US Federal Appeals Court Upholds Acne, Driving Posture as Grounds for Traffic Stops
EspañolMore than two years after a Border Patrol agent pulled over a civilian for “suspicious” driving posture and acne scars that he believed distinguished her as a methamphetamine user, a Federal Appeals Court unanimously agreed that his grounds were sufficient.
Cindy Lee Westhoven was driving a Ford F-150 with tinted windows and Arizona license plates from Douglas, where she had been shopping, to Tucson. As she and Border Patrol Agent Joshua Semmerling passed each other in opposing lanes, Semmerling noticed that her arms were “straight and locked out” at a “ten-and-two position on the steering wheel,” and promptly pulled her over for an “immigration check.”
Upon pulling Westhoven over, Semmerling noticed that she was shaking from anxiousness, and that she had severe acne scars, which he chalked up to possible methamphetamine use. He also believed two cell phones on the passenger seat to be evidence of immigrant smuggling. Her “excuse” for being on Highway 80, a non-direct route to Tucson, was also suspicious. After Westhoven refused a search of her vehicle, Semmerling brought in a canine unit and found marijuana.
The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that “Agent Semmerling performed a reasonable and timely investigation to address his suspicions” on April 24, 2014.
Source: Ben Swann.