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Court: Cops can't stop drivers based on the color of their cars [FL]
Yahoo! Autos ^ | 7/9/14 | Justin Hyde

Posted on 07/10/2014 1:22:14 AM PDT by Slings and Arrows

"Probable cause" has long been one of those terms that made the jump from legal jargon to household term, especially with regards to drivers who get pulled over. The struggle over what that allows on American roads — and what it doesn't — took a new turn last week with a Florida ruling that threw out a conviction stemming from a police officer who found something wrong with the color of a car.

In 2010, a deputy in Florida's Escambia County saw one Kendrick Van Teamer drive by in a bright green Chevrolet. The deputy ran his plates, and found the registration matched a blue Chevrolet. There were no warrants out for Teamer, no reports of stolen vehicles and no pending crimes that involved either a blue or green Chevy. Teamer also wasn't violating any traffic laws.

But the deputy pulled Teamer over anyway, simply because of the mismatch of the car's color. Teamer said the car had been recently painted, which was true. It also contained small amounts of cocaine, marijuana and $1,100 in cash. Teamer was charged with drug trafficking and possession, convicted and sentenced to six years in prison.

Teamer appealed, and last week as noted by The Newspaper, the Florida Supreme Court ordered him freed on a 5-2 decision, upholding a lower appeals court ruling that the deputy was wrong to stop Teamer simply becuase the color of his car didn't match its registration. The court noted that in numerous U.S. Supreme Court rulings, justices have found police can't pull someone over for everday behavior that's not linked to a crime, saying Teamer's stop was not different from those triggered by the race of the driver:

(Excerpt) Read more at autos.yahoo.com ...


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Government; US: Florida
KEYWORDS: donutwatch
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A smidgen of good news, for once.
1 posted on 07/10/2014 1:22:14 AM PDT by Slings and Arrows
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To: Slings and Arrows

Amazing. He actually caught a drug trafficker and the judge lets him go.

Thanks media for announcing to all the drug traffickers how to get the drugs past the cops to the schools.


2 posted on 07/10/2014 1:27:58 AM PDT by GeronL (Vote for Conservatives not for Republicans)
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To: Slings and Arrows

Amazing. He actually caught a drug trafficker (with that strategy)

That too


3 posted on 07/10/2014 1:28:43 AM PDT by GeronL (Vote for Conservatives not for Republicans)
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To: GeronL

So if the driver hadn’t been a drug dealer, would the search still be justified?


4 posted on 07/10/2014 1:31:58 AM PDT by Slings and Arrows (You can't have Ingsoc without an Emmanuel Goldstein.)
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To: Slings and Arrows

I didn’t say the search was justified. It’ a dumb reason to pull someone over.

That doesn’t make him not guilty of having those drugs.


5 posted on 07/10/2014 1:47:27 AM PDT by GeronL (Vote for Conservatives not for Republicans)
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To: Slings and Arrows
The court noted that in numerous U.S. Supreme Court rulings, justices have found police can't pull someone over for everday behavior that's not linked to a crime, saying Teamer's stop was not different from those triggered by the race of the driver:

And this isn't from the Onion?

6 posted on 07/10/2014 1:58:52 AM PDT by SampleMan (Feral Humans are the refuse of socialism.)
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To: SampleMan

Cars have race too??


7 posted on 07/10/2014 2:00:05 AM PDT by GeronL (Vote for Conservatives not for Republicans)
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To: Slings and Arrows
Good thing they can still pull you over based on the color of the driver!

</sarc>

8 posted on 07/10/2014 2:01:49 AM PDT by Rodamala
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To: All


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9 posted on 07/10/2014 2:02:29 AM PDT by musicman (Until I see the REAL Long Form Vault BC, he's just "PRES__ENT" Obama = Without "ID")
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To: Slings and Arrows

The search commenced because of the marijuana odor emanating from the car. That part was justified; it was the reason for the stop that wasn’t. Good hunch on the deputy’s part...this time; too bad a drug-dealer was able to go free, though.


10 posted on 07/10/2014 2:07:22 AM PDT by skr (May God confound the enemy)
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To: GeronL; Slings and Arrows
I think it was the Warren court that concluded that the only way to stop unreasonable searches and seizures was to prohibit the evidence thus obtained from being introduced at trial. There were other remedies that had been used such as civil suits against policeman etc. but the court concluded that all these remedies were inadequate to protect the public from violations of their rights to privacy set down in the Bill of Rights.

