The Supreme Court made it easier Monday for police to arrest all occupants of a car when hidden drugs are found during a traffic stop.
Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist, writing for the unanimous court, said that in a small space like a car, "it was reasonable for the officer to infer a common enterprise" among a driver and passengers during a 1999 stop in Maryland.
Rehnquist said police had probable cause to suspect that passenger Joseph Jermaine Pringle knew that there was $763 in the glove compartment and five baggies of cocaine in an armrest in the backseat.
An appeals court had thrown out Pringle's drug conviction and 10-year prison sentence on grounds that his arrest violated the Constitution's Fourth Amendment ban on unreasonable searches or seizures.
The Supreme Court reversed the decision.