Quantcast
Connect with us

Federal court says cops can’t search drivers for living in states where pot is legal

Published

on

Marijuana (AFP)

A federal appeals court on Tuesday said police officers cannot stop and search vehicles belonging to out-of-state motorists simply because of where they are registered, including states where marijuana use is legal.

By a 2-1 vote, the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver said two Kansas Highway Patrol officers violated the constitutional rights of Colorado motorist Peter Vasquez in December 2011 by pulling him over and searching his car after he had been driving alone at night on Interstate 70.

ADVERTISEMENT

The officers relied heavily on Vasquez’s residency to justify the search, which uncovered nothing illegal, saying Colorado was a known “drug source” where marijuana is legal.

But the court said that would justify searching motorists from the 25 U.S. states that permit marijuana use for medical purposes, and the four states, including Colorado, plus Washington, D.C., where recreational use is allowed.

“It is time to abandon the pretense that state citizenship is a permissible basis upon which to justify the detention and search of out-of-state motorists, and time to stop the practice of detention of motorists for nothing more than an out-of-state license plate,” Circuit Judge Carlos Lucero wrote.

“Absent a demonstrated extraordinary circumstance, the continued use of state residency as a justification for the fact of or continuation of a stop is impermissible,” he added.

The decision revived Vasquez’s civil lawsuit seeking damages from officers Richard Jimerson and Dax Lewis for violating his Fourth Amendment unreasonable search and seizure rights. A lower court judge had dismissed the case in November 2014.

ADVERTISEMENT

Chief Judge Timothy Tymkovich dissented, saying the case was a “close call” but that reasonable officers might have thought Vasquez’s travel plans suspicious and the search acceptable.

The office of Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt, which defended the officers, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Vasquez’s lawyers did not immediately respond to similar requests.

The 10th Circuit decision applies in Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Utah and Wyoming.

ADVERTISEMENT

The case is Vasquez v Lewis et al, 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, No. 14-3278.

(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Dan Grebler)

ADVERTISEMENT


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

Ivanka Trump wants to be the ‘first female president’ — but there’s one major obstacle

Published

on

Ivanka Trump is harboring political ambitions after she leaves the White House after her father's election loss.

It's not clear where President Donald Trump's eldest daughter will live, along with her husband and fellow White House adviser Jared Kushner, but their former friends, colleagues and associates believe Ivanka Trump will try to build up her influence in the Republican Party, reported the Washington Post.

“I think she’d want to be the [first] female president,” said Marissa Velez Kraxberger, a film producer who worked for Ivanka for two years at her now-defunct company. “I don’t think she’s actually ever had any interest in fashion but everything was an angle to gain more power in whatever possible way.”

Continue Reading

2020 Election

GOP senator knows Trump lost but thinks it would be ‘political suicide’ to admit it: report

Published

on

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) is still spouting conspiracy theories about the election being "stolen" from President Donald Trump -- but according to one former Wisconsin Republican official, Johnson understands that Trump lost.

Mark Becker, the former Chairman of the Brown County Republican Party, writes at The Bulwark that he had a conversation with Johnson after the election in which the senator acknowledged Trump's defeat.

However, Johnson said that he was loath to admit it publicly because of the strong support the president had received from Wisconsin GOP voters, despite the fact that the president narrowly lost the state this year.

Continue Reading
 

Breaking Banner

‘Dumbest senator ever’: Morning Joe mocks Republican Ron Johnson

Published

on

MSNBC's Joe Scarborough mocked Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) for demanding proof of something that doesn't exist.

Attorney General William Barr announced the Department of Justice had found no evidence of voter fraud, as President Donald Trump has claimed, and Johnson called on Barr to "show everybody" the proof that the election had not been stolen.

"The man Guinness Book of World Records has called the dumbest senator to ever be sworn in in this constitutional republic," Scarborough said. "I'm speaking, of course, of Ron Johnson, who said that William Barr must show his evidence that he has no evidence."

Continue Reading