Texas Appeals Court: Clean Cars Are Not Suspicious

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Texas Appeals Court: Clean Cars Are Not Suspicious

Post by Abdul Alhazred » Tue Feb 06, 2018 2:16 pm

Texas Appeals Court: Clean Cars Are Not Suspicious
TheNewspaper.com: Driving politics
Tidy motorists are unusual enough on some Texas roads that they draw the attention of at least one state trooper. In a January 24 ruling, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals went out of its way to overturn the dubious January 26, 2014 traffic stop of Jose Luis Cortez, a fastidious driver behind the wheel of a late model minivan.

The pristine vehicle drew the eye of Trooper Jared Snelgrooes, who has a habit of stopping clean cars that he believes are more likely to be carrying drugs or other contraband. During the Cortez trial, Potter County Judge Douglas Wooodburn double-checked to see whether he was hearing the trooper's testimony properly.

"So you're telling the court that because you see a van, it's clean and it's got two people in it, that was indicators of potential criminal activity for you?" the judge asked.

"Yes, sir, they are," Trooper Snelgrooes replied.

...
Nope. Not even in Texas.

I'm assuming at this point Mr Cortez is a US citizen.
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Re: Texas Appeals Court: Clean Cars Are Not Suspicious

Post by ed » Tue Feb 06, 2018 3:35 pm

Why was it in court?
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Re: Texas Appeals Court: Clean Cars Are Not Suspicious

Post by Giz » Tue Feb 06, 2018 4:19 pm

Well, I guess I’ve run out of excuses for not washing my car.

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Re: Texas Appeals Court: Clean Cars Are Not Suspicious

Post by Anaxagoras » Tue Feb 06, 2018 4:21 pm

Sounds like a theory I heard that obeying the speed limit is suspicious.

It may even be true, but if cops were to operate on that theory, that's fucked up.
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Re: Texas Appeals Court: Clean Cars Are Not Suspicious

Post by Nyarlathotep » Tue Feb 06, 2018 4:33 pm

It's a pretext so that cops can stop you any time they like for any reason or no reason at all but still claim they were acting within the law.

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Re: Texas Appeals Court: Clean Cars Are Not Suspicious

Post by Nyarlathotep » Tue Feb 06, 2018 4:36 pm

ed wrote:Why was it in court?
Because the cop decided the cleanliness of the car made him supsicious and fabricated a pretext to stop him (from the story, "driving on the shoulder"...by letting his tire briefly touch the line on the side of the road) and it sounds like he was fighting the bullshit in court. Which I commend him for doing. There was no indication that he was doing anything wrong other than he briefly drifted enough to touch the line.
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Re: Texas Appeals Court: Clean Cars Are Not Suspicious

Post by Rob Lister » Tue Feb 06, 2018 5:10 pm

but they did find 300 grams of meth so regardless, the troopers instincts were right. my car's so dirty i don't even drink coffee.

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Re: Texas Appeals Court: Clean Cars Are Not Suspicious

Post by Nyarlathotep » Tue Feb 06, 2018 5:13 pm

I don't know that catching the occasional meth dealer is worth giving cops free reign to fabricate any bullshit reason they like to stop any person they damned well please.
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Re: Texas Appeals Court: Clean Cars Are Not Suspicious

Post by Rob Lister » Tue Feb 06, 2018 5:15 pm

Nyarlathotep wrote:I don't know that catching the occasional meth dealer is worth giving cops free reign to fabricate any bullshit reason they like to stop any person they damned well please.
I wasn't suggesting it was a good thing. Just stating the facts. OTOH, it probably wasn't really the clean car that made them suspect.

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Re: Texas Appeals Court: Clean Cars Are Not Suspicious

Post by Abdul Alhazred » Tue Feb 06, 2018 6:24 pm

Nyarlathotep wrote:
ed wrote:Why was it in court?
Because the cop decided the cleanliness of the car made him supsicious and fabricated a pretext to stop him (from the story, "driving on the shoulder"...by letting his tire briefly touch the line on the side of the road) and it sounds like he was fighting the bullshit in court. Which I commend him for doing. There was no indication that he was doing anything wrong other than he briefly drifted enough to touch the line.
Because "looking Mexican" doesn't look good on a police report, even in Texas.
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Re: Texas Appeals Court: Clean Cars Are Not Suspicious

Post by Grammatron » Tue Feb 06, 2018 6:27 pm

Rob Lister wrote:
Nyarlathotep wrote:I don't know that catching the occasional meth dealer is worth giving cops free reign to fabricate any bullshit reason they like to stop any person they damned well please.
I wasn't suggesting it was a good thing. Just stating the facts. OTOH, it probably wasn't really the clean car that made them suspect.
It wasn't even the reason for being pulled over
Suspicions aroused, the trooper began following Cortez in the left-hand lane of Interstate 40. The trooper hit the gas so he could pull alongside the minivan. Noticing the officer fast approaching from behind, thinking he wanted to pass, Cortez moved all the way to the right edge of the right-hand lane so that the officer would have plenty of room to get by safely. The trooper insisted that, at this point, the minivan's tires touched the white paint stripe at the lane's edge -- the fog line -- and that this was a violation of law.