Of course this means that virtually every time a criminal defendant wins a motion to suppress and is therefore acquitted, a guilty man escapes justice because, by definition, he was found with the goods.

The point is how do you want to balance the right to privacy against society's interest in obtaining the conviction of the guilty? Your right to make that balance by way of legislation enacted by your elected representatives was taken away by unelected justices. The idea of the Bill of Rights is to immunize certain unpopular rights from the will of the majority and that is properly done by unelected judges. But should that extend to the remedy for violation of that right?


11 posted on 07/10/2014 2:09:13 AM PDT by nathanbedford ("Attack, repeat, attack!" Bull Halsey)
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To: skr

On the bright side, it’s one less pretext that the cops can use to violate the Constitutional rights of the citizenry.


12 posted on 07/10/2014 2:18:06 AM PDT by Slings and Arrows (You can't have Ingsoc without an Emmanuel Goldstein.)
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To: skr

This is a case of two wrongs making a right.


13 posted on 07/10/2014 2:21:12 AM PDT by monocle (ain)
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To: nathanbedford; GeronL

I’m forced to agree with the Warren court. Cops and prosecutors are symbiotic organisms; under most circumstances, the latter have a strong interest in ignoring the transgressions of the former. Removing the incentive for the trangressions is the best way to reduce (although not eliminate) the transgressions.


14 posted on 07/10/2014 2:23:27 AM PDT by Slings and Arrows (You can't have Ingsoc without an Emmanuel Goldstein.)
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To: GeronL

How many cars have been stopped because of color that were not drug dealers? I am one.


15 posted on 07/10/2014 2:29:27 AM PDT by Ecliptic (.)
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Comment #16 Removed by Moderator

To: Slings and Arrows

The lesson learned by the cops on this one is that if the color of car doesn’t match registration, then stop him for another reason. That would not be hard. There are a myriad of minor reasons they could use such as failure to use signal when changing lanes, weaving, equipment problem, cracked windshield, and on and on.


17 posted on 07/10/2014 3:04:31 AM PDT by ImNotLying (The Right To Bear Arms: Making good people helpless won't make bad people harmless!)
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To: F15Eagle

( I agree!!)


18 posted on 07/10/2014 3:07:38 AM PDT by musicman (Until I see the REAL Long Form Vault BC, he's just "PRES__ENT" Obama = Without "ID")
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To: ImNotLying

All of you are insane if you want leo’s stopping and pulling over any driver for any reason just because they think the guy might have something illegal in his car. Next thing you know, they might be knocking down the door to your home because somebody told them you might have drugs there.........oh wait.


19 posted on 07/10/2014 3:11:48 AM PDT by eastforker (Cruz for steam in 2016)
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To: skr; All

I would say that in this case the stop itself was justified.

It is illegal to drive with improper plates, and since there is no way to check VIN numbers while a car is going down the road, it was reasonable to assume the plate didn’t match the wrong colored vehicle.

Had the car’s body been changed to make it appear to an entirely different vehicle it would be the same thing, a reasonable stop to make sure the plate wasn’t stolen.

Most people would never notice if their plate was stolen and replaced with a different plate, most don’t even know their plate number without checking. I don’t know mine.

You wouldn’t want some committing crimes while driving with your license plates would you? That could lead to far more problems and hassle than being stopped to check a plate match.

IMO it was a perfectly reasonable legal stop.


20 posted on 07/10/2014 3:17:23 AM PDT by Beagle8U (Unions are an Affirmative Action program for Slackers! .)
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To: eastforker

Sorry I didn’t make myself clear. I am totally against these kinds of traffic stops and illegal searches and seizures. My point was that most cops know how to game the system so that they could search your car or home and it would stand up in court. Too much of that crap going on these days.


21 posted on 07/10/2014 3:18:16 AM PDT by ImNotLying (The Right To Bear Arms: Making good people helpless won't make bad people harmless!)
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To: eastforker
they might be knocking down the door to your home because somebody told them you might have drugs there.........oh wait.

Which is, of course, in complete agreement with the Constitution.

Though it is certainly debatable whether the Federal War on Drugs itself is either wise or constitutional.

22 posted on 07/10/2014 3:19:34 AM PDT by Sherman Logan (Perception wins all the battles. Reality wins all the wars.)
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To: Beagle8U

Running a plate without probable cause is unjustified in my opinion.


