Federal Court: Out-of-State License Plates Don’t Justify Police Stop and Search

colo
A numberless Colorado license plate.

In a landmark decision the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that law enforcement officials can’t stop and search vehicles simply for having an out-of-state license plate from a state where cannabis is legal, such as Colorado.

The court reinstated a lawsuit filed by a Colorado motorist (Peter Vasquez) who was pulled over by two officers while driving through Kansas, heading to Maryland. The officers, Richard Jimerson and Dax Lewis, stopped Vasquez because they couldn’t read his temporary tag that was taped to the inside of the car’s rear window. The officers contended they were justified in searching the vehicle because the motorists was a citizen of Colorado – a state where cannabis is legal – and he was driving on I-70, a “known drug corridor”. The officers, who found nothing illegal in their search, also said that the motorist seemed nervous.

Read moreFederal Court: Out-of-State License Plates Don’t Justify Police Stop and Search