Fourth Amendment

The Fake Drug Checkpoint May Be Legal, But That Does Not Mean the Traffic Stops Are


Bill Peters

Yesterday I noted that police in Mayfield Heights, Ohio, a Cleveland suburb, have been using signs announcing nonexistent drug checkpoints to scare drivers into evasive action that the cops cite to justify traffic stops. The Cleveland Plain Dealer reported that "experts say…the fake checkpoints are legal." But according to several federal appeals court decisions, the stops may not be, depending on how much evidence police have in addition to the apparent evasion of a phony checkpoint.

In the 2002 case United States v. Yousif, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit deemed unconstitutional a Missouri Highway Patrol scheme that involved stopping every car taking the next exit after signs announcing a drug checkpoint on Interstate 44. Since all cars taking the exit were stopped, the Eighth Circuit viewed this fake drug checkpoint as little different from the real drug checkpoint rejected by the Supreme Court in the 2000 case City of Indianapolis v. Edmond.

The Eighth Circuit considered a modified version of the Missouri Highway Patrol operation in the 2006 case United States v. Carpenter. Instead of stopping every car using the exit after the checkpoint signs, troopers followed nonlocal cars, looking for reasons to stop them. The defendant in that case, who was driving a car with out-of-state plates, made a U-turn and pulled onto the side of the road after seeing the patrol car. The Eighth Circuit said that maneuver, combined with the driver's decision to get off the highway after seeing the checkpoint signs, made him "readily distinguishable," giving rise to the "reasonable, articulable suspicion" required for a stop. It said the "act of exiting just after the checkpoint signs may be considered as one factor in the totality of circumstances, although it is not a sufficient basis standing alone to justify a seizure."

Last year the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit cited those 8th Circuit cases in United States v. Neff, which rejected a Kansas Highway Patrol stop of a driver with plates indicating he lived in another county who exited Interstate 70 after passing checkpoint signs, pulled into the driveway of a home where he did not seem to live, looked startled when he noticed the patrol car following him, and backed out of the driveway, heading back to the highway. "These facts, when taken together, do not fairly suggest that Neff was attempting to evade police," the 8th Circuit concluded. "Neff's exit from the interstate after seeing the drug checkpoint, even when coupled with the additional evidence the trooper observed, was insufficient to support a finding of reasonable, articulable suspicion to stop Neff's vehicle." 

I did not find any appeals court cases dealing with fake drug checkpoints in the 6th Circuit, where Ohio is located. But these cases from the 8th and 10th circuits suggest police need more than the evidence described by the Plain Dealer to legally stop a car. Of the four cars recently pulled over by Mayfield Heights police near the fake checkpoint, the paper reported, three "crossed through the grassy median or at emergency vehicle crossings, evasive actions that gave police reasonable suspicion to stop those cars." If those U-turns were illegal, that in itself would have justified stopping the cars. But if not, these appeals court cases suggest that the decision to turn around, without more, is not enough for reasonable suspicion. Likewise, the fourth driver was stopped because he pulled onto the shoulder to check his phone for directions; since he was not cited for a traffic violation, that stop looks illegal as well.

Addendum: Another relevant appeals court decision, which I located with help from Louisiana defense attorney Marcy Allen, deals with the question of whether the intent of police in pulling over a car affects the constitutionality of the stop. In the 2011 case Webb v. Arbuckle, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit approved an operation in which the DeSoto Parish, Louisiana, sheriff's office stopped cars exiting Interstate 49 after passing signs announcing a drug checkpoint, but only if the drivers committed traffic offenses. The woman who brought the case, a doctor who was nervous about controlled substances she was carrying, was stopped for failure to signal as she left the highway. The 5th Circuit said it did not matter if drug law enforcement was the real purpose of the stop, as long as there was an independent legal justification for pulling the car over. 

[Thanks to Jon Cassidy for the tip.]

NEXT: Indiana Police Department Sued for Illegally Seizing Taxi Licenses

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  1. The beginning of the WOD was the beginning of the decline and fall of the USA.

    It’s over, statists. You are all going down the shit hole that you helped create, right along with the rest of us.

