Oral argument: Mar. 21, 2011
Appealed from: New York State Court of Appeals (Mar. 30, 2010)
EXCLUSIONARY RULE, SEARCH AND SEIZURE, FOURTH AMENDMENT, IDENTITY EVIDENCE
Following an automobile stop in Manhattan, New York police officers ran Petitioner Jose Tolentino’s driver’s license through a Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) database, discovering that his driver’s license had been suspended and that he had at least ten suspensions for failure to answer a summons or to pay a fine. Tolentino was indicted by a grand jury for aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle. On appeal, Tolentino argues his DMV records must be suppressed because they were the fruit of an unlawful stop. Respondent State of New York argues that, even if the stop was unlawful, the exclusionary rule should not be extended to apply to information the government already possessed, since such an application would be unreasonable. The Supreme Court will have to balance the cost of suppressing highly probative evidence against the potential benefit of discouraging police from conducting random automobile stops without probable cause.