1. Whether the State of Tennessee should adopt a good faith exception to the exclusionary rule under the Fourth Amendment.
2. Whether failure to maintain a single lane under Tennessee Code Annotated 55-8-123(1)-(Driving on Roadways Laned for Traffic) is enough by itself for probable cause to conduct a traffic stop.
With regard to the first issue, the United States Supreme Court adopted the good faith exception to the Fourth Amendment in United States v. Leon (468 US 897), however, the State of Tennessee has yet to adopt it. In my opinion adoption of this exception will lead to more unlawful searches and seizures which then leads to the admission of evidence under this "good faith" reliance. In evaluating this issue the court will be faced with balancing the deterrence of police misconduct in obtaining evidence versus a citizens rights against unreasonable search and seizure, which is the ultimate purpose of the exclusionary rule. The adoption of this exception could defeat the purpose of the Fourth Amendment's exclusionary rule.
The next issue involves traffic stops under Tennessee Code Annotated 55-8-123(1) which reads (a driver must maintain a vehicle entirely within a single lane "as nearly as practicable") and whether a driver's failure to do so rises to the level of reasonable suspicion to warrant a traffic stop. In State v. Ann Elizabeth Martin, the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals noted that a person driving a vehicle which briefly crosses the solid white line on the shoulder is not committing a traffic violation (No. E1999-01361-CCA-R3-CD, 2000 WL 1273889 (Tenn. Crim. App. Sept. 8, 2000)). Also, in United States v. Freeman, 209 F.3d 464, 466 (6th Cir. 2000) the Court held that weaving into an emergency lane one time for a few feet is not a violation of 55-8-123. The ruling in these cases will have a great impact on pending and future DUI cases involving similar issues.
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