  2. like Barry replied I am blown away that a single mom can earn $5578 in four weeks on the internet. have you read this site

    1. I just saw this post at the 24/7 link about drones for the Border Patrol.

      1. Can Karen Black also pilot drones?

        1. I’m not sure she can anymore, since Barry blew her away.

          a single mom can earn $5578 in four weeks on the internet

          Man, drone operator requirements must be almost as strict as the TSA’s.

  3. OT: Key Obamacare provision delayed


    1. Is Hit & Run going to blog this so people will stop posting the story on multiple threads?

      1. Did they get this earlier?

        The border security plan the Senate approved last week includes unusual language mandating the purchase of specific models of helicopters and radar equipment for deployment along the U.S.-Mexican border, providing a potential windfall worth tens of millions of dollars to top defense contractors.

        The legislation would require the U.S. Border Patrol to acquire, among other items, six Northrop Grumman airborne radar systems that cost $9.3 million each, 15 Sikorsky Black Hawk helicopters that average more than $17 million apiece, and eight light enforcement helicopters made by American Eurocopter that sell for about $3 million each.

        1. They’re just ensuring jobs for Americans, which is part of the argument against immigrants. It all fits together, really.

        2. Francisco d Anconia| 7.2.13 @ 8:15PM |#
          “Did they get this earlier?”
          Hey, the unions don’t get all the goodies!

    2. Pushing back the enormous opportunity cost on employment past the 2014 midterms and closer to the 2016 elections in order to minimize the pain it’s going to place on the Dems election chances?

      1. Of course that is entirely what this move is about; sparing vulnerable democrats from being punished by massive layoffs in 2014. What an unbelievable piece of work this lowlife motherfucker is.

        1. Perhaps there could be a lawsuit to force implementation.

  4. I’d go out of my way to act suspicious… Do it over and over…

    1. Just don’t have your dog with you.

  5. OT:This might be the funniest Dear Prudence letter ever.

    Q. My Girlfriend the Sex Coach: My GF and I recently started having sex. I’m not sure the best way to explain it, so I’m going to just give you some examples of things she says during sex. “You’re doing great!” “Your technique and fundamentals are really good.” (While going down on her:) “Yes! Keep going! You can do it!” “Wow! That’s good. You must have been practicing!” Mind you, let me reiterate, these are things she is saying WHILE we are having sex. Yes, in the middle of the act, she keeps saying all these words of encouragement. What is she, my coach? I’m just so flabbergasted by this, I don’t even know what to say to her. She doesn’t even really talk dirty, she just will shout all these words of encouragement. I really have to dig deep in my mind for really dirty thoughts to stay in the mood because to me it is so ridiculous that I just want to burst out laughing sometimes. What is this all about?

    Yeah, what is that all about?

    1. I imagine this is what sex with a mormon girl is like.

    2. I just HATE positive people!

    3. “Wow! That’s good. You must have been practicing!”

      This statement logically entails two things; first, that she believes he must having been practicing his oral sex skills with another woman. Secondly, she’s totally cool with it.


      1. I wonder if he is paraphrasing or directly quoting. Because if the latter it is kinda weird.

        1. It could be that she just likes to give positive reinforcement and doesn’t really think carefully about what she is actually saying.

      2. No, there are synthetic…. substitutes…. that might be imagining.

        1. *she might

    4. “If you lose this erection, you’ll take it to your fucking grave.”

      1. “Remove that tongue, and you’ll LOSE that tongue!”

    5. That is brilliant and probably a true story.

      I would burst out in hysterical laughter and destroy the moment, sadly.

      1. In honor of this, from now on, when I have sex, I’ll just repeat old-school Warcraft unit quotes verbatim:

        “Ready to work.”
        “Work, work.”
        “Why not?”
        “Me busy, leave me alone.”
        “No time for play.”
        “Me not that kind of Orc!”

        1. “stop poking me”?

          1. FOR THE HORDE!

            1. (referring to the sperm horde as it unleashes upon Lorderon, aka the vagina)

              1. It wouldn’t hurt to throw in a “Don’t tase me bro!”

        2. I lol’ed

        3. “Won’t someone please think of the children?”

        4. “I’d rather be sailing.”

        5. ZUG ZUG!

    6. “You’re gonna get a trophy!”

      Also: this would be a good Seinfeld plot.

