Originally published May 12 2014
Court rules that having facial acne while driving constitutes probable cause for police to detain you
by J. D. Heyes
(NaturalNews) A federal appeals court has recently ruled that driving a vehicle with your hands at the "ten and two" position is reason enough for police to pull you over, even if no traffic laws have been violated.
Additionally, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit ruled, a driver having facial acne is sufficient enough "evidence" for police and federal agents to suspect him of being a drug smuggler.
According to the website Police State USA, the ruling stems from an incident which took place April 18, 2012, when a U.S. Border Patrol agent driving down a highway saw a white pickup truck heading in the opposite direction roughly 40 miles north of the U.S./Mexico border, a point that is well within the United States.
'She had acne on her face'
Though the driver of the truck was breaking no traffic laws, Border Patrol Agent Joshua Semmerling claimed he noticed a number of things about the driver that he believed were suspicious (though he passed the truck at about 60 miles per hour and could have only glimpsed the driver for the blink of an eye).
According to court documents, Semmerling said he noted that the female driver of the pickup was sitting in an upright posture, with both hands on the upper part of the steering wheel -- the first "suspicious" activity. Next, Semmerling claimed that the truck's tinted windows were suspicious, though it "remains unclear how the agent saw [the] driver's posture through the 'suspicious' tint," the website reported.
Last, the truck's rear license plate, which Semmerling claims to have seen in his rear-view mirror, again while driving away from the truck at a high rate of speed in the opposite direction, looked to be out of state.
At this point, the court documents state, the agent decided to make a U-turn and stop the pickup.
The court documents identified the driver of the pickup as Cindy Lee Westhoven of Tucson, Ariz. Semmerling decided to search her vehicle because, according to reports, he noted that she had acne on her face and justified his search as suspecting Westhoven to be a methamphetamine user.
From Police State USA:
Mrs. Westhoven had already proven she was a U.S. citizen. She had no warrants and had broken no laws, yet Agent Semmerling claimed that he believed she might be smuggling illegal aliens and/or drugs. When she refused to consent to a search, the agent used a drug K9 to sniff her truck. The dog turned up a small amount of cannabis. Westhoven was arrested.
'Driving stiffly' also grounds for stopping a vehicle
According to court documents, a grand jury indicted Westhoven with possession with intent to distribute marijuana.
In federal court, Westhoven's defense attorney tried to get her arrest thrown out over the weak suspicions cited by the federal agent. Her attorney argued that the evidence Semmerling obtained was found in an illegal manner, but his arguments were rejected by the court.
"Driving stiffly, having tinted windows, slowing down when seeing law enforcement, and driving in an out-of-the-way area may be innocent conduct by themselves," Judge Scott M. Matheson, Jr., wrote for the appellate panel. "But when taken together along with driving a vehicle with out-of-state plates in a mountainous smuggling corridor 40-45 miles away from the border, we conclude Agent Semmerling had reasonable suspicion Ms. Westhoven was involved in smuggling activity."
"The acceptance of such flimsy suspicions in court is the practical acceptance of zero need for any real indication of a crime occurring before any American can be stopped and searched by federal agents," Police State USA reported.
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