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Saturday, August 20, 2011

North Dakota Supreme Court protects Fourth Amendment rights with decision this week

From the Minot Daily News:
Sometimes protecting our Fourth Amendment rights hurts a little bit, but the North Dakota Supreme Court did just that with a ruling this week.

Not long ago the Ward County Narcotics Task Force had evidence that suggested a man had received a shipment of controlled substances and had been dealing drugs. An officer tracked him down, saw the man leaving a local bar with two women, and tailed his car. The man had been foolish enough to have three registration tabs in different places on his license plate, which is illegal, and he obliged the police further by making an illegal left turn, giving them a reason to pull him over for a traffic violation.

The officer brought in the drug-sniffing dog to circle his car and, when the dog alerted, the cops had probable cause to search the man's vehicle. The search turned up a plastic bag with marijuana residue. The man kept looking to his right and making "furtive movements," in the officer's judgement. The officer performed a pat-down, felt something soft in the man's pocket, and performed a more invasive search, which turned up four bundles of cocaine, and the man was arrested and charged.

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