Vanderbilt Law Review

First Page



Police officers throughout the nation face the practical application of Fourth Amendment' protections in the automobile investigatory stop context daily in a wide variety of settings. Nevertheless, the Supreme Court has yet to articulate a functional analytical approach to automobile investigatory stops. This lack of guidance is particularly troublesome when one considers that the Framers specifically designed the Fourth Amendment to prevent government officials from conducting investigations in an oppressive, unreasonable manner. The problem is not simply theoretical but has manifested itself through confusion in the lower courts. The lack of response from the Court on this issue has left lower courts not only disagreeing over the appropriate approach courts should use to analyze the pretext issue but also questioning the existence and content of pretext doctrine.