    7. I like that Prudence blamed Girls. It could be the tagline of the show.

      Girls: giving women bad ideas about how relationships work.

      1. what’s a show?

      2. Your problem is, one, that the rule-book of how to have a good relationship says you should bring it up gently when you’re not in bed. You tell your girlfriend how happy you are with her, how wonderful it is that you’ve become intimate, blah, blah, blah. But that her commentary during sex, while meant to be encouraging, is really distracting and you’d appreciate if she’d stop. But what I really would hope is that you simply flop away, laugh hysterically, and say, “Marnie, there’s no way I can score unless you stop coaching from the sidelines.”

        I lol’d, though the punchline could use some work…

      3. Great, now whenever that poor sap is around his girlfriend he’ll think of Girls which means thinking of Lena Dunham.

        1. “Margaret Thatcher Lena Dunham naked on a cold day! Margaret Thatcher Lena Dunham naked on a cold day!”

          1. Oh that’s not fair. I’m sure Margaret Thatcher was reasonably attractive when she was Dunham’s age.

            1. Eh.

              Definitely not as bad as Dunham, though.

              1. Well we are going by English standards.

                1. Personality makes a big difference, too.

    8. Hell, I wouldn’t care in the least. As long as she is really into it there’s no reason to try to adjust things – from my experience that doesn’t always go well.

      I used to date this girl who would go through three distinctly different voice changes – almost like separate personalities – during sex. So what? As long as it’s sex and nobody needs medical attention afterwards what’s the problem?

  6. Where is dunphy to cite some random CA decision like it’s the law of the land?

    1. Say something about pot, cops, and WA state, all in the same sentence. You have to bait in him, otherwise all his attention is taken up by a box of dunkin doughnuts.

  7. I wonder where Derpy the Magical Pony is tonight? I bet in the same exact place that Tulpa is.

    1. I think you made it shart itself with how juvenile you are.

  8. So the police are okay with prompting motorists to engage in behavior that may endanger themselves and other motorists just so they can have an excuse to stop and check them for drugs.

    1. But, jerbz were created.

  9. So OT but free healthcare doesn’t pay for this?

    1. Look, you don’t need more than one leg, overpriveledged white male bigot. The most important health care benny is abortion.

  10. I did not find any appeals court cases dealing with fake drug checkpoints in the 6th Circuit, where Ohio is located

    That’s some geeky journalism. Did you find any taxpayers in this region who thought that paying the police for this service wasn’t worth it?

  11. How about having a “street person” hold a sign that says “Honk if you love drugs” and pulling over every car that honks?

    Don’t these clowns have any *real* work to do?

  12. As I mentioned on previous threads there was a fake checkpoint like this on I-16 where it was impossible to exit after reading the sign without crossing the gore. Makes it all nice and legal. Crossing the median or backing up on the shoulder is mot likely a violation as well.

    1. Beatles fans, eh?

  13. Of all the cities in America to have this embarrassment, it had to be in the one that I live in. Ugh. I’ve already gave the mayor, city prosecutor, and police chief and earful. Oh, and F Tulpa.

    1. The city owns the arena, so they’re committed to it no matter where the hockey team plays next season. They’ll pay $500,000 for repairs next year regardless, and they’ll pay $8.4 million in debt service either way as well. The big difference in the proposals is around the arena management fee. IceArizona wants $15 million per year for the next 15 years to run the arena, while the city could hire an arena manager on their own for $6 million per year.

      Glendale will lose approximately $12.9 million next year if they approve IceArizona’s proposal, while if they let the team walk, they’d lose approximately $10.9 million according to numbers compiled by But having the team in the arena is a significant boost to Westgate City Center, the retail and entertainment destination of which Arena is an anchor. Eliminating 41 Coyotes home games from the calendar could cripple the surrounding area, thus eliminating jobs and tax revenue for the city. The city would also lose tax and surcharge revenue from hockey ticket sales and parking fees should the team leave town.

      I think a solution would be to put a minor league hockey team there as well as a NBA D-League team.

      1. what do you think the Suns are now?

