Eye On Boise

Federal lawsuit charges ISP targeted innocent traveler with Colo. plates for unwarranted drug search

A federal lawsuit against the Idaho State Police charges that officers profiled, pulled over, harassed, detained and searched a Washington man simply for driving across the Oregon line into Idaho on the freeway – because he had Colorado plates. Officers insisted the man must be carrying marijuana, but extensive searches of his vehicle found nothing illegal. You can read my full story here at spokesman.com.

Darien Roseen, a retired executive who was on the way home from his daughter's baby shower in Washington to his second residence in Colorado, was targeted within the first mile he drove into Idaho by ISP Trooper Justin Klitch, according to the lawsuit, who pursued him as Roseen pulled into the “Welcome to Idaho” rest area, refused to allow him to use the bathroom, and began badgering him to consent to a search of his vehicle – which Roseen refused. This happened just before noon on Jan. 25.

By the time the incident was over, Klitch had called in additional officers, detained Roseen in a patrol car, had an officer drive Roseen’s truck – without his permission – to the Payette County Sheriff’s Department, where it was further searched, and held Roseen up for hours. The lawsuit, which names the ISP, the Fruitland Police Department, the Payette County Sheriff’s Department, and the numerous officers involved, alleges violations of the 4th, 5th and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution regarding illegal search and seizure, along with discriminatory and selective treatment by profiling, violating the equal protection guarantees of the 14th Amendment and Roseen’s right to interstate travel.

“Trooper Klitch profiled, followed, and pulled over the vehicle driven by Mr. Roseen because it had Colorado license plates,” the lawsuit states. “Upon learning that Mr. Roseen came from Washington, Trooper Klitch further profiled Mr. Roseen. Trooper Klitch assumed and alleged that Mr. Roseen was a person who was transporting marijuana based on his states of residence.”

Both Colorado and Washington have legalized marijuana; Idaho has not. And the ISP has been reporting numerous big marijuana busts in recent months along I-84, a main route of travel between the states. Click below for a full report from the Denver Post via the Associated Press; you can read the lawsuit complaint here. The Post reported that Idaho State Police would not comment over the weekend, but planned to issue a statement on the litigation later this week.

Coloradan claims license plate led to pot search

DENVER (AP) — A Colorado man is suing Idaho police, accusing a trooper of presuming he had marijuana simply because his license plates marked him as being from a state where medical pot was legal, The Denver Post reported Sunday.

The Post, quoting an attorney for Darien Roseen, reported (https://tinyurl.com/pjrqjw8 ) that the trooper stopped Roseen at a rest stop just past Idaho's border with Oregon on Jan. 25, 2013, when medical marijuana was legal in Colorado. Now, recreational marijuana also can be sold legally in Colorado under the state's law, raising concern among law enforcement authorities at the federal level and in states in the region where marijuana remains illegal.

Roseen, a retired executive who was on the way home from his daughter's baby shower in Washington, another state where marijuana has been legalized, said he was detained for hours in Idaho as his truck was searched. According to the suit filed last week in the District of Idaho, no illegal substance was found.

The suit was first reported by Fox31 (https://tinyurl.com/p4aw2wj ), which quoted Roseen's Idaho-based attorney Mark Coonts as saying the video taken by a law enforcement dash cam shows the conversation turning "quickly from a lane change violation to, 'Where is your marijuana?'"

"Just because you're from Colorado doesn't mean that you're automatically carrying marijuana into our state," Coonts told Fox31. "This isn't a pro-marijuana case or an anti-marijuana case, this is a civil rights case."

The Post reported that Idaho State Police would not comment over the weekend, but planned to issue a statement on the litigation later this week.


Copyright 2014 The Associated Press

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Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Russell covers Idaho news from the state capitol in Boise and writes the Eye on Boise blog.

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