WASHINGTON - The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Monday that car passengers have the constitutional right to question the legality of police stops they are involved in.
A Supreme Court news release said that the court's ruling on California v. Brendlin said that when police stop a vehicle on the road for a violation, any passenger in that automobile may use their Fourth Amendment rights to challenge the stop's legality.
The case stemmed from a California traffic stop in 2001 where a passenger in a car stopped by police was searched and later arrested on drug possession charges.
Bruce Brendlin challenged attempts to suppress the evidence by alleging the police officers' search was unconstitutional.
While a California trial court denied the motion, the state's Court of Appeals later reversed that decision and the case moved onto the national stage.
The U.S. Supreme Court unanimously supported the appeals decision, ruling that the driver of the vehicle is being targeted by the police stop.
Therefore, any passengers involved may challenge whether the stop was justified and attempt to avoid unconstitutional searches.
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