Navarette v. Cal., No. 12–9490.

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtJustice THOMAS delivered the opinion of the Court.
Citation188 L.Ed.2d 680,572 U.S. 393,134 S.Ct. 1683
Parties Lorenzo Prado NAVARETTE and José Prado Navarette, Petitioners, v. CALIFORNIA.
Docket NumberNo. 12–9490.
Decision Date22 April 2014

572 U.S. 393
134 S.Ct.
1683
188 L.Ed.2d 680

Lorenzo Prado NAVARETTE and José Prado Navarette, Petitioners,
v.
CALIFORNIA.

No. 12–9490.

Supreme Court of the United States

Argued Jan. 21, 2014.
Decided April 22, 2014.


Jeffrey M.K. Laurence, San Francisco, CA, for Respondent.

Paul R. Kleven, appointed by this Court, Berkeley, CA, for Petitioners.

Rachel P. Kovner, for the United States as amicus curiae, by special leave of the Court, supporting the Respondent.

Paul Kleven, Counsel of Record, Law Offices of Paul Kleven, Berkeley, CA, for Petitioners.

Kamala D. Harris, Attorney General of California, Dane R. Gillette, Chief Assistant Attorney General, Gerald A. Engler, Senior Assistant Attorney General, Donald E. De Nicola, Deputy State Solicitor General, Seth K. Schalit, Supervising Deputy Attorney General, Jeffrey M. Laurence, Supervising Deputy Attorney General, Counsel of Record, San Francisco, CA, for Respondent.

Justice THOMAS delivered the opinion of the Court.

572 U.S. 395

After a 911 caller reported that a vehicle had run her off the road, a police officer located the vehicle she identified during the call and executed a traffic stop. We hold that the stop complied with the Fourth Amendment because, under the totality of the circumstances, the officer had reasonable suspicion that the driver was intoxicated.

I

On August 23, 2008, a Mendocino County 911 dispatch team for the California Highway Patrol (CHP) received a call from another CHP dispatcher in neighboring Humboldt County. The Humboldt County dispatcher relayed a tip from a 911 caller, which the Mendocino County team recorded as follows: " 'Showing southbound Highway 1 at mile marker 88, Silver Ford 150 pickup. Plate of 8–David–94925.

134 S.Ct. 1687

Ran the reporting party off the roadway and was last seen approximately five [minutes] ago.' " App. 36a. The Mendocino County team then broadcast that information to CHP officers at 3:47 p.m.

A CHP officer heading northbound toward the reported vehicle responded to the broadcast. At 4:00 p.m., the officer passed the truck near mile marker 69. At about 4:05 p.m., after making a U-turn, he pulled the truck over. A second officer, who had separately responded to the broadcast, also arrived on the scene. As the two officers approached the truck, they smelled marijuana. A search of the truck bed revealed 30 pounds of marijuana. The officers arrested the

572 U.S. 396

driver, petitioner Lorenzo Prado Navarette, and the passenger, petitioner José Prado Navarette.

Petitioners moved to suppress the evidence, arguing that the traffic stop violated the Fourth Amendment because the officer lacked reasonable suspicion of criminal activity. Both the magistrate who presided over the suppression hearing and the Superior Court disagreed.1 Petitioners pleaded guilty to transporting marijuana and were sentenced to 90 days in jail plus three years of probation.

The California Court of Appeal affirmed, concluding that the officer had reasonable suspicion to conduct an investigative stop. 2012 WL 4842651 (Oct. 12, 2012). The court reasoned that the content of the tip indicated that it came from an eyewitness victim of reckless driving, and that the officer's corroboration of the truck's description, location, and direction established that the tip was reliable enough to justify a traffic stop. Id., at *7. Finally, the court concluded that the caller reported driving that was sufficiently dangerous to merit an investigative stop without waiting for the officer to observe additional reckless driving himself. Id., at *9. The California Supreme Court denied review. We granted certiorari, 570 U.S. ––––, 134 S.Ct. 50, 186 L.Ed.2d 963 (2013), and now affirm.

II

The Fourth Amendment permits brief investigative stops—such as the traffic stop in this case—when a law enforcement officer has "a particularized and objective basis for suspecting the particular person stopped of criminal activity."

