I selected the case of Atwater vs. The city of Lago Vista Gail Atwater was stopped by a police officer for not having her children seat belted. Instead of issuing a minor misdemeanor ticket, as is normally done, the officer arrested Atwater The city of Lago Vista removed the suit and sent it to the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas, Which gave ruling to The city of Lago Vista. The court said that Atwater had failed to present proof that any constitutional right had been violated. The constitutional issue involved, as ruled by the US court of Appeals, was the 4 th amendment. In the 4 th amendment it states that "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
Basically in my opinion, Atwater felt that a driving violation that usually resulted in a $50 ticket max, which resulted in her being arrested, was unfair grounds for her detainment. The issue was that Atwater felt it was a constitutional violation for a custodial arrest for a minor arrest was not constitutional. The important precedents were that it was also an endangerment of her children, who she has responsibility for, to allow them to be in a moving vehicle without seatbelt's. In my opinion this is not just an issue of a personal choice violation, i. e.
she wasn't wearing her seatbelt. But more of an issue of not properly looking after her children, it is parental negligence. The main question before the court was "Is it constitutional to detain someone by full custodial arrest for violating a minor offense"? The Supreme Court ruled that the officer was within the jurisdiction allowed to him by his job and the 4 th amendment. The vote was 5-4, and it was written by Souter.
Souter said that police may arrest at any time as long as they have reasonable suspicion that even the smallest infraction has been committed. The court ruled this way because they felt the officer was within his bounds. I found no dissent for this case. This case is important because our civil rights were limited by it. This case gave police the authority to arrest whenever they suspect the law has been broken, regardless of severity. I would have voted against allowing this sort of police action.
The punishment of the crime should not exceed the severity of it. I also feel the framers of the 4 th amendment wrote this to restrict police from abusing their power.