The US Supreme Court on Monday added one new case, Kansas v. Glover, to next term’s merits docket. The court will decide, for the purposes of an investigative stop under the Fourth Amendment, whether it is reasonable for a police officer to suspect that the person driving a car is the is also the registered owner.
The case arises out of an investigative stop where a Kansas sheriff’s deputy pulled over a truck based on a registration check that showed that the owner of the vehicle, Charles Glover, Jr., had a revoked driver’s license. Glover, who was driving and charged with driving without a license, posited that the stop should not be admitted against him because the deputy lacked the level of reasonable suspicion required, contending that someone else could have easily been behind the wheel. The state of Kansas countered that the deputy did have reasonable suspicion based on a reasonable inference that the owner of the car would be the person operating it. Additionally, the state contends that there is a split on the questions presented:
Twelve state supreme courts and four federal circuit courts have held that it is reasonable for an officer to suspect that the owner of a vehicle is driving the vehicle, absent information to the contrary. In those jurisdictions no more evidence is required. The Kansas Supreme Court interpreted the Fourth Amendment differently. It consciously departed from the majority view and held that it is never reasonable for an officer to suspect that the owner of a vehicle is also its driver without more evidence that it is the owner driving the vehicle.
The court will hear arguments on this issue next term.