Navarette v. California

Brief of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and National Association of Federal Defenders as Amici Curiae in Support of Petitioners.

Brief filed: 11/21/2013


Navarette v. California

United States Supreme Court; Case No. 12-949

Prior Decision

Decision below People v. Navarette, No. A132353, 2012 BL 268067 (Cal. App. 1st Dist. Oct. 12, 2012).


The Fourth Amendment requires that police corroborate an anonymous tip that someone is driving irregularly before they stop the car. Uncorroborated anonymous tips lack the indicia of reliability necessary to establish reasonable suspicion. Because of the nature of road travel, uncorroborated, anonymous tips are especially unreliable. Anonymous tips cannot corroborate themselves. 911 technology cannot boost an anonymous tip’s reliability. This Court should not adopt an irregular driving exception to the Fourth Amendment. Empirical evidence and practical concerns militate strongly against such an exception. An irregular driving exception would increase the risk of police abuse.

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Daniel R. Ortiz, University of Virginia School of Law Supreme Court Litigation Clinic, Charlottesville, VA; Jeffrey L. Fisher, Stanford, CA; John P. Elwood, Vinson & Elkins LLP, Washington, DC; Sarah S. Gannett, Daniel Kaplan, David Lewis, Barbara Mandel, National Association of Federal Defenders, Philadelphia, PA.