South Carolina court rules driving 55 supicious

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http://www.thenewspaper.com/news/36/3614.asp South Carolina: Lower Court Rules Driving 55 Suspicious South Carolina lower court rules driving near speed limit justifies stop, but appeals court finds being near marijuana is not possession. Judge Aphrodite K. KondurosSpartanburg County Circuit Court Judge Roger L. Couch ruled that driving just 5 MPH under the speed limit, not in the fast lane, is suspicious enough to justify a traffic stop. South Carolina's second highest court on October 5 examined the case, but sidestepped the speed issue to decide whether a man could be convicted of marijuana possession simply because he was in a car that contained the drug. The three-judge appellate panel reviewed the September 16, 2008 incident that when Nicholas Carl Davy was driving in the middle lane of traffic on Interstate 85 through Spartanburg County. Andre Jackson was a passenger taking a ride to Greenville. He went to school with and was a friend of Davy's 22-year-old son. The legal speed limit on the road was 60 MPH, but Davy was driving at 55 MPH. Some automakers, fearing liability concerns, intentionally build speedometers that read seven percent too high, or about 5 MPH. It is quite possible for a motorist driving 55 MPH on a 60 MPH road to have cruise control set precisely at the speed limit. Officer Jonathan Montjoy did not see it that way. He noted that most traffic was cruising at between 70 and 75 MPH, so anyone driving the speed limit would be guilty of impeding traffic. At trial, the judge found that state law prohibits impeding traffic, no matter what the speed limit might be, so the traffic stop was ruled valid. Once the car was pulled over, Montjoy smelled marijuana and ordered the car searched. Both Davy and Jackson were arrested for possession with intent to distribute marijuana. The appellate court ruled there was no evidence that Jackson had anything to do with the contraband, comparing it to similar cases where a passenger was exonerated after the driver was convicted of carrying drugs. "Jackson and Davy had only met once previously, at Jackson's grandchild's birthday party," Judge Aphrodite K. Konduros wrote for the panel. "Here, the evidence against Jackson is even less than in either Brown or Blue. The drugs were more out of sight, and the state presented no evidence that Jackson was nervous or made any suspicious movements. Accordingly, the state failed to present sufficient circumstantial evidence of knowledge to submit the case to the jury. Thus, the trial court erred in denying Jackson's motion for a directed verdict." Because the finding on the possession charge exonerated Jackson, the appellate panel did not bother deciding whether the initial traffic stop was valid. Source: South Carolina v. Jackson (Court of Appeals, State of South Carolina, 10/5/2011)
 

JOD

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I realize this will be an unpopular thing to say, but I'm going to bet there was another reason that he was deemed 'suspicious'. Just sayin'... It is hilarious to me that the cop's justification was that "everyone was going 70-75" in a 60mph zone. You'd think his job would be to pull some of those folks over? That said, I don't believe the cop--since I've never in my life seen people driving 15 mph over the speed limit with a cop in plain view?
 

Al

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If you are questioning the right of police to stop a vehicle. They can stop anytime for any reason. Your Constitutional rights don't apply. Driving is a privilege mot a "Right". Don't like it? Don't drive. BTW once you are stopped your normal civil rights are still intact.
 
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"At trial, the judge found that state law prohibits impeding traffic, no matter what the speed limit might be, so the traffic stop was ruled valid." I wonder if anyone has successfully used this reasoning in court to vacate a speeding ticket.
 

JOD

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Originally Posted By: Al
If you are questioning the right of police to stop a vehicle. They can stop anytime for any reason.
Fortunately, the supreme court disagrees with you. Check out Wren vs US for some confirmation.
Originally Posted By: Al
Your Constitutional rights don't apply. Driving is a privilege mot a "Right". Don't like it? Don't drive.
Huh? Just because driving is a privilege, why should your constitutional rights be waved? Sorry, but that is some severely twisted logic. Thank goodness the courts don't agree with you.
 
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I think the lack of room for common sense in the interpritation of law has a huge impact on much of what is wrong with society. We are so eager to protect the rights of criminals with ridiculous technicalities. If you have weed in your car, you are in possession of it. If a cop pulls you over because he found your behavior suspicious, whatever that behavior may be, and finds something illegal, that is he or she doing their job. I find it laughable that today the defense for criminal behavior is "well I wasn't doing anything wrong when I got busted!"
 

JOD

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-1 first off, I don't get this whole "this is what's wrong with society" line of argument? Can someone point to a time when society was more 'lawful' than it is currently? I certainly can't. Secondly, I like not living in a police state. If I want that, I'll move to China. No thanks. We're a country of law for a reason, and while people like to point out the outliers of where the system falls down, I challenge anyone to show an example of a system that works better than ours does.
 
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Originally Posted By: apwillard1986
I think the lack of room for common sense in the interpritation of law has a huge impact on much of what is wrong with society. We are so eager to protect the rights of criminals with ridiculous technicalities. If you have weed in your car, you are in possession of it. If a cop pulls you over because he found your behavior suspicious, whatever that behavior may be, and finds something illegal, that is he or she doing their job. I find it laughable that today the defense for criminal behavior is "well I wasn't doing anything wrong when I got busted!"
The case was that the driver didn't know that the passenger had weed. It's like buying a 6-pack, putting it into the trunk, and one of them bursts open. Technically that's an open container in a vehicle and you can be arrested for it, even though you had no idea anything was amiss. An officer will smell alcohol and arrest first, ask questions later. This is why we have courts. So the truly innocent can occasionally get their wrongs righted.
 
