Hmmm... well, a 'stop' would give the police inherent privilege of a frisk for the sole intent of seeking weapons in order to protect themselves during the stop. Searching the suitcase would be pushing that privilege in my estimation. Unless, during the frisk - drugs were discovered on the perp... that would lead to probable cause to search his suitcase, but; since the perp was under the officer's control at that point there was no danger of evidence being destroyed and a warrant would have been a better approach.
Now, the perp with the guns... that's a whole new ball of wax. Assuming at least one of the weapons was on his person - that charge, at least, should have stuck.
This all boils down to fruit of the poison tree ... basically, everything that happens after a mistake that reasonably would not have happened without the mistake is not admissible. The officers apparently botched this one pretty good, unfortunately. Hopefully more information will come out that illuminates the initial probable cause so we can better understand why this happened...
Army, lets say they did botch it. Does the cops botching it equate to these guys being innocent rather than guilty?
I would offer to you that it does not. If the cops bothced it and punishment is due, hey man, I am all for it. They should not be above the law and indeed should be held to account.
Put them in jail. Remove them from the policing authority. Fine them. A whole host of punishments are out there to deal with a cop that does something wrong. We should not be hiding truthful evidence of guilt in order for the guilty to go free. We should not do that to allow cops to go free and we should not do that to allow a civilian to go free.
How can one expect a jury (or a judge in a bench trial) to come to any kind of informed decision when they are clearly disallowed all known information? I pose that all available truth should be presented to the jury in order that they make the best decision that anyone can possibly expect them to make.
Example: Some claim the Invasion to remove Saddam was unlawful. Should all evidence against him be hidden away like it never existed? All the translations of captured documents be ignored? Surely noone will agree that they should be.
If cops know they are done being a cop if they search unreasonably then they will not do so. Simply hiding evidence in one case will not disallow them from continuing to be a cop in other cases.
Our law may have worked in the past but today it only works to see the guilty go free and we should adjust it so that stops happening.