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High court: Anonymous tip not enough

An anonymous tip about a fight, of which no evidence was found, didn’t provide reasonable suspicion for two Coeur d’Alene police officers to block in and arrest a man for drunken driving while he was parked in the parking lot of an apartment complex, the Idaho Supreme Court has ruled. The case involves an incident on the Fourth of July in 2005, at 1:30 in the morning; defendant Christopher Willoughby successfully got a magistrate court to suppress all evidence from the two officers’ contact with him that night. The state appealed to district court, then to the state Court of Appeals, and then to the Idaho Supreme Court; it lost at every point. The state argued that the officers could legally detain Willoughby as either a suspect or a witness to the reported fight, though they found no evidence of any fight. “An anonymous tip alone cannot supply the requisite basis for reasonable suspicion,” said the unanimous opinion, written by Justice Joel Horton. You can read the full opinion here.


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Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.

Named best state-based political blog in Idaho for 2013 by The Fix

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