Constitution

Trooper or Dog Has Defective Nose

We have been reluctant to weigh in on the controversial traffic stop by the Idaho State Trooper who is subject of an internal investigation after detaining a Colorado man for two and a half hours on suspicion of marijuana possession.
U.S. Customs and Immigration agents use a drug detection dog on automobiles waiting to enter the United States port of entry at the Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico/San Diego, California border crossing.
The driver is alleging the trooper “profiled” him based on the Colorado license plates. The trooper said he could smell marijuana, therefore he had “probable cause” to search the vehicle. The man and vehicle were taken to the Payette county sheriff’s office where a “certified” trained drug sniffing dog went over the vehicle. Dogs are used to establish “probable cause.”

The dog found no odor of marijuana, contrary to the claims of the trooper. The man was released after being detained for several hours.

The big legal issue as we see it is this: IF THE DOG COULDN’T SMELL THE WEED, HOW COULD THE TROOPER? Also, if the trooper actually did smell marijuana, how did the dog miss it? One or the other has a defective nose.

Apparently something didn’t smell right in the incident.

Comments & Discussion

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  1. idahocrystal
    Apr 16, 2014, 11:41 am

    I’m not disputing whether or not the gentleman from CO/WA has a legitimate claim, just responding to the Guardian’s post about the “fishy” smell of pot.

    People are a little weird sometimes and often our brains will play tricks on us. A good example is when one person says they smell smoke, other people might believe they also smell smoke. Or when someone claims to see an image of Jesus on their toast, other people may also be able to see what’s suggested.

    The trooper might well have believed he smelled pot, simply by allowing his preconceived belief to overrule his “sensory logic”. (Not sure if sensory logic is an actual thing, but I’m using it to convey the point I’m attempting to express…) = >

    EDITOR NOTE–You sound just like an attorney!…”sensory logic?” Is that concept like the smell of cow manure is the aroma of money to farmers?

  2. Think the cop just needed a bust.
    I watched the video and it made no sense why he tried forcing the issue.

  3. When I first read this…on my phone… I was a little confused as to why the person thought the cop would profile him because he was from Colorado. Then my brain kicked in and I remembered that CO allows recreational use of pot. This would explain why the cop thought he had easy pickin’s. I hope the individual wins a pot (no pun intended…just a happy turn of phrase) of money from the state…it seems that this is the only way to reign in Idaho’s finest.

    To crystal… it seems to me that you have just given this person some ammo to show that the cop did indeed act badly. A preconceived belief sure sounds to a reasonable and prudent person like profiling. As I said before I hope he/she wins a pot of money and the cop gets some much needed “training”.

    To ALL cops I would say this….Not everyone you come in contact with is a scum bag guys… you all cry that 1 or 2 bad apples does not spoil all LE… try to remember that goes the same for the public.

  4. Grumpy ole guy
    Apr 16, 2014, 3:50 pm

    Has the dog been tested since the incident? How did it do? I think the cop smelled what he expected to smell, as Crystal pointed out, there are studies which point out the that, that is a common occurrence and that it probably was as “honest” an error as is possible under the circumstance. The fellow should be offered an apology and the ticket should be squashed (whatever the term is) the cop should be forced to read some of those studies and some training on this topic should to provided to present and future troopers.

  5. I saw the cop cam video and the cop bird dogged the guy into the rest stop. It was pretty clear the cop had the guy flustered as he hit a curb on the way in at the Y for trucks and car parking. He was so unnerved he jumped the curb. Cops intimidating people is simply wrong. The do it, and they know they are doing it. This cop needs some retraining to embrace the concept of “to serve and protect”, not intimidate and threaten.

  6. Fly… they are not there to serve or protect… just intimidate and arrest…

    Now on a related note… this is ISP cop has ties to two stories running currently on the guardian. This is the same guy who collared Gary C Miller. The guardian reported today that Mr Miller resigned his position with BPD effective “last week”. Funny how Mr. Klitch seemed to be in a hurry to put one person in jail… but let another go with a citation.

    On a serious note maybe Justin should put his nose to work at scentsy or maybe camille beckman.. I don’t think either has a product that smells like maryj though.

  7. To Rick just a note to remember that if he wins it comes out of the taxpayer’s pockets. Maybe not directly but you get the point.

  8. My money is on the dog. He didn’t smell it as it wasn’t there. I am getting to the point where I don’t trust the police anymore. Too many stories of abuse.

  9. Ducky..ya it comes out of the taxpayers money… and maybe if it starts costing the apathetic people in this state they will demand something be done to reign in the rampant abuse of power that we see in that video… God the abuses make me sick

  10. I smelled marijuana.
    I smelled alcohol.

    VERY easy to say. VERY difficult in court to prove otherwise. If the fishing expedition works, the cop says, I guessed right. If the fishing expedition comes up empty, no big deal the person is happy to get away unscathed and seldom is there a reason for the false smell to ever come up.

    I would bet somewhere in the LEO network there is the “here are the tricks to make a bust” notebook, and use your nose is #1.

  11. Rod in SE Boise
    Apr 17, 2014, 11:20 am

    More police-state news.

    Of course he did not smell pot, he just said he did.

  12. A slow day for news, huh dave? Interesting that residents from a Mountain state are automatically suspect in Idaho. He may have been a conservative minister from Colorado Springs.

  13. If the guy had really been smoking weed, as alleged, he wouldn’t’ve stopped at the rest stop; he would’ve gone another 5 miles up the road to that first convenience store to stock up on Doritos and Mountain Dew.

