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Supreme Court hears Fourth Amendment, arbitration cases

[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [official website; JURIST news archive] heard oral arguments [transcript, PDF] Monday in the case of Virginia v. Moore [LII backgrounder; merit briefs], 06-1082, where the Court is being asked to decide whether the Fourth Amendment requires the suppression of evidence obtained incident to an arrest that is based upon probable cause, even though the arrest violated state law. The case arose when David Lee Moore was arrested in 2003 for driving on a suspended license, which is not an arrestable offense under Virginia law. The Virginia Supreme Court eventually overturned [opinion text, PDF] Moore's conviction on the grounds that "the Fourth Amendment forbids expansion of the search incident to arrest doctrine to include a search incident to citation." Justice Antonin Scalia asked during oral arguments whether the police should have allowed Moore to drive away after being the traffic stop even though his license remained expired. Forty-five minutes elapsed between the traffic stop and the search, while police waited for a canine unit to arrive to control Moore's unruly dog, causing Justice John Paul Stevens to question whether an arrest can continue indefinitely. AP has more.

Also on Monday, the Court heard oral arguments [transcript, PDF] in Preston v. Ferrer [LII backgrounder; merit briefs], 06-1463, where the Court will decide if the Federal Arbitration Act [text] and prior case law preempts a state statute that requires parties bound by an arbitration agreement to exhaust administrative remedies before filing any action in court.

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