"Assuming guilt based on a license plate -- that's just a violation of our civil rights," said Mark Coonts, the attorney of a Colorado resident currently waging war against the Idaho State Police after he says a patrol officer used his license plate as reasonable suspicion to shake him down for marijuana.
In a lawsuit filed earlier last week in the District of Idaho, 69-year-old Darien Roseen claims that while travelling through the Gem State in January of last year, a state trooper used “license-plate profiling” tactics as a way to unlawfully detain him and search his truck for weed.
According to reports, Roseen was on his way home from his daughter’s baby shower in Washington State when an Idaho State Police trooper pulled him over along Interstate 84, shortly after crossing over the Idaho border. Roseen claims that trooper Justin Klitch followed him to a nearby rest area where he used his desperate need for a toilet break as an opportunity to stop him on suspicion of transporting illegal drugs.
After approaching Roseen’s vehicle, trooper Klitch began giving him the third degree; using traditional interrogation strategies in an attempt to cleverly transition his suspicion into probable cause. The lawsuit claims that Klitch asked Roseen why his eyes were “red and glassy” and if he was transporting illegal contraband.
The trooper then told Roseen that he knew he was carrying pot because he could smell it in the vehicle, asking him three times for consent to search his truck. Yet, Roseen maintained his innocence, repeatedly telling the officer that he has never used marijuana, refusing the officer’s request all three times.
While Klitch initially refused to give Roseen a reason for pulling him over, he later claimed the stop was the result of his failure to signal into the rest area and for bumping into two curbs. However, Roseen says he did, in fact, signal and only hit the curbs because they were covered in snow and he could not see them.
Unfortunately, despite Roseen’s lack of cooperation, trooper Klitch eventually used the alleged weed odor as probable cause and initiated a search. But rather than conduct the shakedown outside the rest area, Klitch hauled Roseen to the Payette County Sheriff’s office and had his truck transported there by another officer -- without Roseen’s consent.
For three hours, Roseen was detained while eight officers ripped into his vehicle in search for illegal drugs... none were found. In the end, Roseen was issued a citation for careless driving and sent on his way.
Roseen’s lawsuit suggests that he was harassed for having a Colorado license plate and now seeks restitution for general and punitive damages. The Idaho State Police has refused to comment.
Mike Adams writes for stoners and smut enthusiasts in HIGH TIMES, Playboy’s The Smoking Jacket and Hustler Magazine. You can follow him on Twitter @adamssoup and on Facebook/mikeadams73.