Justice? An Illegal Search – Part 1

Below is a picture of Justice, the drug dog, and his handler as they work their way around a car. A police officer previously radioed the handler and asked him to come to the scene of a traffic stop. He asked him to come to the scene with Justice and try to get consent to search the car.

You see the officer had stopped the rental car in a store parking lot for following too closely back on the interstate. The officer wanted to search the car, but the two young black men both said no. So, the officer said he was going to write a warning ticket. But before he would start writing the ticket, he would end up doing some other things.

He would ask them some questions. He really wanted to know why the young man who rented the car was in the passenger seat, while the other young fellow was driving. He really wanted to know where they had been. So he separated them and asked them.  He also wanted to know the last time they smoked marijuana. If it was in Georgia the officer explained then there was nothing he could do. They didn’t smoke marijuana. They did, however, smoke cigars – Black & Mild.

The young men had pulled off the interstate to use the restroom. When they asked if they could go, the officer had another idea. He asked the young men if they would agree to be searched. The officer had a constable with him and he helped with the search and the armed escort to the bathroom.

Back in the squad car, the officer radioed the drug dog handler. He explained that he had two young black men from out of state, traveling from Georgia to N.C. in a rental car, one had a prior drug conviction, and there was “shake” in the car (tobacco taken out of the cigars). He also said they had given different versions of where they had been: one said to watch a basketball game; the other to visit some girls. There was also some energy drinks in the car.

The officer did not say that he smelled marijuana. He never even used the word. He did ask the dog handler to try to use Justice to get consent to search the car.

When the dog handler got there, he asked the young men if he could search the car or whether he had to get the dog out.  They said no. So, he went and got Justice out and went about doing the tasks that drug dogs and their handlers do.

This is a picture of Justice’s handler after Justice did not hit or alert on the automobile.

The officer asked again if he could search the car, adding that he could have sworn he smelled marijuana earlier on one of the young men.

After the young men said no, the officer and the handler looked around and talked. But no one could hear what they said. Then they searched the car.

They searched the inside of the car. They did not find any contraband. Then they searched the trunk and found drugs.

This might be an amusing story if it were not for the fact that it was an illegal search that resulted in a 30 year prison sentence for one young man.

2 Comments

Filed under Fourth Amendment

2 responses to “Justice? An Illegal Search – Part 1

  1. Can’t wait for part 2…..

  2. Thanks. I can’t either. There are many things happening in that story.