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Federal judge comes down hard on wrongful police action

Yes, they found heroin in the vehicle.

And state and federal law enforcers also discovered something else subsequent to their drug seizure and arrest of a driver in Michigan, namely this: a pretextual traffic stop owing to a violation purposely caused by a police officer just won’t fly under the Constitution’s 4th Amendment.

Bottom line: case dismissed.

A federal judge’s ire was clearly on display in his recent ruling aimed at police misconduct orchestrated to yield a traffic stop and justify a vehicle search for drugs. Their suspected presence in a car was signaled to a state trooper by federal DEA agents who wanted the car stopped.

Here’s how the cop accomplished that mission: He pulled alongside the driver and reportedly stared him down for about a minute. The motorist slowed down a couple miles per hour, and the officer then stopped him for driving 53 mph in a 55-mph zone.

No drugs were found in that detainment. They were, though, in a second stop undertaken after discovery that the driver had a visa irregularity.

As noted in a recent media piece reporting the story, the judge “was not impressed.” He ruled that, because the initial stop was flatly illegal, any evidence subsequently discovered was inadmissible in a court proceeding as so-called “fruit of the poisonous tree.”

“The officer himself created the alleged traffic violation to justify the stop of the vehicle,” the judge wrote in a scathing opinion. Moreover, the court noted, driving two miles per hour slower than a posted speed limit does not justify a traffic stop.

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