Passengers Have Rights When Car Is Stopped By Police

SUPREME COURT (AP) -- The Supreme Court has ruled that passengers have a constitutional right to challenge the legality of police decisions to stop cars in which they are traveling.

In 2001, Bruce Brendlin was convicted of drug possession after a sheriff's deputy in California stopped a car in which he was a passenger.

Brendlin was wanted for a parole violation, although the deputy who ordered the car to pull over didn't know beforehand that Brendlin was in the vehicle.

While the state later conceded there was no basis to stop the car, California argued that Brendlin's conviction should stand because only the driver was covered by the Fourth Amendment's protections against unreasonable searches and seizures.

The court unanimously disagreed.

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