23 posted on 07/10/2014 3:21:07 AM PDT by eastforker (Cruz for steam in 2016)
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To: eastforker

That may be, but it is legal. Cops can now do it instantly from inside their car on a computer without calling it in. If a cop is behind you at a traffic light you can be sure they ran your plate.

That is the only reason to even require license plates, so cops can check them, and they do that constantly.


24 posted on 07/10/2014 3:32:01 AM PDT by Beagle8U (Unions are an Affirmative Action program for Slackers! .)
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To: Beagle8U

That doesn’t make it right.And people like you that advocate that it’s okay to do so is why our freedoms are diminishing more and more every day. Running a plate is no different than a cop stopping a guy walking down the sidewalk minding his own business and demanding his ID just because he looks funny.


25 posted on 07/10/2014 3:39:03 AM PDT by eastforker (Cruz for steam in 2016)
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To: Slings and Arrows

I drive a 2005 Chrysler 300C. The factory and my registration call it green. Everyone else would call it silver. If you get low and catch the light just right it does have a very, very light green tint.


26 posted on 07/10/2014 3:45:37 AM PDT by R. Scott (Humanity i love you because when you're hard up you pawn your Intelligence to buy a drink)
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To: Slings and Arrows

If drugs were legal, it would end many stops and most searches and harassment of the public.


27 posted on 07/10/2014 3:54:08 AM PDT by UnbelievingScumOnTheOtherSide (HELL, NO! BE UNGOVERNABLE! --- ISLAM DELENDA EST)
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To: eastforker

Just running a plate doesn’t effect a driver in any way, you never even know it happened unless they find something wrong.

You aren’t being stopped, searched, or detained in any way by a cop running your plate.


28 posted on 07/10/2014 3:54:27 AM PDT by Beagle8U (Unions are an Affirmative Action program for Slackers! .)
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To: Beagle8U

The plate was accurate, the color was not. He was stopped for the color, not the plate. The government’s interest in a vehicle’s registration is registrant, VIN, title and plate. The court’s decision reiterates that the color of a vehicle is not within the purview of the government. Listing the color in the registration is an aide to law enforcement, not a requirement.

Would you prefer to be arrested if the weight listed on your license was different from your actual weight? Or hair color?


29 posted on 07/10/2014 3:57:32 AM PDT by Justa
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To: ImNotLying

The last time I was pulled, about ten years ago, was on suspicion of DUI. The cop saw me pull out of a bar’s parking lot where I had picked up a friend. The cop had his entire head in my car while sniffing. No alcohol. He seemed pissed that he couldn’t write me up for DUI. He gave me a ticket for expired tags. It was bull but it doesn’t do any good to argue with a cop.
I spent an entire day in court, I was last to be called. I showed the judge my registration and the case was dismissed. Nothing was said to the cop.


30 posted on 07/10/2014 3:58:55 AM PDT by R. Scott (Humanity i love you because when you're hard up you pawn your Intelligence to buy a drink)
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To: Beagle8U

When a peeping Tom looks in your wife’s bathroom, you will never know it unless you catch him at it.


31 posted on 07/10/2014 4:01:40 AM PDT by eastforker (Cruz for steam in 2016)
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To: Justa

“Would you prefer to be arrested if the weight listed on your license was different from your actual weight? Or hair color?”

He wasn’t arrested for the color of his car, he wasn’t even stopped for the color.

He was stopped because the plate didn’t match the vehicle description.


32 posted on 07/10/2014 4:04:33 AM PDT by Beagle8U (Unions are an Affirmative Action program for Slackers! .)
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To: eastforker

That is your strawman, you knock it down.


33 posted on 07/10/2014 4:07:30 AM PDT by Beagle8U (Unions are an Affirmative Action program for Slackers! .)
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To: Beagle8U
He wasn’t arrested for the color of his car, he wasn’t even stopped for the color.

He was stopped because the plate didn’t match the vehicle description.

You don't have to search a vehicle to check the VIN number.

34 posted on 07/10/2014 4:08:39 AM PDT by tacticalogic
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To: Beagle8U

Not a straw man at all, if you found someone looking in your window for no reason, I hope that you would want to kick his ass for invading your privacy. If a cop has no reason to run your plate, then he should not invade your privacy and you should want to kick his ass as well. If not, then you can join the rest of the subjects that feel, “ Well, if you aren’t doing anything wrong you shouldn’t mind”!


