Listen & Download

On December 15, 2014, the Supreme Court issued its decision in Heien v. North Carolina, the question in this case was whether a police officer’s mistaken understanding of a law can provide the reasonable suspicion that the Fourth Amendment requires to justify a traffic stop.

In an opinion delivered by Chief Justice Roberts, the Court held that a police officer's reasonable mistake of law can give rise to the reasonable suspicion necessary to justify a stop under the Fourth Amendment. Justices Scalia, Kennedy, Thomas, Ginsburg, Breyer, Alito, and Kagan joined the opinion of the Court. Justice Kagan filed a concurring opinion which Justice Ginsburg joined. Justice Sotomayor filed a dissenting opinion. The decision of the Supreme Court of North Carolina was affirmed. 

To discuss the case, we have Ryan Scott, who is an Associate Professor of Law at the Indiana University Maurer School of Law.

[Return to the SCOTUScast menu]