Colorado License Plate Gets Man Detained & Searched In Idaho, Because Colorado Means Weed
This might be a first. A Colorado man is suing the state of Idaho for "license plate profiling" after he was arrested and searched for marijuana by a state trooper there during a road trip. What caused the trooper to suspect 69-year-old Darien Roseen might have brought weed into the state? According to Roseen, it's because he had a Colorado license plate.
Roseen says he was pulled over by Idaho State Police in January of last year, shortly after Colorado passed marijuana legalization but before it was actually available recreationally. He claims he was followed to a rest stop by a state trooper who gave no reason for pursuing him, although the trooper later claimed it was because Roseen bumped a curb and failed to properly signal before changing lanes. The trooper reportedly disputed Roseen's reason for pulling in to the rest stop – to use the restroom – and, according to the Denver Post , "insisted that Roseen was attempting to avoid the state police."
Instead of verifying Roseen's license or asking for proof of insurance, the trooper remarked that Roseen's eyes looked glassy and accused him of "having something in his vehicle that he should not have," according to the lawsuit. Roseen acknowledged that had prescription for several drugs, prompting the officer to ask him when he had last used marijuana. Roseen replied that he didn't smoke weed and never had; the officer, according to the lawsuit, responded by hauling Roseen away to the local police station and taking his truck to be searched.
The six officers who searched the car didn't find anything. Roseen, who was allowed to use the bathroom under supervision at the police station, was given a citation for careless driving, though that was later resolved. (It sure is good to know the kind officers' time wasn't completely wasted.)
"Just because you’re from Colorado doesn’t mean that you’re automatically carrying marijuana into our state," said Roseen's lawyer, Mark Coonts. "Assuming guilt based on a license plate, that's just a violation of our civil rights."
Roseen's federal lawsuit seeks punitive damages.