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Heien v. North Carolina

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Heien v. North Carolina



Heien v. North Carolina was argued on October 6, 2014 and decided on December 15, 2014.

This case is about what happens when a police officer mistakenly pulls a car over and discovers drugs in the car. Should the evidence be used against the accused at trial, or excluded from trial because of the officer’s mistake?

Case summary

Case briefs


Both the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and the Rutherford Institute filed amicus briefs in this case. You could assign some students to research those groups’ interests and prepare a brief for the Court from one interest group’s perspective.

Oral argument



Legal /content background

Heien v. North Carolina is a Fourth Amendment case. It provides a venue for exploring Americans’ rights when it comes to vehicle stops and searches, and a way to teach about the exclusionary rule. Mapp v. Ohio, which established the exclusionary rule, is a good background case to teach first.

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Fourth Amendment vehicle cases