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Alabama v. White

United States Supreme Court
496 U.S. 325 (1990)


The police received an anonymous tip that White (defendant) would be leaving her house, carrying a briefcase with cocaine inside. The informant gave the police White’s address, a description of her car, and said that White would be heading to a certain hotel. The police immediately set up a surveillance team at White’s house. The car fit the description given by the informant and soon the police observed White exit her home, without the briefcase, get in her car, and head towards the motel. Just before White arrived at the motel, the police stopped the car. They informed White of what they were looking for and asked to search the car. She consented to the search and when the police found a briefcase she gave them the combination to the lock. The police found marijuana in the briefcase and arrested her. Later, at the police station, the police found three milligrams of cocaine in her purse. The court of appeals held that the stop was unconstitutional because the officers lacked reasonable suspicion to make an investigatory stop of the car.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (White, J.)

Dissent (Stevens, J.)

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