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Originally Posted By: apwillard1986
I think the lack of room for common sense in the interpritation of law has a huge impact on much of what is wrong with society. We are so eager to protect the rights of criminals with ridiculous technicalities. If you have weed in your car, you are in possession of it. If a cop pulls you over because he found your behavior suspicious, whatever that behavior may be, and finds something illegal, that is he or she doing their job. I find it laughable that today the defense for criminal behavior is "well I wasn't doing anything wrong when I got busted!"
I'm not certain you read the original post. It wasn't his car, it wasn't his weed. He was a 22 year old passenger with some friend's dad who had the weed. Anyway, this is odd. I'd agree there was probably other suspicious factors, but that's hard to lay out to others. I was a juror in a dui case and it took hours and was just ridiculous.
 
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I wouldn't for a second argue that a better system can be found or that a police state is the key to order. I would only argue that to utterly ignore common sense in interpritation of that law seems ludicrous.
 

Al

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Originally Posted By: JOD
Fortunately, the supreme court disagrees with you. Check out Wren vs US for some confirmation.
"Whren v. United States, 517 U.S. 806 (1996)[1], was a United States Supreme Court decision[1] which "declared that any traffic offense committed by a driver was a legitimate legal basis for a stop."[2] The case's Supreme Court syllabus states that the court held that "the temporary detention of a motorist upon probable cause to believe that he has violated the traffic laws does not violate the Fourth Amendment's prohibition against unreasonable seizures, even if a reasonable officer would not have stopped the motorist absent some additional law enforcement objective."
 
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Originally Posted By: Al
Originally Posted By: JOD
Fortunately, the supreme court disagrees with you. Check out Wren vs US for some confirmation.
"Whren v. United States, 517 U.S. 806 (1996)[1], was a United States Supreme Court decision[1] which "declared that any traffic offense committed by a driver was a legitimate legal basis for a stop."[2] The case's Supreme Court syllabus states that the court held that "the temporary detention of a motorist upon probable cause to believe that he has violated the traffic laws does not violate the Fourth Amendment's prohibition against unreasonable seizures, even if a reasonable officer would not have stopped the motorist absent some additional law enforcement objective."
Probable cause is not "any time for any reason".
 
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Originally Posted By: Samilcar
"At trial, the judge found that state law prohibits impeding traffic, no matter what the speed limit might be, so the traffic stop was ruled valid." I wonder if anyone has successfully used this reasoning in court to vacate a speeding ticket.
A major double standard by the powers-that-be, for sure. A law which can be twisted like that is no law, or standard for justice, but just a tool for authoritarianism.
 

Al

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Originally Posted By: OilNerd
Probable cause is not "any time for any reason".
The operative word is "reason" Now before you nit pick again. "Traffic" is inferred but not required.
 
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Originally Posted By: Samilcar
"At trial, the judge found that state law prohibits impeding traffic, no matter what the speed limit might be, so the traffic stop was ruled valid." I wonder if anyone has successfully used this reasoning in court to vacate a speeding ticket.
I have tried. The judge thought about my argument for about 3 nanoseconds before he pronounced me guilty of speeding.
 
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Originally Posted By: Al
Originally Posted By: OilNerd
Probable cause is not "any time for any reason".
The operative word is "reason" Now before you nit pick again. "Traffic" is inferred but not required.
Sorry, have to "nit pick" again. I'd say the operative word was "any" [reason], which simply isn't correct.
 

JOD

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Originally Posted By: OilNerd
Probable cause is not "any time for any reason".
Exactly. Whren was upheld by the courts because the guys selling drugs turned without signaling. The case established the basis for probable cause in traffic stops. You can not lawfully pull someone over "at any time, for any reason", period. In this instance, the court deemed "probable cause" as traveling 5mph under the speed limit, with the justification being that everyone else was breaking the law. If people aren't troubled by this, I'm really not sure what to say? If the guy was pulling this move in the left lane, I'd be recommending jail time! But he was traveling in the middle lane. Yeah, he probably should have been all the way to the right, but often times right lanes disappear, and there's still a passing lane to his left. I don't think the speed at which he was driving was really the reason he was stopped.
 

JOD

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Originally Posted By: Al
Originally Posted By: OilNerd
Probable cause is not "any time for any reason".
The operative word is "reason" Now before you nit pick again. "Traffic" is inferred but not required.
I don't think you understand the definition of "reason" as it relates to probable cause. You cannot lawfully pull someone over for "any" reason, the reason has to meet the standard of probable cause. These standards are either explicitly stated in law and upheld by the courts, or determined by case law. For instance, being black or having big nappy dreadlocks is not a reason which meets the standards of probably cause. In the state of SC, driving 5mph under the speed limit now meets that standard.
 
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