- 50th Anniversary
- Online Edition
- Print Edition
- Donahue Lecture Series
Under established constitutional law, a police officer’s search or seizure premised on his mistake of law is typically held unconstitutional. Some jurisdictions, however, permit an officer to base his reasonable suspicion or probable cause on a reasonable mistake concerning an ambiguous or confusing law to justify a traffic stop. In State v. Heien, the North Carolina Supreme Court considered as a matter of first impression whether a police officer’s reasonable mistake of law concerning the defendant’s one malfunctioning brake light could provide the reasonable suspicion necessary to stop and subsequently search his vehicle. . . .
One of the critical elements of any action in negligence is the existence of a duty that one party owes to another. Generally a defendant has no duty to protect someone who is at risk due to occurrences that the defendant had no part in generating, but there are exceptions to this rule where courts have imposed such a duty. In Seebold v. Prison Health Services, Inc., the court considered whether to create an additional exception to the general rule and impose a common-law duty on a physician who treats prisoners to warn guards that a particular inmate has a communicable disease. The court held that physicians do not have such a duty to warn at common law.