NAVARETTE v. CALIFORNIA
On August 23, 2008, the Mendocino County dispatch center received a call from a Humboldt County dispatcher with the information that a silver Ford F150 pickup truck had run an unidentified vehicle off the road at mile marker 88 on southbound Highway 1. The original caller had also provided the license plate number of the pickup truck in question. The dispatch center broadcast that information to officers in the area, and two separate officers soon reported seeing the vehicle and began following it. The officers pulled the vehicle over, and while requesting information from the driver, smelled marijuana. During a search of the vehicle, the officers found four large bags of marijuana in the truck bed. The occupants of the vehicle, Lorenzo Prado Navarette and Jose Prado Navarette, were arrested for transportation of marijuana and possession of marijuana for sale.
At trial, the defendants moved to suppress the evidence obtained from the traffic stop and argued that the evidence did not establish a reasonable suspicion of wrongdoing to justify the stop. The state argued that the anonymous tip combined with the officers’ observations of details that matched the tip constituted reasonable suspicion of the alleged reckless driving. The magistrate judge denied the motion. After the defendants petitioned for a review of this decision and were denied by both the California Court of Appeals for the First District, Division Five and the California Supreme Court, the defendants pled guilty. The California Court of Appeals for the First District, Division Five affirmed.
Does the Fourth Amendment require an officer who received information regarding drunken or reckless driving to independently corroborate the behavior before stopping the vehicle?