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Name: Arkansas v. Sullivan
Case #: 00-262
Court: US Supreme Court
District USSup
Opinion Date: 05/29/2001
Subsequent History: None

The Arkansas Supreme Court affirmed suppression of a search otherwise supported by probable cause to arrest for a fine-only traffic violating (speeding) on the ground that the officer arrested appellant only upon a pretext and thus had an improper subjective motivation. The U.S. Supreme Court held this decision was “flatly contrary” to its controlling precedent that an officer’s subjective intentions play no role in ordinary, probable cause Fourth Amendment analysis. Moreover, under Oregon v. Hass (1975) 420 U.S. 714, a state supreme court may not impose greater protections under the federal constitution than the U.S. Supreme Court does. [Editor’s note: Per curiam opinion but four justices concurred that the Court should reconsider if experience shows an epidemic of unnecessary minor offense arrests].