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Delaware v. Prouse

Significance, Impact, Drunk Driving And Drug Use, Further Readings


State of Delaware


William J. Prouse III

Petitioner's Claim

Random vehicle stops by state patrolmen are justified by a compelling state interest to promote traffic safety.

Chief Lawyer for Petitioner

Charles M. Oberly III

Chief Lawyer for Respondent

David M. Lukoff

Justices for the Court

Harry A. Blackmun, William J. Brennan, Jr., Warren E. Burger, Thurgood Marshall, Lewis F. Powell, Jr., John Paul Stevens, Potter Stewart, Byron R. White (writing for the Court)

Justices Dissenting

William H. Rehnquist


Washington, D.C.

Date of Decision

27 March 1979


The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the decision of the Delaware Supreme Court--that it was unconstitutional for state police to randomly stop vehicles at a check stop unless there was a justifiable reason for a motorist to be stopped. Unwarranted stops represented unreasonable seizure under the Fourth Amendment.

Related Cases

  • Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1 (1968).
  • Adams v. Williams, 407 U.S. 143 (1972).
  • United States v. Brignoni-Ponce, 422 U.S. 873 (1975).
  • United States v. Martinez-Fuerte, 428 U.S. 543 (1976).
  • Michigan Department of State Police v. Sitz, 496 U.S. 444 (1990).


Morgan, Kathleen O'Leary, et al., eds. Crime State Rankings. Lawrence, KS: Morgan Quitno, 1994.

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1973 to 1980