572 U.S. 397

United States v. Cortez, 449 U.S. 411, 417–418, 101 S.Ct. 690, 66 L.Ed.2d 621 (1981) ; see also Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1, 21–22, 88 S.Ct. 1868, 20 L.Ed.2d 889 (1968). The "reasonable suspicion" necessary to justify such a stop "is dependent upon both the content of information possessed by police and its degree of reliability." Alabama v. White, 496 U.S. 325, 330, 110 S.Ct. 2412, 110 L.Ed.2d 301 (1990). The standard takes into account "the totality of the circumstances—the whole picture." Cortez, supra, at 417, 101 S.Ct. 690. Although a mere " 'hunch' " does not create reasonable suspicion, Terry, supra, at 27, 88 S.Ct. 1868, the level of suspicion the standard requires is "considerably less than proof of wrongdoing by a preponderance of the evidence," and "obviously less" than is necessary for probable cause, United States v. Sokolow, 490 U.S. 1, 7, 109 S.Ct. 1581, 104 L.Ed.2d 1 (1989).

134 S.Ct. 1688

A

These principles apply with full force to investigative stops based on information from anonymous tips. We have firmly rejected the argument "that reasonable cause for a[n investigative stop] can only be based on the officer's personal observation, rather than on information supplied by another person." Adams v. Williams, 407 U.S. 143, 147, 92 S.Ct. 1921, 32 L.Ed.2d 612 (1972). Of course, "an anonymous tip alone seldom demonstrates the informant's basis of knowledge or veracity." White, 496 U.S., at 329, 110 S.Ct. 2412 (emphasis added). That is because "ordinary citizens generally do not provide extensive recitations of the basis of their everyday observations," and an anonymous tipster's veracity is " 'by hypothesis largely unknown, and unknowable.' " Ibid. But under appropriate circumstances, an anonymous tip can demonstrate "sufficient indicia of reliability to provide reasonable suspicion to make [an] investigatory stop." Id., at 327, 110 S.Ct. 2412.

Our decisions in Alabama v. White, 496 U.S. 325, 110 S.Ct. 2412, 110 L.Ed.2d 301 (1990), and Florida v. J. L., 529 U.S. 266, 120 S.Ct. 1375, 146 L.Ed.2d 254 (2000), are useful guides. In White, an anonymous tipster told the police that a woman would drive from a particular apartment building to a particular motel in a brown Plymouth station wagon with a broken right tail light. The tipster further asserted that the woman would

572 U.S. 398

be transporting cocaine. 496 U.S., at 327, 110 S.Ct. 2412. After confirming the innocent details, officers stopped the station wagon as it neared the motel and found cocaine in the vehicle. Id., at 331, 110 S.Ct. 2412. We held that the officers' corroboration of certain details made the anonymous tip sufficiently reliable to create reasonable suspicion of criminal activity. By accurately predicting future behavior, the tipster demonstrated "a special familiarity with respondent's affairs," which in turn implied that the tipster had "access to reliable information about that individual's illegal activities." Id., at 332, 110 S.Ct. 2412. We also recognized that an informant who is proved to tell the truth about some things is more likely to tell the truth about other things, "including the claim that the object of the tip is engaged in criminal activity." Id., at 331, 110 S.Ct. 2412 (citing Illinois v. Gates, 462 U.S. 213, 244, 103 S.Ct. 2317, 76 L.Ed.2d 527 (1983) ).

In J. L., by contrast, we determined that no reasonable suspicion arose from a bare-bones tip that a young black male in a plaid shirt standing at a bus stop was carrying a gun. 529 U.S., at 268, 120 S.Ct. 1375. The tipster did not explain how he knew about the gun, nor did he suggest that he had any special familiarity with the young man's affairs. Id., at 271, 120 S.Ct. 1375. As a result, police had no basis for believing "that the tipster ha[d] knowledge of concealed criminal activity." Id., at 272, 120 S.Ct. 1375. Furthermore, the tip included no predictions of future behavior that could be corroborated to assess the tipster's credibility. Id., at 271, 120 S.Ct. 1375. We accordingly concluded that the tip was insufficiently reliable to justify a stop and frisk.

B

The initial question in this case is whether the 911 call was sufficiently reliable to credit the allegation that petitioners' truck "ran the [caller] off the roadway." Even assuming for present purposes that the 911 call was anonymous, see n. 1, supra, we conclude that the call bore adequate indicia of reliability for the officer to credit the caller's account. The officer was therefore justified in proceeding from the premise

572 U.S. 399

that the truck had, in fact, caused the caller's

134 S.Ct. 1689

car to be dangerously diverted from the highway.

