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


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



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.