Virginia v. Moore

United States Supreme Court553 U.S. 164 (2008)


Moore (defendant) was arrested by police officers after the officers received a radio report that Moore was operating a vehicle with a suspended license. Under state law, operating while suspended, in most circumstances, constituted a citation violation and not an arrestable offense. The police arrested Moore and then searched his vehicle and discovered illegal drugs. Moore moved to suppress the search evidence. State law did not require the suppression of evidence obtained in violation of state law, but Moore argued that the search violated his Fourth Amendment rights because it violated the state law regulating arrests for the underlying offense. The trial court denied Moore’s suppression motion and Moore was convicted. Moore appealed. The intermediate appellate court found that none of the circumstances rendered Moore’s operation while suspended an arrestable offense under state law. A panel of the intermediate court of appeals reversed Moore’s conviction on Fourth Amendment grounds, but the court of appeals en banc reversed the panel decision and affirmed the conviction. The state supreme court concluded that a search premised on a citation violation was prohibited by the Fourth Amendment and reversed Moore’s conviction. The state (plaintiff) petitioned the United States Supreme Court for review.

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