    Are the cops ignoring the people going 85, and instead concentrating on the people going LESS than the speed limit? Based on my observation, that is another behavior they could “profile” if potheads are the primary law-enforcement target these days.

  14. What scares me the most about this particular incident is this… the guy was DAMN near 70 years old….it is really scary to me to think about what would… not might…would have happened if this guy would have said I do not have to stand hear and be belittled in this manner you little thug.

    And I am sorry folks that is exactly what this cops was acting like.

  15. Tropper is just typical a$$hole cop who has no respect for civil liberties/rights of the ordinary people. Very surprised they didn’t plant drugs to get a bust. That happens frequently too.

    The American police state is a very profitable business run by the a$$holes we repeatedly elect. It’s just another system of taxation. Here’s the proof:

    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/11/Prisoner_population_rate_world_map.png

  16. Zippo.. while I agree with your assessment of the cops behavior these are the comment that will get the thread shut down. Not that any discussion here or any where else will have a positive effect on how LE operates.. at least we can vent here

  17. How about this then: “The (trooper) needs to make a simple apology for his actions to (this individual). He is a (veteran) officer of this department and had a pretty good service record in several assignments. For this rather minor (confrontation) to be his lasting legacy would be a travesty”.

    Seems like i read that somewhere on this site. Maybe standards are applied slightly differently depending on age, gender and affiliation. Or maybe just plain old personal feelings play a major role in EVERYONE”S opinions.

  18. rick, why do you care to have a grain of respect for a blatant liar and violator of civil rights? Years of service just means years to perfect methods of violating rights.

    Look up what happened to the honest jailer in Elmore Co. Cop bounced woman’s head off a cement wall… honest cop tells on him, honest cop fired.

    We got a wild pig problem in this country and it ain’t the kind that eats my crops.

  19. Interested Citizen
    Apr 19, 2014, 4:09 pm

    This case highlights many issues.

    One issue is that law enforcement, including the prosecutors, and many in the judicial community, believe that “probable cause” is a legal concept that is only limited by the imagination of the official seeking to establish such “probable cause”.

    To further this concept, “probable cause” always exists in the officer’s or prosecutor’s mind, and he or she merely needs to be creative to establish such cause. For example, “I stopped you because you failed to signal your turn”, or “you were varying your speed excessively”, or “you crossed the centerline”, or “I saw marijuana smoke coming out of your car window, and I know marijuana smoke when I see it”, and so forth.

    Further, we all know that cops, prosecutors, court officials, judges, and all the rest all tag team together to make this little gig work for them, and not for the law abiding citizens.

    Would anyone care to challenge me on this?

    Further, if one is ever able to win a case and successfully establish that his civil and constitutional rights were violated regarding a stop, an arrest, a prosecution, jailing, and so forth without probable cause, in most cases, there is relatively downside for the law enforcement officials, prosecutors, or others involved. The damages in most cases are not terribly substantial, there is a bit of wristslapping, and that is usually the end of it.

    So, the system is very asymmetrical in that the cops and so forth can violate your rights, waste your valuable time, embarrass and humiliate you, cost you significant time and money, and so forth, but there is not a lot you can do to them in most cases.

    So, they continue to do what they do. Unless laws are changed, it will continue.

  20. Interested Citizen
    Apr 19, 2014, 4:25 pm

    Rick,

    I was pulled over one time in Garden Valley for doing 45 in a 35 and had drank ONE Coors Original and hour and a half earlier as I pulled off my hiking boots after a hard backpack. I had deposited the empty bottle in the passenger seat beside me.

    As you might expect, the officer “smelled alcohol”, saw the beer bottle, and so forth. An Idaho Trooper was summoned by the local coppers so I could be tag teamed. I refused to perform the “sobriety” tests as I was hungry, exhausted, it was 11:00 pm, I just wanted to get home and get to bed, and I do not care for stupid cops.

    So, I was arrested, handcuffed, and driven to Horseshoe Bend by two female cops, to be given the breathalyzer.

    In Horseshoe Bend, I took the breathalyzer, which registered “NIL”, not once, not twice, but thrice!!

    Then, back to my car in Garden Valley, which the cops had threatened to impound.

    On the way, the Idaho State Trooper called the lady coppers to inquire about the results of the breathalyzer. When informed that the results were “NIL”, he replied, “there is something wrong with his eyes”!!!

    I will repeat: I do not care for stupid cops!!!

  21. Interested…. you do not have to tell me how bad “some” cops act… I was a reserve with a sheriff’s dept in NM while in the military.. In one sat night we pulled over 2 individuals for DUI… the first we hooked up… the second was an off duty cop… I drove his car home.. with him in the passenger seat… not a word was said… I have many other stories… no one has to tell me how they behave…

    I don’t even want to go into the things that prosecutors get away with

  22. Yea yea yea…and for every one cop that got a ride home, there are hundreds of non cops on child porn sites, lying about disability, doing dope, lying on their income tax statements. I mean the list goes on and on. Until you focus on the real problem, the cop bashing is a waste of time How about focusing on the REAL corruption: the ones at the top that turn a blind eye to the real problems in the police department. It seems as usual that the real issue here is getting high without getting hassled. If you have Oregon or Colorado plates, you are fair game. This cop should have just said it like it is. Recreational, medical or whatever. it is still illegal in the eyes of the law that counts at this point. Time for my medicinal whiskey.

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