      2. Related.

        The Glendale council also considered bids by several other arena operators, some of which offered to run the Arena for just $6 million a year in subsidies, but according to USA Today, those were rejected because they “couldn’t guarantee NHL hockey.” So in essence, the four members of the Glendale council who voted for this deal decided that it’s worth paying $9 million a year for the next 15 years just to have 40 home hockey games a season. That’s about $18 per game per fan who actually shows up to Coyotes games, or nearly half what the fans themselves are paying ? and they, unlike Glendale taxpayers overall, are at least actually getting hockey tickets for their money.

  14. Who won the Civil War? Revolutionary socialists, that’s who!

    For revolutionary socialists, the Civil War was a decisive victory in an even larger struggle between democracy and private property. Slavery, for Marx and other radicals, was an especially cruel version of a much broader conflict between democracy and the rights of property owners. The Confederate bombardment of Fort Sumter began what Marx, in an 1864 letter to President Abraham Lincoln, called a “general holy Crusade of Property against Labour.” By claiming to own people, a wealthy elite in the South accorded to itself the right not only to brutalize their “property” but also to take for themselves the wealth created by four million African-American workers. Elsewhere, wealthy elites claimed similarly that their ownership of factories gave them the right to manage, and to live off the work of, “their” employees.

    Andrew Zimmerman is professor of history at the George Washington University. He is writing an international history of the American Civil War.

    So you see, paying someone to work for you in your factory is exactly the same thing as denying them legal protections along with their natural rights.

    Also, Lincoln was on the side of the revolutionary socialists! Someone call Thomas DiLorenzo, quick!

    1. Marx had been calling for the “emancipation” of workers through the “abolition” of oligarchic concentrations of property — capital — for decades. The emancipation of the enslaved through the abolition of slavery represented a world-transforming step in this direction.

      Jesus Christ, the largest and most powerful empire in world history abolished slavery without a civil war in 1833. It was hardly a revolutionary change that Lincoln and the Feds decided slavery was a threat to Federal authority.

    2. I think I can speak for all of us here at the Reason commentariate when I say, I’ve seen some insanely stupid shit in my time.

      But that might, juuuuust might, be the single stupidest thing I’ve ever read.

        1. Looking for stupidity in the New York Times is like fishing with depth charges.

          So easy and fun that it ought to be illegal.

    3. Andrew Zimmerman is professor of history at the George Washington University.

      I prefer Andrew Zimmern.

    4. I guess this professor of history hasn’t read Dunoyer and Comte, two liberal class theorists that focused on denouncing slavery before Marx.

  15. OT: Mother Jones cracks the case on the murdered Arizonan firefighters, Manbearpig carves 19 more notches in his belt

    If you’re masochistic enough to read the comments, you’ll come across proglodytic afterbirth such as:

    Of course this disaster is due to Global Warming.. The Right-Wing- however, is FIXATED on what to call it.. They’re in a tizzy on whether to call it “Global Warming”, or “Climate Change”… Leave it to right-wingers to piss and moan about ridiculous pablum, and semantics..

    Duhhhh!! Well.. As long as we call it “Climate Change”!!! It’s all Good.. But, “Global Warming” sounds too much like Al Gore! (If you’re one of those ridiculous MORONS, please respond……..


    I feel bad for Firefighters..

    They, “Unfortunately”, serve as cannon fodder for political levers.. Like on (9/11), Corporate Malfeasance, (“The West Texas Explosion”, and Town Style HEEEEROES!! (Like, yesterday’s disaster.) When it comes to Anthropogenic Global Warming. Right-Winger’s have their head up their ass, and fire fighters keep getting fucked…

    1. Why do you do this to yourself bro?

      1. The hatred….it’s, it’s intoxicating.

    2. I’ve heard hobos muttering to their reflection in the subway with more rhetorical sophistication than that comment.

      1. It really makes you wonder if the journalists at Mother Jones ever get bummed out by the sheer dumbfuckery of their readers. Columbia educated journalists reaching an audience no smarter than readers of High Times…what a kick in the balls that must be.

        1. I think they’re just happy to get paid. Think of how many potboilers folks like Asimov churned out.

          In the august words of Kimbo Slice, “It’s how a nigga eat, man.”

        2. I flipped through an issue of High Times once at the mall Barnes and Noble while waiting for the person I was there with to finish shopping. Therefore I’m offended by the comparison

          1. High Times, like most mags, was really fuckin’ good in the 1970s.

            1. so was highlights for children!

