You have probably heard about the new Supreme Court case. There is an article about it here. Let me sum it up for you. If a police officer stops you illegally, but then discovers you have a warrant and then searches your car and finds contraband (drugs, etc.), the contraband that they find will not be excluded from introduction at trial.
The general rule is that if the police officer finds contraband after an illegal stop, anything he finds is excluded from trial. The idea behind this rule is that the police should be prevented from “fishing” for illegal items by stopping cars for illegal or no reason.
There have been a couple of Supreme Court clunker cases, one found that if a police office stopped you for an illegal reason and a legal reason, a court should not look into which one was the actual cause of the stop. That rule made police officers all over the US try to find some traffic violation (any traffic violation) to pull over cars they suspected were driven by people who might commit crimes. (probably want to read that as minority drivers, especially males). Once the Supreme Court came up with that rule, it has been open season by police officers to pull over vehicles for license plate lights being out, with the hopes of finding drugs or cash in the vehicle (because they got to keep it).
Because none of the Supreme Court Justices have ever practiced law, except for the few that have worked for a few years, you get a lot of the “ignore what happens in the real world” rulings from them. But with the court short a justice, apparently all of those cases are going to be decided in favor of the State.
Ray Flavin, Law Dude, is an attorney who practices law in McHenry County, Illinois. His law offices are located across the street from the courthouse in Woodstock, IL. You may reach him directly at (815)669-6969