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Elena Kagan
Ignorance of the law isn't an acceptable defense, even for police
Ignorance of the law isn't an acceptable defense, even for police

It's already too easy for police to stop motorists they consider suspicious using the pretext of a minor violation of traffic laws. Law enforcement will enjoy even more leeway under Monday's misguided Supreme Court decision upholding the legality of stops based on an officer's misunderstanding of the law. By a disappointingly lopsided 8-1 vote, the justices ruled that Nicholas Heien wasn't the victim of an "illegal seizure" when his car was stopped in 2009 by a member of the Surry County, N.C., sheriff's department. The routine stop turned into something more serious when Heien agreed to a search of the vehicle. The search turned up a sandwich bag...

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