U.S. Supreme Court to Consider Fourth Amendment Issue with Iowa Implications

by Ryan Koopmans | October 2, 2013

By Ryan Koopmans

In June, a bare majority of the Iowa Supreme Court ruled in State v. Kooima that a police officer may not stop a vehicle based solely on an anonymous tip that the driver is drunk.  According to Justices Wiggins, Hecht, Appel, and Zager, that violates the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution.  That decision is consistent with a ruling from the Virginia Supreme Court, but it also conflicts with decisions from several other courts, including the Eighth Circuit (which includes Iowa).

Before the oral argument in Kooima, I suggested that the Supreme Court may take up this issue soon, and that the Iowa case might be the vehicle to do it.  I was half right.  Last week, Attorney General Tom Miller asked the Supreme Court to reverse the Iowa Supreme Court, but yesterday (likely before the justices even saw the Iowa petition), the Supreme Court granted cert. on this question from a California case: “Does the Fourth Amendment require an officer who receives an anonymous tip regarding a drunken or reckless driver to corroborate dangerous driving before stopping the vehicle?”

So the Supreme Court will hear the issue–just not through Kooima.  But the justices will likely hold the Kooima petition until they rule on the California case (Navarette v. California), and if they decide in California’s favor, then Kooima may be returning to the Iowa Supreme Court.


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