Ever since Colorado legalized recreational marijuana, drivers with the green and white, rocky mountain plates are experiencing a traffic citation uptick in their neighboring states. From Oklahoma to Wyoming, the discrimination is expected but a recent detainment is bringing to light the unlawfulness of this brand of police action.
According to a recent ruling by the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, Peter Vasquez was pulled over in Kansas and his vehicle ultimately searched on the basis that he was a Colorado resident driving through the night in a recently purchased, older model vehicle. In their reasoning, police called Colorado “a drug source area” and said the interstate on which he was traveling is “a known drug corridor.”
“In particular, we conclude that the Officers impermissibly relied on Vasquez’s status as a resident of Colorado to justify the search of his vehicle.”– 10th Circuit Court of Appeals
However, judges with the court found in a 2-1 decision that neither of these assertions rightfully gave the officers in question reasonable suspicion to search a vehicle. Court documents show that Vasquez was ultimately detained while the officers searched his car. They failed to find anything illegal. Vasquez subsequently sued the officers on the basis that they violated his 4th amendment rights– a motion that resulted in the above ruling released on Tuesday.
Find the entire ruling here: Appeal from the United States District Court for the District of Kansas