35 posted on 07/10/2014 4:14:33 AM PDT by eastforker (Cruz for steam in 2016)
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To: tacticalogic

“You don’t have to search a vehicle to check the VIN number.”

No, but you would have to stop it first if not for license plates.


36 posted on 07/10/2014 4:14:54 AM PDT by Beagle8U (Unions are an Affirmative Action program for Slackers! .)
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To: eastforker

You’re off on a tangent totally unrelated to this situation.


37 posted on 07/10/2014 4:16:45 AM PDT by Beagle8U (Unions are an Affirmative Action program for Slackers! .)
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To: Beagle8U

No, you are on a tangent of bootlicker philosophy.


38 posted on 07/10/2014 4:19:56 AM PDT by eastforker (Cruz for steam in 2016)
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To: Slings and Arrows

Just to clarify for everyone...probable cause is NOT necessary for a traffic stop...o ly reasonable suspicion....which is a lower threshold. That being said...we are not supposed to be running tags for no reason...


39 posted on 07/10/2014 4:21:40 AM PDT by bike800
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To: eastforker

You’re just being a jerk now because you can’t debate the issue.


40 posted on 07/10/2014 4:22:52 AM PDT by Beagle8U (Unions are an Affirmative Action program for Slackers! .)
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To: bike800

“we are not supposed to be running tags for no reason...”

Now that may very well be true, but if that is the case there is really no reason for plates to be required at all.


41 posted on 07/10/2014 4:27:37 AM PDT by Beagle8U (Unions are an Affirmative Action program for Slackers! .)
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To: GeronL
Cars have race too??

You've never heard of a race car???

42 posted on 07/10/2014 4:45:18 AM PDT by null and void (If Bill Clinton was the first black president, why isn't Barack Obama the first woman president?)
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To: eastforker; Beagle8U
Plates get run on the fly, nowadays.


43 posted on 07/10/2014 4:51:08 AM PDT by GreenAccord (Bacon Akbar)
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To: Beagle8U

Ehh...they serve a purpose for sure. Ties the vehicle to someone...and to a specific vehicle and its vin number, thus showing whether the tag or the car is stolen. But all the traffic conducted over the system is subject to audit...so you need a legitimate reason to run a tag.


44 posted on 07/10/2014 4:51:47 AM PDT by bike800
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To: GeronL

There be a lot more black men driving white Cadillacs than white men driving black Cadillacs..


45 posted on 07/10/2014 4:54:17 AM PDT by Vigilanteman (Obama: Fake black man. Fake Messiah. Fake American. How many fakes can you fit in one Zer0?)
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To: GeronL

I’m not a lawyer and have never played one on TV but....

Were the drug traces discovered not fruit of the poisoned tree?


46 posted on 07/10/2014 4:54:57 AM PDT by bert ((K.E. N.P. N.C. +12 ..... Obama is public enemy #1)
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To: bike800

“Ehh...they serve a purpose for sure. Ties the vehicle to someone...and to a specific vehicle and its vin number, thus showing whether the tag or the car is stolen.”

And if the plate is automatically run and comes back as not matching the vehicle? Which was the case in this instance.

Wouldn’t the stop then be justified? That was my entire point in this debate, the plate came back as not matching.


47 posted on 07/10/2014 4:59:25 AM PDT by Beagle8U (Unions are an Affirmative Action program for Slackers! .)
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To: GreenAccord

Good point.


48 posted on 07/10/2014 5:00:14 AM PDT by Beagle8U (Unions are an Affirmative Action program for Slackers! .)
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To: Slings and Arrows
-- So if the driver hadn't been a drug dealer, would the search still be justified? --

Good question. The answer is "yes" as a practical matter. What are you going to do, sue the cops over being stopped? No arrest, no trial, no conviction, etc.; then probably the case wouldn't see a trial court, let alone an appellate court.

49 posted on 07/10/2014 5:04:00 AM PDT by Cboldt
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To: nathanbedford
-- every time a criminal defendant wins a motion to suppress and is therefore acquitted, a guilty man escapes justice --

The "therefore acquitted" doesn't follow every successful motion to suppress. That outcome depends on the contents of the motion to suppress, and what the appellate judge had for breakfast. Most successful motions to suppress do NOT result in acquittal at trial or reversal of a guilty verdict on appeal.

50 posted on 07/10/2014 5:08:11 AM PDT by Cboldt
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