Supreme Court Excuses Cop's Ignorance of the Law

Ignorance of the law is no excuse, right? Well, as a result of a recent Supreme Court decision ( Heien v. North Carolina), police officers are now exempt from this rule. The case involved a police officer who pulled over a car that had only one functioning brake light. The officer thought the law required two. He was wrong. The Supreme Court nevertheless said an officer does not violate a person’s rights under the Fourth Amendment—the one which protects all of us from unreasonable searches and seizures—as long as his ignorance of the law is reasonable. For everyone else, no such ignorance, no matter how reasonable, will excuse illegal conduct.

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