Response#9 LSJ 375 - justification or repercussion In sharp...

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Response – Pretextual Traffic Stops Whren v. United States creates an unjust precedence concerning Fourth Amendment search and seizure rights. Specifically, because of the ambiguous nature of traffic laws, any citizen operating a motor vehicle can be detained and searched by police. Harris argues that Whren places an unreasonable amount of power within the hands of law enforcement and that this power will be used to stop a disproportionate amount of African Americans and Hispanics. Harris supports these conclusions through a multitude of statistical analysis in addition to “for different stories of pretextual stops” depicting examples of minority/police officer interaction. Search and seizure law were created to allow citizens to be secure in their personage without fear of forcible unwarranted interference from law enforcement. Whren has effectively eroded the meaning and application of probable cause to such a point that law enforcement is now able to employ unfair and discretionary tactics without
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Unformatted text preview: justification or repercussion. In sharp contrast to this ruling, these laws were intended to protect to any individual’s housing, papers and effects (including vehicles). By manipulating and applying unclear traffic laws as a means for probable cause in later drug related prosecution, law enforcement is distorting the law’s original protective intent. This exploitation is another causal example for increased levels in African American and Hispanic drug related prosecution. If left unchecked, this cycle will continue to compound itself, increasing the (already high) incarceration rates for minorities. Harris correctly advocates for stronger controls in “enforcement tactics” and “police agency operations”. Only through administrative control and statistical collection/control will we be able to reduce these inequalities....
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This note was uploaded on 10/21/2008 for the course LSJ 375 taught by Professor Herbert during the Fall '07 term at University of Washington.

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