Hero Says Victim Was “Too Polite”

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Ohio Court of Appeals throws out conviction of a man who was searched during a traffic stop because he was too polite.

Judge Mary J. BoyleThe second highest in Ohio decided on Wednesday that police have no business searching a motorist during a routine traffic stop for being too polite. The Court of Appeals suppressed the evidence that allowed police to seize a .40 caliber Sig Sauer and a small bag of marijuana from Joshua A. Fontaine at 2:27 am on December 12, 2012.

On that day, Ohio State Highway patrolman Jared Haslar was running a speed trap on Pearl Road in Strongsville, where the speed limit is 35 MPH. Patrolman Haslar claims his radar gun clocked Fontaine at 45 MPH, so he pulled him over. In the course of the stop, Fontaine cheerfully handed over his license, proof of insurance, and registration. This caused the officer to suspect criminal activity.

“While speaking to Mr. Fontaine I felt that his body language and his behavior was a little bit unusual,” Patrolman Haslar testified. “He was extremely — like almost overly polite, and he was breathing heavily at times while I was talking to him.”

Patrolman Derek Feierabend was called in to bring a drug dog to sniff Fontaine’s car while Patrolman Haslar wrote out a warning for speeding. Fontaine was ordered out of his car and searched for weapons.

“It’s an officer’s safety issue for the canine handler as he’s walking the dog around because his attention is focused on running the dog around the vehicle, conducting a sniff, and it’s difficult to be watching a person inside the vehicle and do the job with the canine as well,” Patrolman Haslar testified.

The dog identified the small bag of marijuana in Fontaine’s glove compartment. The three-judge appellate panel considered only the question of whether the initial search of Fontaine’s car violated the Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable searches. The court found that as soon as Patrolman Haslar finished writing the warning, he could not justify the search for drugs without some evidence that criminal activity was afoot.

“And here, we find that no such evidence exists,” Judge Mary J. Boyle concluded. “We agree with the trial court that ‘overly polite’ and ‘heavy breathing’ are not sufficient indicators that give rise to a reasonable suspicion of criminal activity. These factors considered collectively simply do not support such a finding. Since Patrolman Haslar did not have a reasonable suspicion of criminal activity to warrant the canine sniff, the prolonged detention to do so violated Fontaine’s constitutional Fourth Amendment rights.”

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11 COMMENTS

  1. Yes, one never wants to be “too polite” to the pigs. Or too rude. Or too anxious. Or too relaxed. Or pretty much any behavior at all. Or no behavior at all. No matter how you act, pretty much all us ‘ordinaries’ qualify for random roadside cavity searches these days.

  2. An additional good fix would be:
    “Ohio State Highway patrolman Jared Haslar has been charged with deprivation of Rights under the colour of law and failure to uphold his oath of office. Due to the egregious violation of Mr. Fontaine’s liberty, qualified immunity cannot be invoked in patrolman Haslar’s defence.”

    • PotL, I like your avatar. But it does look as if we’ll all be RFID’d soon. Think I’ll just drive w/o a license in that case.

      • Me too, Eight.

        I have given it a lot of serious thought – in that I am well aware of the repercussions and accept them.

        I will not be RFID’d or fingerprinted or retina scanned.

        I will not put (or allow to be put) any sort of GPS or monitoring device on my vehicles.

        I am ready to go to the mattresses, if it comes to that.

        God help us all.

        • eric, me too. I won’t have facial recognition pics of me, fingerprints, retina scans or RFID. Ok, I put my foot down on RFID…..one out of four is better than none.

        • Being RFID’d–“chipped”, like a farm animal–is another absolute line in the sand for me.

          The control freaks want to put their hands on you, and IN you–it’s the final stage of subjugation, when your body is violated and you have to take it, slave!

          My children will not be vaccinated. There are no laws; the “requirement” for schools is purely fraudulent, easily defeated. Even at my kids’ private school they asked for the vaccination records. I said they have none; argument ensues. I ask them to provide “the law”–and warned them it would be a long and fruitless search.

          The secretary and nurse called me a few days later; no problem, there’s no law. I took the opportunity to whip out my credentials and educate them on what a total farce the vaccines are.

          We CAN win–we just have to resist at every turn.

          But they’re going to try making vaccines mandatory. At which point, I will treat any enforcement the same as an attempt by CPS to take my children–and that will never happen.

          • Of note, they may have had to concede with you.
            They’ll raise the same ruckus with the next “ignorant rube” who comes in, though. And that person likely won’t be as capable of fighting back…

            So, likely thing is, you didn’t educate them, you just got them to shut up. A victory, to be sure – but the mass swindle continues.

            Why my “fatalist” system works, if you will: Once removed from circulation, they can’t violate anyone ELSE, either.

            (And keep in mind: They are violating THEIR OWN children – so they’ll have no compunction about violating you and yours.)

            FT analy with a broadsword.
            Make sure they take it all…

          • @Jean–yep, probably so; they’ll just railroad the next sheeple.

            OTOH it’s a private school and they seemed genuinely surprised there was no law. Maybe the next one, they’ll accommodate easily.

            Government Skrewl though? You BET they’ll put it in the memory hole and screw the next guy.

            Gotta make sure those kids get their neurotoxins; don’t want smart, motivated, naturally aggressive little boys turning into smart, motivated, naturally aggressive mature MEN, now do we?

        • Dear Eric, et al,

          “I will not be RFID’d or fingerprinted or retina scanned.”

          The observation that history repeats is no bull. What is this but the digital age equivalent of the Nazi concentration camp tattooed number on one’s wrist?

          It’s surreal. Tracking political trends in Amerika these days, is like being in a slow motion car wreck. You see it unfolding before your very eyes, but you can’t quite believe it is actually happening.

  3. “police have no business searching a motorist during a routine traffic stop” ………..period.

    There, that sounds better. 😉

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