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Federal judge comes down hard on wrongful police action

| Aug 6, 2018 | Drug Possession

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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