A man claims he was stopped and detained by a state trooper in Idaho simply because he was driving a vehicle with Colorado license plates, where marijuana is legal, according to a new federal lawsuit.
There was no marijuana in the care, and the man said he doesn’t smoke it.
“Assuming guilt based on a license plate — that’s just a violation of our civil rights,” Mark Coonts, one of Roseen’s attorneys, told The Denver Post. Roseen has filed a civil rights lawsuit against the State of Idaho, State Trooper Justin Klitch and local authorities in federal court in Boise.
Roseen, a 70-year-old retired executive, was driving from Washington State to Pagosa Springs, Colorado, on January 25, 2013, when Klitch followed his vehicle into a rest stop. At the time, only medicinal marijuana was legal, although now recreational pot is legal, too.
Detained and Searched
“When is the last time you used any marijuana?” Klitch asked. When Roseen said he had not, Klitch demanded to search his Honda Ridgeline truck. After Roseen refused the search, Klitch detained the man and took him to the Payette County Sheriff’s Officer. An officer from the Fruitland City Police Department drove Roseen’s truck to the sheriff’s office and searched it without a warrant or consent.
During the search Roseen was detained at the sheriff’s office and only allowed to go to the bathroom if a deputy was watching. When the search turned up no illegal substances, Roseen was cited for careless driving and allowed to go on his way. The trooper said Roseen did not give a signal; Roseen said he did. The trooper also said Roseen bumped into two curbs, but Roseen said they were hidden under snow.
“He was offended by his treatment — assuming that not only was he a user but that he was carrying marijuana into Idaho just based on the fact that he has Colorado license plates,” Coonts said of his client.
Former Company Executive Falsely Accused of Smoking Pot
News stories state that Klitch ordered the search because he claimed to smell marijuana. Roseen is the former vice president of Weyerhaeuser Real Estate which is part of Weyerhaeuser, a Fortune 500 company. Coonts said his client has never used marijuana.
“At no point did Trooper Klitch’s line of questioning relate to Mr. Roseen’s alleged improper driving pattern,” the complaint states. “Instead, Trooper Klitch immediately accused Mr. Roseen of transporting something illegal.
“Trooper Klitch lacked sufficient probable cause to shift the primary purpose of the stop from a traffic stop to a narcotics investigation,” the complaint adds. “As such, Trooper Klitch was not justified in continuing Mr. Roseen’s detention beyond the time necessary to effectuate the purpose of the original traffic stop.”
“He didn’t go right out and say ‘Where’s the weed, old man?’ “Coonts said of Klitch, “But the whole interaction was just, ‘Give me the weed, I know it’s here.’ ”
Not the Only Case
Roseen is not the only driver to report being stopped, detained and searched by police on the suspicion that he was carrying something legal in one state but illegal in another. Off the Grid News reported that Florida resident John Filippidis and his family were detained by transit police in Maryland because he had a concealed carry permit for a pistol.
Even though the gun was back home in Florida, police searched Fillipidis’ vehicle and detained him, his wife and children. The family was pulled over at the Fort McHenry Tunnel in Baltimore, Maryland, while driving to New Jersey.
What do you think? Should the man have been stopped?