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» Search and Seizure

The Greater Harm

Early last month, the United States District Court for the District of Arizona issued an opinion about whether driving slowly in the fast lane constituted reasonable suspicion for a traffic stop. FourthAmendment.com wrote about the opinion a few days ago in a post entitled “D.Ariz.: Driving less than the speed limit in the left lane was RS for stop.” Curious, I looked up the case and read the facts. An officer was patrolling the three lanes of westbound traffic on I-10 in Tucson when he saw a pickup truck in the far-left lane going under the 65 mile-per-hour speed limit. The officer noticed other cars were slowing behind the black pickup and passing it in the center lane. When the speed limit increased to 75 miles per … Read entire article »

Filed under: Arizona Cases, immigration, Search and Seizure

Making Bad Law

I recently had an interesting talk with a prosecutor. I litigated a case against him a little while back, and I thought it had decent facts for a motion to suppress. The officer’s report clearly stated that he had completed the traffic stop, issued a warning, and told the occupants they were free to go before re-initiating contact and asking them, “hey, do you mind if I take a look in the car?” There’s an Arizona court of appeals case from last year called State v. Sweeney. In it, the court held that, after a traffic stop has concluded, an officer must have reasonable cause to initiate a second detention of a suspect. Based on the totality of the circumstances, the officer in my case didn’t have … Read entire article »

Filed under: Arizona Cases, Prosecutors, Search and Seizure

Super-nosed Cops

I recently had a case where a police officer claimed he was able to smell a very small amount of unburnt marijuana. The amount was the same weight as a level teaspoon of salt, yet the officer pulled over the truck and performed a search of the vehicle without the client’s permission based solely on the odor of unburnt marijuana. The marijuana was located in the back of a closed camper inside two sealed plastic baggies inside a nylon gym bag filled with clothes. I have absolutely no doubt that the officer couldn’t have possibly smelled that marijuana. However, as a defense attorney few tools exist for me to challenge the claim on a scientific basis. I’ve only located one case where a court took … Read entire article »

Filed under: Police, Search and Seizure

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