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Whren v. United States

United States Supreme Court
517 U.S. 806 (1996)

Whren v. United States

Facts

Plainclothes police officers pulled over a car for traffic violations after witnessing the driver make a turn without signaling and then speed down the road. Prior to observing these traffic violations, the police observed the two men in the car from a distance and became suspicious that a drug deal was taking place. Whren (defendant) was a passenger in the car and when the police approached the car they observed plastic bags of cocaine in Whren’s hands. Whren and the driver were arrested for illegal drug possession and convicted in federal court after the trial judge, over Whren’s objections, permitted the cocaine to be introduced into evidence. The court of appeals affirmed the convictions.

Rule of Law

The rule of law is the black letter law upon which the court rested its decision.

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Scalia, J.)

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  • A "yes" or "no" answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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