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


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



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.