By reporting that she had been run off the road by a specific vehicle—a silver Ford F–150 pickup, license plate 8D94925—the caller necessarily claimed eyewitness knowledge of the alleged dangerous driving. That basis of knowledge lends significant support to the tip's reliability. See Gat...

To continue reading

Request your trial
642 practice notes
  • Donahue v. Wihongi, No. 19-4005
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (10th Circuit)
    • January 17, 2020
    ...241, 103 S.Ct. 2317.17 "[E]yewitness knowledge ... [also] lends significant support to the tip’s reliability." Navarette v. California , 572 U.S. 393, 399, 134 S.Ct. 1683, 188 L.Ed.2d 680 (2014). Officers "may weigh the credibility of witnesses." Mocek , 813 F.3d at 928 (quotations omitted)......
  • State v. Porfil, AC 40305
    • United States
    • Appellate Court of Connecticut
    • July 30, 2019
    ...confirmed that the defendant was indeed present on the porch of 126–128 Walnut Street. See 191 Conn.App. 512 Navarette v. California , 572 U.S. 393, 398, 134 S. Ct. 1683, 188 L. Ed. 2d 680 (2014) ("officers' corroboration of certain details made the anonymous tip sufficiently reliable to cr......
  • State v. Reed, No. 365A16-2
    • United States
    • North Carolina United States State Supreme Court of North Carolina
    • February 28, 2020
    ...person stopped of criminal activity." State v. Jackson, 368 N.C. 75, 78, 772 S.E.2d 847, 849 (2015) (quoting Navarette v. California, 572 U.S. 393, 396, 188 L. Ed. 2d 680, 686 (2014)). This objective basis must be premised upon "specific and articulable facts" and the "rational inferences"P......
  • State v. Brown, No. 2017AP774-CR
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Wisconsin
    • July 3, 2020
    ..."a particularized and objective basis" to suspect a person 392 Wis.2d 464 of criminal activity. 945 N.W.2d 589 Navarette v. California, 572 U.S. 393, 396-97, 134 S.Ct. 1683, 188 L.Ed.2d 680 (2014) (quoted source omitted); see also Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1, 21, 88 S.Ct. 1868, 20 L.Ed.2d 889......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
641 cases
  • Donahue v. Wihongi, No. 19-4005
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (10th Circuit)
    • January 17, 2020
    ...241, 103 S.Ct. 2317.17 "[E]yewitness knowledge ... [also] lends significant support to the tip’s reliability." Navarette v. California , 572 U.S. 393, 399, 134 S.Ct. 1683, 188 L.Ed.2d 680 (2014). Officers "may weigh the credibility of witnesses." Mocek , 813 F.3d at 928 (quotations omitted)......
  • State v. Porfil, AC 40305
    • United States
    • Appellate Court of Connecticut
    • July 30, 2019
    ...confirmed that the defendant was indeed present on the porch of 126–128 Walnut Street. See 191 Conn.App. 512 Navarette v. California , 572 U.S. 393, 398, 134 S. Ct. 1683, 188 L. Ed. 2d 680 (2014) ("officers' corroboration of certain details made the anonymous tip sufficiently reliable to cr......
  • State v. Reed, No. 365A16-2
    • United States
    • North Carolina United States State Supreme Court of North Carolina
    • February 28, 2020
    ...person stopped of criminal activity." State v. Jackson, 368 N.C. 75, 78, 772 S.E.2d 847, 849 (2015) (quoting Navarette v. California, 572 U.S. 393, 396, 188 L. Ed. 2d 680, 686 (2014)). This objective basis must be premised upon "specific and articulable facts" and the "rational inferences"P......
  • State v. Brown, No. 2017AP774-CR
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Wisconsin
    • July 3, 2020
    ..."a particularized and objective basis" to suspect a person 392 Wis.2d 464 of criminal activity. 945 N.W.2d 589 Navarette v. California, 572 U.S. 393, 396-97, 134 S.Ct. 1683, 188 L.Ed.2d 680 (2014) (quoted source omitted); see also Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1, 21, 88 S.Ct. 1868, 20 L.Ed.2d 889......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
1 books & journal articles

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT