Background: Arizona v. Gant
The case of Arizona v. Gant concerns a man named Rodney Joseph Gant. This man was arrested because he was driving with a suspended driver’s license. After Mr. Gant was taken by the police, the officers conducted a search on his vehicle where they discovered guns and illegal drugs. Because of this search, Mr. Gant was not only charged with illegal operation of a motor vehicle (remember he did not have a valid driver’s license), but also with illegal possession of a dangerous drug. After he was arrested, Gant cleverly cited the Arizona Police Department with partaking in an illegal search and seizure. Mr. Gant was apparently a good student, because he knew that the police officers had violated his constitutional rights—all citizens of the United States are protected against illegal search and seizures by the 4th Amendment to the United States Constitution.
The Case: Arizona V. Gant
The Arizona v. Gant case was heard on October 7th of 2008. The case dealt with administrative law; it questioned the “due process” clause of the United States Constitution. The due process clause refers to the government’s obligation to respect, maintain and uphold the rights of American citizens when they are arrested. All state governments, as well as the Federal government, are required to uphold this clause; these bodies must preserve and protect a citizen’s liberties and rights. The United States Government must uphold the right to respectful and fair treatment when a citizen is detained by police officers.
In Arizona v. Gant, Mr. Gant said that the Arizona police officers who pulled him over performed an illegal search of his car. The search was conducted without a warrant; a warrant is the expressed legal permission for the police to enter a citizen’s personal or private property with the intent to find illegal things.
Mr. Gant said that the Arizona police officers acted without probable cause. The United States Supreme Court in Gant v. Arizona ruled in favor of Mr. Gant, stating that the police officers conducted an illegal search because they did not have probable cause to enter Mr. Grant’s vehicle. The police officers could only search Mr. Gant’s car if there was something alarming about the vehicle. Something that made the police officers curious and made them think, “Hey something illegal is going on here.”
The Supreme Court ruled that the Arizona police department lacked evidence to search Mr. Gant’s car. In Gant V. Arizona the court ruled that the police could only assume Mr. Gant was in violation of just the illegal operation of a car. Because of this, the Supreme Court overruled Mr. Gant’s conviction of illegal possession of guns and drugs.
The Supreme Court ruled in favor of Mr. Gant in Gant v. Arizona because the 4th Amendment to the United States Constitution does not allow police officers or any government workers to conduct unlawful search and seizures of a citizen’s personal belongings.