Court decrees: obeying the law not suspicious

See Low­er­ing the Bar, one of my absolute favorite blogs.

I’ve often won­dered if one could be pulled over for dri­ving at or under the speed lim­it. After all, every­one dri­ves a lit­tle faster than the speed lim­it. The only rea­son to dri­ve under the speed lim­it would be to avoid being pulled over by the police. And the only peo­ple who want to avoid being pulled over by the police are… crim­i­nals. Right?

Well, appar­ent­ly a court has ruled that dri­ving with both hands on the wheel (the way the dri­ver’s ed teacher told you to) is not prob­a­ble cause for a search. And bet­ter news: that mul­ti­ple things that don’t con­sti­tute prob­a­ble cause don’t, by virtue of there being many of them, add up to prob­a­ble cause.

I’m cer­tain­ly on board with the idea that there are per­fect­ly-legal activ­i­ties that tak­en togeth­er form a pat­tern that indi­cates that ille­gal activ­i­ty is going on. There’s noth­ing at all ille­gal about buy­ing rope, bleach, duct tape, trash bags, a ski mask, and a shov­el at the same time, but part of me hopes that an offi­cer observ­ing this is at least jus­ti­fied in ask­ing a ques­tion or two about the pur­pose of the mur­der home improve­ment kit.

Nev­er­the­less, it is quite encour­ag­ing to learn that I don’t have to wor­ry about being pulled over if I acci­den­tal­ly slow below 65mph on the freeway.

Leave a Reply