Court approves 'informational' police stop

Jan. 13, 2004 at 11:58 AM
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WASHINGTON, Jan. 13 (UPI) -- The Supreme Court ruled unanimously Tuesday police can set up checkpoints to ask the public for information.

The Illinois Supreme Court -- citing a 2000 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Indianapolis vs. Edmond -- said police needed "reasonable suspicion" to make such stops constitutional.

The Illinois court overturned the conviction of a man who had been stopped at one such informational checkpoint and charged with drunken driving.

But in reversing the Illinois court, Justice Stephen Breyer said, "We think the reason for the stop was reasonable, and therefore constitutional."

In the case, police had set up a traffic stop to ask motorists if they had information about the hit-and-run killing of a 70-year-old bicyclist. The killing occurred about a week before the stop was set up.

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