American Judges Association


Date of this Version



Court Review, Volume 51, Issue 4 (2015)


Copyright American Judges Association. Used by permission.


Despite its relatively modest size, last Term’s Supreme Court criminal docket packed a punch. The Court decided search-and-seizure issues important to day-today policing, it returned to the Crawford v. Washington line of cases, and several justices opined on the constitutionality of solitary confinement and the death penalty. This article reviews these and other criminal decisions with an eye toward issues most relevant to state courts. It closes with a brief glance toward the 2015 Term.


Traffic stops and administrative searches were the focus of this Term’s Fourth Amendment cases. The Court issued important rulings on “add-ons” to legitimate police stops, the reasonableness of searches and seizures made pursuant to an officer’s mistake of law, and the constitutionality of city ordinances permitting the police to inspect hotel registries without prior permission from a judge.