Brickbat: Suspicious Minds


Sheriff SUV
Mike2focus /

Stutsman County, North Dakota, sheriff's deputy Matt Thom testified that he stopped a vehicle because it was going 2 mph under the speed limit, it was from out of state, he could see no luggage, and the driver was sitting too rigidly and did not look at him when he drove alongside the vehicle. A judge ruled none of that added up to a good reason to stop the vehicle. He ruled that Thom violated the Fourth Amendment rights of the two men in the vehicle and said that 500 pounds of marijuana seized in the stop cannot be used as evidence.

NEXT: If Civility Is Out of Style, Where Do We End Up Next?

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. what

  2. So, do the innocent people the cop harassed get their pot back?


    1. No, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the cops already sold their car after it was seized for asset forfeiture.

    2. No. It wouldn’t be a brickbat if there was a happy ending.

  3. Sounds like a tip-off from intel agency. You know, the thing they aren’t supposed to do while keeping us safe from foreign agents?

    1. That’s some bad parallel construction by the deputy.

  4. …500 pounds of marijuana seized in the stop cannot be used as evidence.

    The very gravest of punishments for violating constitutional rights.

    1. And the 100 other careful drivers from out of state that this cop stopped and searched to find one contraband-runner have no recourse, because they were innocent.

  5. going 2 mph under the speed limit, it was from out of state, he could see no luggage, and the driver was sitting too rigidly and did not look at him when he drove alongside the vehicle

    I’m sure a car driving over the speed limit with lots of luggage and a driver slumped casually in the seat who kept looking at the cop would have been just as suspicious. But not as suspicious as a car driving exactly the speed limit with just a moderate amount of luggage and a driver sitting normally who glanced at the cop a few times – that’s obviously somebody going out of their way to not look suspicious.

    1. The all-seeing eye sees what it wants. Kind of like a predator eyeing a herd of prey.

      1. You and Jerryskids have just made some suspicious-sounding comments… I have seen something, so I am going to have to say something!

        1. Also, no luggage as far as I can see. Book ’em SQRLSY.

  6. 500 lbs?

    Seems like the state has a fiduciary duty to the taxpayers to sell it in Colorado.

  7. How dare those fucking cops steal 500 pounds of those dudes medicine? Put this judge on the short list for SC consideration. I’m sure the arresting office has already made chief by now.

  8. So, is the point of this story that we have to end the drug war?

    1. And the war on suspicious looking people

      1. There are not enough law breakers so the corrupt police make up suspicious signals.

        I dont look directly at police and usually give them my middle finger. Either that or I am flashing my headlights to warn other drivers that there are cops running a speed trap.

  9. When are the courts going to accept “my Spidey-sence was tingling” as equating to probable cause? Never, I hope.

    1. And yet, you have to hope; you cannot know for sure that the constitution is a sufficient force.

    2. This was a sadly rare case when they didn’t accept the LEO equivalent of Spider-sense. Judges are usually only too happy to twist logic into a pretzel to accept even the flimsiest cop pretext.

      But of course, most of the “law ‘n’ order” types I know manage to assure me with a straight face that cops “just know” when someone is a drug-runner, illegal immigrant or other threat to civilization. So it’s not like the cops and courts are pulling this off without plenty of support.

  10. OK, here’s the real point; no one can now say “if you have not done anything wrong, you have nothing to fear”.
    Doing nothing wrong can still get you busted.

    1. Yeah. Just changing the brand of your tires might be enough to cause a size differential which would cause a 2 mph discrepancy at 75 mph. You could have your cruise control set at 75, and end up doing 73 easily.

      “I’m sorry, I had to pull you over for not breaking the law.”

      1. I have actually been pulled over for not speeding. The cop straight up said it was suspicious I didn’t break the limit once, but I don’t expect many people would with a cop tailing them for several miles. Perhaps I was too rigid?

        1. Having driven on I-94 in ND on vacation multiple times, I’d have to say that driving under the speed limit is not only not suspicious, its fairly common.

          All the states where the limit is 75 and especially those where its 80 I’ve found that a pretty fair number of people tend to drive just under the limit.

          Its almost as though these states have raised the speed limits to where they actually ought to be.

      2. True, but even if your car is bone stock and fresh off the assembly line, there’s a good chance that the speedo will read a few mph high (or more rarely, low) at highway speeds. Most do.

  11. I am clouds from manchester, i hear how people are talking about The powerful spell caster called DR Ewan in regard of how he bring back ex lover, Winning lottery, getting pregnant and getting married to their dream lover and i also contact him to help me cast a spell in regard of my ex lover whom i love so much that left me 2yrs ago, but today my ex is back to me and we are happily married with 3kids and i am so much happy for the help i found in you DR Ewan. I and my family are very much happy and we are living large now, i am grateful and appreciate your good work . Thank you and may you live long to help people in problems. if you are going through any problem at all he will help you contact him on his email is or add him on watsapp +2349057353987 check out his webpage

    1. At least this is a lot more interesting than the usual bit about how the spambot made a brazilian dollars working from home.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.