A Washington man has filed a federal lawsuit, claiming an Idaho state trooper pulled him over because of his license plate from Colorado – where marijuana is legal.
Darien Roseen, lives in Washington state but owns a second home in Colorado, said he was stopped Jan. 25, 2013, as he cross the Idaho-Oregon border on Interstate 84, reported Courthouse News.
“He was stopped in Idaho and deprived of his constitutional rights because he was driving a car with a license plate from a state that ISP associated with marijuana,” said his attorney, Mark Coonts.
Colorado and Washington each legalized marijuana in November 2012 and began allowing private consumption the following month.
The suit claims state Trooper Justin Kiltch caught up to Roseeen and followed him to the parking lot of a rest stop, which the retiree from Weyerhauser said made him uncomfortable.
The trooper turned on his emergency lights when Roseen bumped a curb while parking, which he blamed on Klitch’s presence and weather conditions.
The suit claims Klitch did not immediately explain why he pursed and initiated contact with Roseen, but later said he did so because the older man failed to use his signal while exiting the interstate and then bumped the curb.
Klitch disputed the driver’s stated reason for pulling off to the rest stop, the suit claims, and instead supplied his own reason for Roseen’s actions.
“You didn’t have to go to the bathroom before you saw me,’” the trooper said, according to the complaint. “’I’m telling you, you pulled in here to avoid me. That’s exactly what you did.’”
The trooper asked Roseen why his eyes appeared glassy and suggested he was carrying illegal items before asking for the driver’s license and proofs of registration and insurance – which he never returned, the suit claims.
Roseen told the trooper he had valid prescription medication in the car, and the suit claims Klitch asked when he’d last smoked marijuana and repeatedly asked to search the vehicle.
The driver declined permission, and Klitch said his actions were “consistent with a person who was hiding something illegal.”
Roseen finally consented to a search of portions of his vehicle after Klitch threatened to call for a drug-sniffing dog, the suit claims, and began unpacking presents he was taking to his daughter’s baby shower.
When Roseen opened the trunk, the trooper claimed to smell marijuana, which he said gave him probable cause to search the car and detain the older man in the back of his police cruiser.
The trooper read Roseen his Miranda rights, although he was told he was not under arrest.
Roseen’s vehicle was driven to the Payette County sheriff’s department by a Fruitland city police officer for an additional search, which the suit claims turned up nothing.
Klitch issued Roseen a citation for inattentive or careless driving and sent him on his way.
Roseen sued Klitch, the Fruitland police officer, a Payette County sheriff’s deputy, and the Idaho state police, claiming his Fourth, Fifth, and 14th Amendment rights were violated.
“At no point did Trooper Klitch’s line of questioning relate to Mr. Roseen’s alleged improper driving pattern,” the complaint says. “Instead, Trooper Klitch immediately accused Mr. Roseen of transporting something illegal.”
[Image: Police officer writing ticket via Shutterstock]