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Re: Texas Appeals Court: Clean Cars Are Not Suspicious

Post by Nyarlathotep » Tue Feb 06, 2018 6:29 pm

Abdul Alhazred wrote:
Nyarlathotep wrote:
ed wrote:Why was it in court?
Because the cop decided the cleanliness of the car made him supsicious and fabricated a pretext to stop him (from the story, "driving on the shoulder"...by letting his tire briefly touch the line on the side of the road) and it sounds like he was fighting the bullshit in court. Which I commend him for doing. There was no indication that he was doing anything wrong other than he briefly drifted enough to touch the line.
Because "looking Mexican" doesn't look good on a police report, even in Texas.
That, sadly, is the most accurate summation of the reasons for this, yeah
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Re: Texas Appeals Court: Clean Cars Are Not Suspicious

Post by Nyarlathotep » Tue Feb 06, 2018 6:29 pm

Grammatron wrote:
Rob Lister wrote:
Nyarlathotep wrote:I don't know that catching the occasional meth dealer is worth giving cops free reign to fabricate any bullshit reason they like to stop any person they damned well please.
I wasn't suggesting it was a good thing. Just stating the facts. OTOH, it probably wasn't really the clean car that made them suspect.
It wasn't even the reason for being pulled over
Suspicions aroused, the trooper began following Cortez in the left-hand lane of Interstate 40. The trooper hit the gas so he could pull alongside the minivan. Noticing the officer fast approaching from behind, thinking he wanted to pass, Cortez moved all the way to the right edge of the right-hand lane so that the officer would have plenty of room to get by safely. The trooper insisted that, at this point, the minivan's tires touched the white paint stripe at the lane's edge -- the fog line -- and that this was a violation of law.
Also a bullshit pretext, see Abdul's comment above
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Re: Texas Appeals Court: Clean Cars Are Not Suspicious

Post by RCC: Act II » Tue Feb 06, 2018 6:30 pm

Rob Lister wrote:
Nyarlathotep wrote:I don't know that catching the occasional meth dealer is worth giving cops free reign to fabricate any bullshit reason they like to stop any person they damned well please.
I wasn't suggesting it was a good thing. Just stating the facts. OTOH, it probably wasn't really the clean car that made them suspect.
If it was anything else he would have mentioned it unless it was an ethnic thing. He's counting hits and ignoring misses. Who knows how many innocent people's days have been ruined because of this.

There are a lot of these sorts of cop instinct theories, but a good cop just files it under a reason to maybe keep an eye out rather than overreact and detain people.

DUIs for example. A lot of cops with experience on two lane roads will tell you that they can be pretty sure that a car coming in the opposite direction is being driven by someone under the influence. That the oncoming car of a sober person usually barely itches away from the center line, while the drunk person usually is so worried about attention that they don't do this because they are more self-conscious. Look for it enough and it becomes obvious.

If a cop took this into court as the basis for the stop, they'd be laughed at. But it makes sense to turn around, flip on the dash cam, and see if the car starts weaving or otherwise and then make a stop.

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Re: Texas Appeals Court: Clean Cars Are Not Suspicious

Post by Grammatron » Tue Feb 06, 2018 6:36 pm

Nyarlathotep wrote:
Grammatron wrote:
Rob Lister wrote:
Nyarlathotep wrote:I don't know that catching the occasional meth dealer is worth giving cops free reign to fabricate any bullshit reason they like to stop any person they damned well please.
I wasn't suggesting it was a good thing. Just stating the facts. OTOH, it probably wasn't really the clean car that made them suspect.
It wasn't even the reason for being pulled over
Suspicions aroused, the trooper began following Cortez in the left-hand lane of Interstate 40. The trooper hit the gas so he could pull alongside the minivan. Noticing the officer fast approaching from behind, thinking he wanted to pass, Cortez moved all the way to the right edge of the right-hand lane so that the officer would have plenty of room to get by safely. The trooper insisted that, at this point, the minivan's tires touched the white paint stripe at the lane's edge -- the fog line -- and that this was a violation of law.
Also a bullshit pretext, see Abdul's comment above
Oh I agree 100%, I was just clarifying the actual "crime" that led to the sirens being flipped on.