable for an officer to pull over a vehicle based on an assumption that the registered owner is actually the person driving it absent any information to the contrary.
They’re weighing an appeal of a Kansas Supreme Court ruling that found for Charles Glover Jr., who claims he was unlawfully stopped for driving with a revoked license in violation of his Fourth Amendment rights against unreasonable search.
Kansas and 11 other states said the state court ruling makes it harder for officers to keep unsafe drivers off the road.
“Numerous other state supreme courts and federal courts have ruled it is reasonable for an officer to suspect the registered owner of a vehicle is the person driving their car. We look forward to making our argument before the justices in the fall,” Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt said in a statement.
“Although unlicensed drivers account for only 2.6 (percent) of all motorists on the road, they are responsible for 18.2 percent of fatal crashes,” states told the justices in an amicus, or a friend-of-the-court brief urging them to take the case.
The case started when a Kansas officer ran the registration on a truck, saw Glover’s license was revoked, and pulled him over for that reason.
Without other details, like witnessing a traffic violation, Glover argues that police didn’t have enough information to assume that he’d broken the law.
The case is one of three that the Kansas Attorney General’s office will argue at the Supreme Court next term, which will begin in the fall.
Attorneys for Glover declined comment.
The case is Kansas v. Glover, U.S., 18-556, review granted 4/1/19.
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(Adds statement from Kansas Attorney General; adds context in eighth paragraph)