    3. Who would could have possibly guessed that triple digit temperatures, combined with a hot, dry climate and lots of flammable material in the form of dry brush, could result in fire?

      There is no good explanation except Global Warming! Mother Gaia is displeased with us! Quickly, get the virgin sacrifices!

      1. That’s not the argument. The actual argument is even stupider: Global Warming/Climate Change is making forest fires hotter!

        1. It’s much more elaborate than that: George B0O0O0OSH!!! is funding an international syndicate of JOOOO bankers who funnel money to redneck farmers who have steadily increased the population of cattle in Iowa who incessantly fart methane into the atmosphere, thus increasing the global temperature which, in turn, beheads children and puppies. How can you not see this? You must be one of those stupid fucking flat-earthers!1!1!11

          1. Perhaps on your way home someone will pass you in the dark and you’ll never know it, for they will be? from outer space Mother Jones.

    4. OK, so now they’re going back to ‘global warming?’

      Back and forth, back and forth.

  16. I’m trying to find a video of it, but reportedly the pro-choice and pro-life protests outside the Texas state capitol is getting pretty ugly.

    On Twitter people “Hail Satan” is trending because some pro-choice women were shouting it at a group of Christians that were singing ‘Amazing Grace’.

    1. best quote, without a hint of irony
      Wendy Davis: “Don’t you hate it when politicians use abortion to further their own careers?”

      1. Bullshit. No way that’s legit.

        There’s… just no way.

        1. No, I saw the interview. It was actually, “Unfortunately, a number of politicians are using this issue [abortion] to further their own careers.”

    2. So instead of making some sort of principled argument in support of the legality of abortion, the pro-choicers just decide to “troll the fundies”.

      Truly, not since Cicero’s Oratio In L. Catilinam have I seen such passion of conviction successfully mixed with respect for the gravitas of such an important topic of debate.

    3. Here’s Twitchy with some Tweets reporting on the incident. One blogger posted a video on his blog (linked within the link).…..s-capitol/

      1. Small group of abortion rights protestors heckling a larger group of anti abortion activists. Chanting “more white males” sarcastically

        WTF does that even mean? Seriously, can someone explain “more white males” to me?

        1. Dude, this is the “Binders full of women” crowd. It doesn’t have to mean anything, as long as it’s sneered with the proper mount of opprobium.

        2. I think it means that they want abortion legal so that people can abort white males selectively.

      2. …Psst! Someone tell the meditating-in-protest hippies that both Hinduism and Buddhism are even more pro-life that Christianity.

        Though Buddhism doesn’t have any prohibition against prophylactic contraception and in fact considers it a moral imperative when one doesn’t wish to conceive.

      3. Sweet Jesus, one of the tweeters is a conservative black woman. They should know exactly how to deal with this outlier.

        1. Accuse her of being a race-traitor disgrace to the black community?

    4. Damn I was hoping to find my wife’s maid of honor in of the videos/pictures, it is fun to mock her.

      Did anybody else notice that both sides of the protesters are predominantly women? Well one side aren’t real women I suppose.

  17. I’m gonna go ahead and file this one under “Fuck you, that’s why.”

    Delmont man fined $500 a day to keep pet ducks

    “Frankly, how can anyone tell you what kind of pet you can have!” said Kistler.

    Here’s how, my friend: they’re gonna fine you more than you make in a year and if you don’t pay, they’re gonna beat the living shit out of you with their “peace makers” and haul you off to prison where you’ll be raped repeatedly by pederasts.

      1. Great, now I’m that asshole. I am disappoint.

        1. This is why Asians are smarter than Murkins. Asians would have just had crispy duck with snow peas, ‘probrem sorved’

  18. Fuck! I just had to watch Danny Glover on Globo TV.

    What a fucking moron.

    Can’t you marry a good Russian girl or something, Glover, so I don’t have to explain to my wife why you’re another moron from Murika, you fucking idiot.

    1. He hates all that money that America forced him to make.

      Seriously, just ask him. He’d prolly give it all back if you called him out.

      1. Guess I forgot to mention hypocrite along with moron and idiot.

  19. Hero constable neutralizes criminal dog in front of owner.

    The owner should have known better than to be black on a Monday.

