Brief filed: 09/26/2023
People v. Redmond; People v. Molina
Supreme Court of Illinois; Case No. 129201, 129237 Consolidated
Amici urge the Court to hold that the odor of burnt or raw cannabis—the possession and use of which is often legal under state law—does not alone provide a legally sufficient basis for police officers to search a vehicle pursuant to the motor vehicle exception to the Fourth Amendment’s warrant requirement. Such vehicle searches, typically following pretextual traffic stops, disproportionately burden Black and Latino drivers, who are likewise targeted for disparate enforcement of cannabis laws. The better policy, which will begin to remedy a long history and ongoing pattern of racially discriminatory law enforcement, is to not allow officers to utilize what may be lawful behavior as an excuse to detain and search drivers—a disproportionate number of whom inevitably will be drivers of color.
Jonathan M. Brayman, Illinois Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Chicago, IL; Clifford Berlow, NACDL, Chicago, IL; Alexandra K. Block, Roger Baldwin Foundation of ACLU, Inc., Chicago, IL; Julian Clark, American Civil Liberties Union Foundation Criminal Law Reform Project, New York, NY.