Idaho Cop Arrests and Searches Driver for Having Colorado Tags

If you’re driving through Idaho, and you’re from Colorado, that could mean only one thing to an Idaho State Trooper:  Obviously, you’re transporting large amounts of weed in your car. Remember, Colorado decriminalized possession of small amounts of the plant, and as a result, everyone there without exception smokes it.

Since all Coloradans are potheads, this Colorado driver’s car (and weed) could be seized by Idaho police under asset forfeiture laws and sold (after being used as props in pictures of the Idaho police posing with the governor). Then, they could take the proceeds and buy a new SUV and vending machine. Or a tank. (Actually, they wouldn’t bother buying a tank when Homeland Security hands those out for free.)

I’m sure that’s the vision this particular Idaho cop got when he saw this man driving through his state. Seattle’s local CBS affiliate reported:

Darien Roseen was driving along I-84 between his second home in Colorado and Washington state on Jan. 25 when Idaho State Trooper Justin Klitch “immediately” pulled out from the Interstate median and began “rapidly accelerating” to catch up to Roseen, according to the complaint in a Courthouse News Service report. Exiting at a designated rest area, Roseen says he became “uncomfortable” that Klitch had followed him though he had not “done anything wrong.”

After pulling Roseen over, Klitch reportedly failed to explain why he made the stop, although he later said he made the stop because Roseen failed to use his signal when pulling off on the exit, and because he bumped the curb. Klitch rejected Roseen’s reason for pulling into the rest area, telling him, “You didn’t have to go to the bathroom before you saw me … I’m telling you, you pulled in here to avoid me.”

The complaint states that Klitch asked Roseen why his eyes “appeared glassy,” while failing to ask him for his proof of insurance, registration, or returning to his vehicle to verify Roseen’s license. He then accused Roseen of “having something in his vehicle that he should not have.”

“After Mr. Roseen identified his possession of valid prescription medications, Trooper Klitch asked him, ‘When is the last time you used any marijuana?’ thereby assuming that Mr. Roseen had, in fact, used marijuana and inferring that he had used it recently,” according to the complaint.

Klitch repeatedly asked to search Roseen’s vehicle as he accused him of “hiding” something. And when Roseen did not grant him permission, Klitch threatened to bring in a drug-sniffing dog and characterized Roseen’s behavior as “consistent with a person who was hiding something illegal.”

Finally consenting to a search of “parts” of the vehicle to get “back on the road faster,” Roseen says that this proved to be a mistake.

“When Mr. Roseen opened the trunk compartment, and despite the strong gusts of wind and precipitation that day, Trooper Klitch claimed he could smell the odor of marijuana,” the complaint states. “Mr. Roseen stated that he could not smell the odor of marijuana that Trooper Klitch claimed to be coming from the trunk compartment.”

Calling in an additional police officer, Klitch said the aroma gave him cause to search the entire vehicle, and Roseen was detained in the back of Klitch’s vehicle, but was told he was not under arrest despite having been read his Miranda rights.

The second officer drove Roseen’s Honda Ridgeline to the Payette County Sheriff’s sally port although Roseen states that he never gave the officer permission to drive his vehicle and the car’s items were not inventoried.

The ensuing search of the vehicle by multiple unidentified officers found nothing and Roseen was issued a citation for “inattentive/careless” driving.

What is it that all those stupid crime dramas on TV attempt to teach their viewers? That innocent people never try to get away from police for any reason; that they will always comply with police orders and answer all their questions in detail. And why is that? Because they have nothing to hide. Guilty people, on the other hand, always try to get away from police, and they never answer their questions, and they never bring up the 4th and 5th Amendments.

Obviously, this guy was guilty of something, because he exited at a rest stop. Was he trying to avoid this overzealous, speeding cop? Probably. But to this cop, that meant that was clearly hiding something illegal. The 70-year-old’s eyes “appeared glassy.” His behavior was “consistent with someone who was hiding something illegal.” Oh, and my favorite, the cop “smelled marijuana.” Uh-huh. Sure he did.

All these “suspicions” were based on what exactly? The fact that this driver was from Colorado. That’s all the probable cause the cop needed to stop the guy, search his car and arrest the driver. And all for nothing. Frankly, I’m a little surprised the Idaho Trooper didn’t take the 70-year-old to the nearest medical center to give him a series of enemas and colonoscopies. Maybe next time.