      1. You should just put a revolver in front of me as a gentleman’s courtesy and close the door behind you.

        Fuck. Me.

      2. AP, errr….. I mean AT…, this could allow you a distraction from pantsed the link, but only if you can come up with the new term. And no help from Butt Nekked.

    1. You new to H&R?

    2. Dude, seriously, scroll down further and you will probably find an article detailing the next few links you have in mind.

  20. 60 Billion Alien Planets Could Support Life, Study Suggests

    And this is just our Galaxy. Keep in mind that the closest star to us in the galaxy is long long long away, as in traveling at 200K miles per hour it would take us 20,000 years to get there far. So don’t wait up, is what I’m saying. If they needed to pull over or something to use the bathroom, that would add like 1,000 years. And traffic? Forget it.

    1. I haven’t heard much more about this, but there was some speculation a few years back that both the Milky Way and Andromeda actually contain over one trillion stars each, instead of 300 million.

      Also, multiverse, and we don’t even know the extent of our own universe past the last 14 billion years of light or so.

      God created a massive fucking online simulation for his own perverse enjoyment, that’s the only explanation. I would have done the same.

      1. Trillion easy.

        Now do this math. Take that possible trillion and multiply it by this:

        Hubble Deep Field location in the normal sky (the stuff inside the yellow tetris piece)

        And here’s what’s inside that little speck of sky-

        Hubble ultra deep field high rez edit1

        Alone? Shit, it’s almost crowded.

        1. I’ve had this conversation many times.

          My perspective? Are we alone? Not only unlikely, simply impossible.

          But! Scarcity! We need politicians to make sure we can get what we need!

          1. Fits perfectly with this Michael Crichton lecture I was just reading.

            “Aliens Cause Global Warming”

            But I did not expect science merely to extend lifespan, feed the hungry, cure disease, and shrink the world with jets and cell phones. I also expected science to banish the evils of human thought?prejudice and superstition, irrational beliefs and false fears. I expected science to be, in Carl Sagan’s memorable phrase, “a candle in a demon haunted world.” And here, I am not so pleased with the impact of science. Rather than serving as a cleansing force, science has in some instances been seduced by the more ancient lures of politics and publicity. Some of the demons that haunt our world in recent years are invented by scientists. The world has not benefited from permitting these demons to escape free.

            1. My only conclusion, is that the vast distances between celestial bodies, is purposely designed so that we have a viable escape route from politicians.

              One day, freedom. Courtesy of technology.

              1. Cause they’re ain’t nothin like givin a 20 light year finger to a statist.

    2. I seem to remember that Alpha Centauri is about 4 light years.

      With the current speed limit, that will take 167 million years. With the speed that motorist choose to go on 695 Balmer beltway, we should get there by noon tomorrow.

  21. 11 TV Theme Songs That Secretly Have Lyrics

    The rim of the star-light
    My love
    Is wand’ring in star-flight
    I know
    He’ll find in star-clustered reaches
    Strange love a star woman teaches.
    I know
    His journey ends never
    His star trek
    Will go on forever.
    But tell him
    While he wanders his starry sea
    Remember, remember me

    1. Roddenberry was kind of dick.

    2. Why does my mind automatically put those lyrics to the Love Boat theme music?

  22. Someone on FB posted a deal about how hyperthermia will kill you in a hot car, and leaving a pet in the car is cruel (it is).
    So I found this but nobody has a sense of humour.

    1. We used to do this back in the day, but driving around (and smoking to boot.)

  23. Sounds like the taxpayers of Glendale, AZ are on the hook for 5 more years of Phoenix Coyotes hockey!!

  24. Reminds me, a long time back, where I went to school in Las Cruces, a baby was kidnapped from a hospital so the police set up a road block–on the interstate. They didn’t warn anyone because they didn’t want anyone to turn around. Apparently they were too stupid and/or lazy just to have someone watch for cars turning around.

    So a family of four German tourist cruises over a hill and plows into the back of a tractor/trailer killing everyone.

  25. I see DUI checkpoints all the time. How are those legal, and these not?

    1. That you see DUI checkpoints “all the time” is disgusting enough. And more often than not, they are funded by federal grant money.

      Unions love it: They agitate DC to fund this crap: More income for their “members”.

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