Wyoming Drug Case Overturned Because Trooper Was Speeding?
OKAY, this is just beyond confusing and WEIRD!
Wyoming’s Supreme Court on Wednesday overturned the conviction of a man arrested near Cheyenne with 42 pounds of marijuana.
Justices unanimously ruled that the Wyoming Highway Patrol officer who stopped the vehicle Joshua David Levenson was riding in when he was arrested should not have been driving more than 100 mph to catch up to the vehicle.
Forgive me but I thought that in certain cases cops were allowed to speed. Is this not one of those cases?
Are car chases supposed to happen at or under the speed limit?
Let's take a closer look at this case. I think we'll find that something else is really going on to cause the court to rule the way it did.
“While initially not having observed any traffic violation, Trooper Carraher decided to catch up to (the car),” the court opinion said. “To do so, he drove in both the left and right lanes of traffic at speeds exceeding 100 miles per hour, reaching approximately 111 miles per hour at one point.” (Cowboy State Daily).
Okay so was it really about the speeding?
It has more to do with "reasonable suspicion."
Whatever it was that made the office think he needed to pull over the accused in this case was not good enough for the court. He was not seen to be violating any law.
“Based on the circumstances of this case as discussed above, Trooper Carraher’s conduct violated the reasonable suspicion necessary to justify the initial traffic stop,” the ruling said. “Our … review of the ultimate determination regarding the constitutionality of the initial stop in this case leads us to conclude that the initial traffic stop was unreasonable and violated the Fourth Amendment (protection against unreasonable search and seizure).
In other words, just because the hair on the back of the officer's neck stands up does not mean he gets to chase a person down and pull him over. The officer has to see the person breaking a law.