CALL 205.538.3340

The Law Office of J.D. Lloyd Logo Because There’s Hope After the Trial


After The Trial Blog

The After The Trial blog presents insights on ongoing and recent trials around the state of Alabama, including weekly criminal law round-ups.

US Supreme Court Update - Utah v. Strieff

J.D. Lloyd - Thursday, June 23, 2016



The Salt Lake City PD received an anonymous tip regarding drug activity at a house. A detective watched the house and saw folks coming and leaving after only a short duration. To him, this evidenced drug activity going on inside. The detective observed Strieff leave the house. He followed Strieff and eventually stopped him. The detective asked for Strieff’s ID and found out that Strieff had an outstanding warrant on traffic tickets. He arrested Strieff and searched him as incident to that arrest. Of course, the detective finds meth and meth paraphernalia.


After being charged, Strieff moved to suppress the drug evidence on the grounds that the detective illegally detained him. The State conceded that the detective did not have reasonable suspicion to stop Strieff, but argued that the “existence of the warrant attenuated the connection between the unlawful stop and the discovery of contraband.” A lower court affirmed denial of the suppression motion, but the Utah Supreme Court reversed.




The Court concluded that the exclusionary rule did not require suppression of this evidence because the discovery of the warranted attenuated the connection between the unconstitutional police actions and the discovery of the drugs.


Long ago, the Court created the “exclusionary rule” to exclude unlawfully seized evidence, also referred to as “fruit of the poisonous tree.” The Court has stressed that it’s to be applied so long as its “deterrence benefits outweigh the societal costs.” There are several exceptions to this rule, one of which is called “attenuation doctrine” which provides that suppression isn’t proper when the connection between the unconstitutional action and the seized evidence is either “remote” or interrupted by some “intervening circumstance.” At question here is the latter concern: was the discovery of a valid warrant an event sufficient to break the chain between the unlawful stop and the discovery of the drugs.


The Court employs a three-part test to answer this question: (1) What is the temporal proximity between the illegal conduct and the discovery of evidence? (2) What are the intervening circumstances?   (3) What was the purpose of the conduct and how flagrant was it?


While the Court found that the short time between the constitutional violation and discovery of the evidence favored suppression, the last two facts strongly favored not applying the exclusionary rule. Under the second prong, the existence of a valid warrant was a significant intervening circumstance. Once he discovered it, he was under an obligation to arrest Strieff. With respect to the final prong, the Court didn’t believe the detective’s actions were flagrant or part of “systemic or recurrent police misconduct”: while the initial detention was “at most negligent,” his actions after the stop were “lawful.”


The dissents in this case are quite strong. Justice Kagan’s dissent states that this decision effectively invites police to make illegal stop.


My Thoughts


If you look at this case objectively, the Court’s decision makes sense: if a police officer happens to learn someone has an outstanding valid warrant for their arrest, that officer has the duty to arrest them. If an arrest is made pursuant to a lawful warrant, police may search the arrestee. Thus, the search extends from the valid warrant.


But if you look at this case subjectively, the Supreme Court has given police officers leeway to engage in unconstitutional behavior. There’s really no way around it. The Court has told officers who would rather investigate outside the boundaries of the Fourth Amendment, “Hey, we’ve got your back in the borderline cases.” Count me in Justice Kagan’s camp.



If you or someone you know has been convicted of wrongful criminal charges, there is hope after the trial. Contact us today by clicking HERE.


