Rights of Passengers
Brendlin v. California, 551 U.S. __, 127 S. Ct. 2400 (2007)
Under the Fourth Amendment’s search and seizure provisions, a car passenger in a traffic stop may challenge the legality of the stop.
If you were a passenger in a friend's car when it was stopped by police, and you were carrying an illegal substance, would you be free to leave the car? Could you challenge the legality of the stop? What would happen if your attorney moved to keep the substance out of evidence claiming that, as a passenger, you were not legally "seized" under the Fourth Amendment - only the driver was? Three levels of the state court system in California decided the case differently. After reading the facts presented here, how do you think the U.S. Supreme Court decided the case? What would be the rationale behind each court's decision?