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Thornton v. United States

United States Supreme Court
541 U.S. 615 (2004)


Facts

Marcus Thornton (defendant) was driving a Lincoln Town Car when he approached an unmarked police car driven by a Norfolk Virginia Police Officer.  Thornton slowed down to keep from driving next to the police car, and the officer became suspicious. The officer ran Thornton’s tags, which had been issued to a different car. Thornton parked the car in a nearby lot and exited the vehicle. The officer stopped Thornton, and Thornton consented to a patdown search. The officer felt an object in Thornton’s pocket and asked if Thornton had drugs. Thornton said yes and pulled the drugs out of his pocket. Thornton was arrested, handcuffed, and put in the back of the police car. The officer then searched Thornton’s car and found a gun under the driver’s seat.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Rehnquist, C.J.)

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Concurrence (Scalia, J.)

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Dissent (Stevens, J.)

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