Recent Posts


lamar county Dylann Roof Briarwood Presbyterian Church gun rights drug seizure warrior alabama eric sterling Eutaw Alabama kimberly alabama abduction drug smuggling Shonda Walker, birmingham alabama § 13A-3-23(d) immunity hearing animal cruelty Neil Gorsuch trussville alabama springville alabama blount county alabama forced isolation fairfield alabama, heritage christian university terell corey mcmullin smith v state making a murderer huntsville alabama criminal justice Rule 32 baltimore city circuit court asia mcclain dora alabama eugene lee jones v state CCA update scotus serial sheffield v state robberies editorial christian guitierez lethal injection Donald Trump, heflin alabama lethal injection drugs alabama drug possession, fort payne alabama Lucky D Arcade aziz sayyed fraudulent checks constitutional violations armed robbery theft of property shelby county criminal mischief tuscaloosa alabama arson state of alabama moore v texas jerry bohannon Thomas Hardiman morgan county alabama operation crackdown drug activity tarrant alabama rainbow city alabama mccalla alabama fultondale alabama Benn v State Ingmire v State Stephen Breyer car accident Easter court of criminal appeal releases the mannequin challenge npr battles v state birchfield v north dakota levins v state 2016 election, Wesley Adam Whitworth alabama law enforcement agency bailey v us embezzlement Alabaster alabama florence alabama cherokee county alabama bomb threat nathan woods Etowah County Alabama, court of criminal appeals public assistance fraud West Alabama hoover alabama capital offenses crime of passion montgomery alabama implied consent brian fredick lucas kidnapping murder eighth amendment, huntsville capital punishment negligent homicide pelham alabama street racing 28 U.S.C. § 2254 SCOTUS, russell calhoun Hillary Clinton, capital murder felony assaults criminal justice reform, assault concealed carry Guy Terrell Junior gun control utah supreme court economic growth Kareem Dacar Gaymon avondale alabama albertville alabama homicide rate kenneth eugene billups edwards v arizona legende v state cullman alabama bernard v north dakota mulga alabama alabama criminal law roundup keith v state Joshua Reese debtor prison marion county home repair fraud sentencing law and policy blog summaries apprendi v new jersey identity theft alabama supreme court homicide limestone county alabama operation bullseye netflix maryland court of special appeals Alonzo Ephraim south carolina sarah koenig anniston alabama, hanceville alabama second amendment executions pell city alabama decatur alabama stoves v state ring v arizona dothan alabama constitutional law, abuse pinson alabama parole death penalty New York Times moving violations betton v state banville v state Justice Sotomayor shooting death fraud hoax destructive devices Woods v State OJ Simpson Made in America ake v oklahoma William Pryor Kay Ivey brendan dassey Sardis Alabama morris alabama Xavier Beasley adger alabama court systems, unlawful manufacturing mcwilliams v dunn social media brady v maryland fourth amendment nicholas hawkins lauderdale county alabama theft fake kidnapping, LWOP brookside alabama mobile alabama Pleasant Grove Alabama benjamin todd acton narcotics investigation drug trafficking, shoplifting hall v florida prostitution sting Adamsville alabama baldwin county alabama warrantless blood draws breaking and entering towles v state strickland v washington christmas shooting pruitt v state Fentanyl alfonso morris Tracie Todd brendan dassey, steve avery, making a murderer, scotus, netflix hurst v florida eleventh circuit ruling oneonta alabama stanley brent chapman burglary illegal gun carry § 13A-3-23 beylund v north dakota mountain brook alabama Samuel Alito peyton pruitt Gardendale Alabama hurst mandamus adnan syed, shooting domestic abuse st clair county alabama sexual assault foley alabama Walker County Alabama judicial override texas department of justice road rage campbell v state church robberies OJ Simpson blountsville alabama aiding and abetting underage drinking steve avery Jefferson County Alabama greene county alabama madison alabama self defense attempted murder sixth amendment calhoun county alabama gadsden alabama illegal gambling mount olive alabama midazolam mike gilotti habeas corpus relief US Supreme Court Update Mike Hubbard clarence thomas debit card skimming scams bessemer alabama ex parte briseno state of arizona drug busts Tommy Arthur john earle redfearn IV v state talladega superspeedway abandonment Malone v State department of justice, boaz alabama Marengo County Alabama dekalb county alabama Glaze v State minor offenses drug crimes domestic violence utah v strieff ferguson missouri death penalty, endangerment of a child



These recoveries and testimonials are not an indication of future results. Every case is different, and regardless of what friends, family, or other individuals may say about what a case is worth, each case must be evaluated on its own facts and circumstances as they apply to the law. The valuation of a case depends on the facts, the injuries, the jurisdiction, the venue, the witnesses, the parties, and the testimony, among  other factors. Furthermore, no representation is made that the quality of the legal services to be performed is greater than the quality of legal services performed by other lawyers.

Get Free Legal Advice  Contact us for a complimentary legal consultation

I am interested in scheduling a free legal consultation and receiving additional information.

Submitting Form...

The server encountered an error.

Thank you, your  entry has been  received.

© 2017 The Law Office of J.D. Lloyd, LLC. All Rights Reserved. |


As required by Rule 7.2(e), Alabama Rules of Professional Conduct, no representation is made that the quality of the legal services to be performed is greater than the quality of legal services performed by other lawyers.