Currently, there are three driving under the influence (DUI) cases pending at the Tennessee Supreme Court. Two cases have similar issues and one may have the Court adopt the good faith exception. Here is my take on the two traffic stop cases.
In State v. Linzey Smith and State v. William Davis Jr. both address traffic stops. In each case, the probable cause was failure to maintain lane under T.C.A. 55-8-123(1). One bright spot was the ruling in State v. Binnette, which lead to a flood of motions to suppress based upon the ruling that it was impossible to drive a car in a perfect straight vector. In Smith, the court denied the motion to suppress. The court held "a showing of reasonable suspicion does not require an actual violation of the law because Terry accepts the risk that police may stop innocent people". I expect the court to adopt the lanquauge that reasonable suspicion is enough for a valid traffic stop and Binnette will be overruled. Here is a link to a News Channel Five story where I was interviewed on the cases.
What does this mean for Tennessee motorists? It means more traffic stops. Police will be able to stop a car for touching a white line anytime anywhere. It will lead to more pre-textual traffic stops. The police will have the power to make unfettered traffic stops. Melanie Wilson Dean of the UTK School of Law wrote a great article for the Kansas Law Review on the topic that is worth checking out.
The Fourth Amendment will soon take another hit.