Judicial Review of Drug Courier Profiling: An Assessment of Court Oversight of Proactive Police Interdiction

Scott L. Johnson, Buffalo State College

Research on drug courier profiles concludes that continued use of these instruments raises considerable concerns. Scholarship of drug courier profiling asserts that these instruments may not accurately represent the behavior of persons transporting illegal narcotics. Moreover, researchers allege that the use of drug courier profiles by law enforcement agencies s institutional racism since evidence suggests that proactive pretextual encounters between police and citizens based on profiles represent biased application of race neutral instruments. The primary procedural mechanism of addressing the concerns of profiling by police is judicial review of police procedures and behavior. Through content analyses of court opinions at both the federal and state court levels, this research examines judicial review of drug courier profiling to ascertain if courts have addressed the validity and discrimination concerns inherent in drug courier profiling. This project will ascertain if drug profile characteristics are used with any degree of consistency in law enforcement, if courts critically analyze profile content, if courts require police to demonstrate the validity of profiles

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Updated 05/20/2006