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Thread: Good News: Va. Ct. of Appeals actually rules in favor of 4th amendment (Traffic Stop)

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    Regular Member Repeater's Avatar
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    Good News: Va. Ct. of Appeals actually rules in favor of 4th amendment (Traffic Stop)

    How many here drive with some kind of dangly thing on your rear-view mirror?

    The cops and the government wanted a per se rule allowing a traffic stop on any vehicle with any kind of object, such as fuzzy dice, dangling from the rear-view mirror.

    The court, 2-1, said no. The dissenting judge went on and on and on about public safety. Of course, such a traffic stop really allows the LEO to get in your business. This opinion stops that1. The opinion (PDF) includes a photo of the placard in question. Obstructing the driver's view? You be the judge:

    Mason v. Commonwealth
    Officer Richards’s observation of the parking pass attached to the rearview mirror is descriptive of wholly innocent behavior exhibited by many drivers on the road who have objects attached to their windshield or rearview mirror that do not obstruct their view of the road. We note that there is little distinction between the size of the parking pass, which when hanging would be covered in part by the rearview mirror itself, and the size of various opaque stickers and other objects that various government agencies require or authorize to be displayed on the windshield of a motor vehicle, such as a state vehicle inspection sticker, Code § 46.2-1163, or an E-ZPass toll transponder, Code § 33.1-23.03:10(C). Without any particular or individualized facts suggesting or supporting a suspicion that this parking pass was obstructing the driver’s view of the road, we conclude that the totality of the circumstances known to the officer at the time of the stop in this case are insufficient to support a reasonable suspicion that the driver was violating the law.

    We hold that the traffic stop and seizure of Mason violated his Fourth Amendment rights because the facts and circumstances available to the officer at the time of the stop did not support a reasonable suspicion that the driver was violating or about to violate the law.
    1. The court remanded on the issue of applying the Exclusionary Rule. So, it's not entirely clear how protective this opinion might be to those who possess a weapon inside their vehicles.

  2. #2
    Activist Member JamesCanby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Repeater View Post
    How many here drive with some kind of dangly thing on your rear-view mirror?

    The cops and the government wanted a per se rule allowing a traffic stop on any vehicle with any kind of object, such as fuzzy dice, dangling from the rear-view mirror.

    The court, 2-1, said no. The dissenting judge went on and on and on about public safety. Of course, such a traffic stop really allows the LEO to get in your business. This opinion stops that1. The opinion (PDF) includes a photo of the placard in question. Obstructing the driver's view? You be the judge:

    Mason v. Commonwealth


    1. The court remanded on the issue of applying the Exclusionary Rule. So, it's not entirely clear how protective this opinion might be to those who possess a weapon inside their vehicles.
    If you have watched any of the shows such as "COPS," you will see over and over again that LEOs use ANY excuse to stop a car -- brake light out, license plate light out, etc., and instead of simply writing a "fix-it citation," they use it as an excuse to go on a fishing expedition. In this case, the citizen was far too compliant and cooperative in answering the LEO's probative questions and agreeing to a pat-down. Glad to see the Appeals Court ruling appropriately.
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    Regular Member OC for ME's Avatar
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    Odd that this cop is not very busy pulling over every car that has a handicap tag hanging from a mirror. It seems to be a real money maker for the town.

    But, who really believes that such a law was conceived with liberty and not money in mind.
    "I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it." - Thomas Jefferson.

    "Better that ten guilty persons escape, than that one innocent suffer" - English jurist William Blackstone.
    It is AFAIK original to me. Compromise is failure on the installment plan, particularly when dealing with so intractable an opponent as ignorance. - Nightmare

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    Regular Member paramedic70002's Avatar
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    Hmmm...

    1. My wife's DMV handicap placard says to not hang from the mirror while driving.

    2. Many years ago I had to remove the 4 inch custom tinting from my truck because VA only allows 3 inch tinting.

    3. Does the Code disallow danglers? I thought it did.

    4. Will this result in no disallowances unless the LEO observes erratic driving coupled with danglers?

    5. What does this say about TWD (texting while driving) and front seat TV screens?

    6. You really want to rock the boat on privacy? Pass a law requiring a spare tire. Have LEOs check for the spare (in the trunk) on every stop.
    Last edited by paramedic70002; 08-15-2014 at 05:08 PM.
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