Monday, August 26th, 2019

Court Says Constitutional Violations By Law Enforcement Are Perfectly Fine As Long As They Happen Quickly

Published on December 13, 2015 by   ·   No Comments

The federal government needs to start working on across-the-board legalization of marijuana. Until it unites the nation under THC, this sort of bullshit is going to continue. (via FourthAmendment.com)

Any pretext can be used to make a traffic stop (thanks, SCOTUS!). Bad news is, driving a car opens a person up to a whole slew of warrantless searches under the “motor vehicle exception.” Searches can be equally pretextual, perhaps even more so. And this particular search is the pretextualist.

As long as the stop isn’t extended for too long (a wholly arbitrary length decided on a case-by-case basis during suppression hearings/civil rights lawsuits), cops are pretty much free to stop and search any driver for any reason. And even if they’re completely wrong every step of the way, there’s a good chance the “good faith exception” will excuse their misdeeds. (For everything else, there’s qualified immunity.)

From North Dakota, best known for oil fields and being one of the states people tend to drive through, rather thantowards.

While conducting drug surveillance, a Bismarck Police officer observed a vehicle with out-of-state plates. A detective working with the officer believed he recognized at least one occupant of the vehicle. Walker was a passenger in that vehicle. The detective asked the officer to pull the vehicle over if he observed it make a traffic violation. The officer observed the vehicle making an illegal left turn and stopped the vehicle.

So far, solid police work all around. Possibly suspicious person, albeit one that apparently didn’t reside in Bismarck, much less the state of North Dakota. But whatever. Benefit of a doubt and all that
.Upon approaching the vehicle, the officer informed the occupants as to the reason for the stop, asked for their identification, and asked about their travel plans. They informed the officer they were traveling from Washington State to Indiana because the driver’s mother was undergoing surgery. The officer also discovered that the vehicle was rented by Walker in Indianapolis and would be returned to that location. When asked, the occupants denied there was anything illegal in the vehicle.
Some suspicion there as the story doesn’t quite add up.
The officer relayed the identification and travel plans to the detective, who did not recognize their names. A check of their information did not turn up any outstanding warrants or criminal history.
Free to go?
Nope.The officer requested permission to search the vehicle, which Asbach did not give as he did not rent the vehicle. The officer then spoke to Walker, who indicated he was a third cousin to Asbach and they were returning to Indiana because Asbach’s mother was undergoing carpal tunnel surgery. The officer requested permission from Walker to search the vehicle, which he received. The length of the stop from beginning until consent was given was twelve minutes. No citation or warning had yet been issued. The officer did not tell Walker what he was searching for.
But the officer knew why he was searching the vehicle. It wasn’t because he thought he recognized the occupant or that the ID check had returned anything notable. The search was predicated on wherethe vehicle was travelling from, and what could be acquired there.
Read More HERE
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