Newsbriefs 3/31/00

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Unanimous Pro-Fourth Amendment Supreme Court Ruling

The Supreme Court reined in some of the government's power to stop and search people based on anonymous tips, according to the Associated Press. In a unanimous ruling this past Tuesday (3/28), the court found that Miami police violated a juvenile's Fourth Amendment rights in 1995, when arresting him for gun possession after an anonymous caller claimed someone matching his description had a concealed weapon. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote for the court, "The question is whether an anonymous tip... is, without more, sufficient to justify a police officer's stop and frisk of that person. We hold that it is not."

Ginsburg also wrote, "That the allegation... turned out to be correct does not suggest that the officers prior to the frisks had a reasonable basis for suspecting J.L. of engaging in unlawful conduct. The reasonableness of official suspicion must be measured by what the officers knew before they conducted their search." Ginsburg added that allowing such searches "would enable any person seeking to harass another to set in motion an intrusive, embarrassing police search of the targeted person simply by placing an anonymous call."

Vermont Methadone Patient Killed, Son Injured in Crash During Long Trek to Nearest Massachusetts Clinic

A Vermont woman, Linda Clark, was killed in an auto accident and her son critically injured last Saturday morning during a 400 mile round-trip drive to the closest methadone treatment program in Springfield, Massachusetts, according to Seven Days Newspaper in Vermont ( Clark made the journey several times a week, due to a Vermont law banning methadone. The Vermont House is currently considering a bill, opposed by Governor Dean, that would permit methadone and other pharmacotherapies for treatment of opiate addiction (see

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Issue #131, 3/31/00 ON CAMPUS: HEA Reform Campaign Gains Support | Colombia Package Passes House Through Opposition, Moves to Senate | Interview with Sylvester Salcedo | Senate Passes Civil Forfeiture Reform Bill Unanimously | New York City Update | Amherst Voters Approve Referendum to Deprioritize Marijuana Enforcement | UK: Police Foundation Report Calls for Marijuana Decrim, Lower Penalties for Other Drugs | Newsbriefs | on Maine Medical Marijuana, Netherlands Drug Policy | Editorial: War On Us All
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