Illinois v. Lidster: Continuing to Carve Out Constitutional Vehicle Checkpoints

In the court case Illinois versus Lidster, the Supreme Court held that the Fourth Amendment does not prohibit motorist checkpoints carried out with the purpose of requesting information from vehicle occupants about a previously-committed crime. The Court decided that such stops are constitutional when they advance the public interest in solving a crime to a degree that outweighs any interference with individual liberties as a result of the stop. This article argues that the Supreme Court properly reasoned that its decision in City of Indianapolis versus Edmond, in which the Court held constitutional checkpoints conducted without any individualized suspicion and to detect evidence of ordinary criminal wrongdoing, is distinguishable from Lidster and should not control. The author outlines cases that demonstrate the Supreme Court's assessment of seizure employed in a variety of circumstances, including vehicle checkpoints. The author concludes that the Illinois courts had been incorrect in extending per se unconstitutionality to information-seeking roadblocks; rather, these roadblocks should be evaluated according to the reasonableness balancing test set forth in Brown. The author contends that the Supreme Court also erred in simply reversing the case when the issue had not even been considered in the Illinois courts' decision. Dosing so was not only uncharacteristic of the Court in comparison to its previous treatment of vehicle checkpoint cases, but also improper in light of the Court's traditional function as a court of review.

  • Publication Date: 2005


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Print
  • Features: References;
  • Pagination: pp 839-870
  • Serial:

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01010604
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Nov 4 2005 7:30AM