A new Supreme Court judgement that relaxes stringent police protocols and empowers them to illegally obtain evidence of crimes for use against defendants has infuriated the dissenting liberal justices who warned that the ruling would be detrimental to protection of civic rights.
The dissenting justices were of the opinion that this may be a setback for constitutional rights and pointed out the potential dangers of misuse as unjustified police searches also lead to humiliation.
The judgement in question that was decided on a 5-3 split pertains to a case in which Police Detective Doug Fackrell arrested defendant Joseph Edward Strieff after illegally stopping him on the streets of South Salt Lake City, Utah, as reported by Associated Press.
The officer arrested Strieff after conducting a name check that revealed an outstanding warrant against him. He also found methamphetamine in the possession of the defendant.
Officer Fackrell's actions were considered dubious and illegal because he lacked any reasonable suspicion to conclude that the defendant had been violating the law.
"The court today holds that the discovery of a warrant for an unpaid parking ticket will forgive a police officer's violation of your Fourth Amendment rights," Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Justice Sonia Sotomayor jointly wrote.
"(The ruling) creates unfortunate incentives for the police â€” indeed practically invites them to do what Fackrell did here," said Justice Elena Kagan who filed a separate dissent.
Justice Clarence Thomas assessed the officer's action to not be a flagrant violation of the law. "Discovery of the arrest warrant attenuated the connection between the unlawful stop and the evidence seized incident to arrest," Justice Thomas wrote in his majority opinion.
"While Officer Fackrell's decision to initiate the stop was mistaken, his conduct thereafter was lawful," Thomas said while defending the officer.