A Victory Over Some Illegal “Drug Courier Profile” Traffic Stops in Illinois

The test should be, “Is it better than Prohibition.” Does the proposal stop the arrest of smokers and establish a legal market where consumers can obtain their marijuana?

The Supreme Court of Illinois recently handed down a decision which found that some of the drug courier profile traffic stops in their state were illegal, and agreed with the lower courts that the drugs confiscated in five cases that had been combined for the court’s consideration, should be suppressed. The case was People v. Ringland, et al.

The criminal defense attorney bringing this legal challenge was NORML Legal Committee (NLC) Life Member Stephen M. Komie from Chicago.

The somewhat unique fact in all five of these cases, which arose in 2012 and 2013, was that the drivers were all stopped and searched by a “special investigator” of the La Salle County prosecutor’s office; not by state or local police. After carefully considering the statute that establishes and defines the powers of state prosecutors, the high court found that the prosecutor did not have the legal authority to hire their own people to drive up and down the highways, making traffic stops and searching vehicles for drugs.

Congratulations to attorney Stephen Komie for ending these illegal traffic stops in Illinois with a creative legal challenge.


6 thoughts

  1. A case like this sets a legal precedent for other states before their AG’s or DA’s consider appealing a Motion to Supress Evidence. As Foghorn-Sessions amps up his @$$et forfeitures while the RB amendment (Sorry; hit my daily spelling threshold), continues to pass and protect MJ dispensaries that means vehicles are going to get increasingly targeted. A Motion to Supress Evidence is our greatest defense against any unlawful search without consent or a warrant. Thanks to this case, this will continue to be the case.

  2. Searches like these, illegal or not, have surely been a major cause of the popularity of hot burning overdose monoxide joint smoking for the reason that a joint is easier to hide than health-protective microdose eq

  3. Searches like these are doubtless a major cause of the continued popularity of hot burning overdose monoxide joint smoking, because a joint is EASIER TO HIDE than health-protective microdose equipment such as a pricey vaporizer or a flexdrawtube oneheater, which are subject to be seized on as “paraphernalia” (paranoia-infernal-alien, get it?) and serve as evidence for further search (and maybe confiscate a car or a house, etc.).

  4. Well, you can’t pull someone over if you’re not a cop! Everybody knows that.

    …Except, apparently, the State’s Attorney for La Salle County! So this prosecutor Towne appoints this guy Gaither to be a “special investigator,” like Doofy Gilmore in “Scary Movie.” (He’s not actually a cop, but the cops let him think he is, but only so they can mock him for their own cruel amusement.)

    “Special investigator” Doofy – er, I mean, Gaither, is given a Ford Explorer with lights and a video camera, the purpose of which was “to make traffic stops” and look for drugs. But he’s not a fucking cop!

    A hearty slap on the back for attorney Stephen Komie, for putting a stop to this charade!

  5. In Arkansas, if consent to search is denied, they call a dog in, and do an “open air search”, with the officer, beating on, pointing to, and verbally commanding the dog to search your vehicle. Isn’t that illegal?
    What can be done about it?

  6. I will second what Jim Taylor said about Arkansas. I know several people that have had drug dogs forced to hit when they did not have anything in the vehicle. After destroying the vehicle the cop just said he knew they were hiding something and left the car a mess.

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