If Judges Believe Almost Anything Cops say then Almost Any Stop is “Lawful.” From [HERE] “Iowa Supreme Court precedent holds that the odor of marijuana emanating from a person, by itself, when detected by a police officer, who has adequate knowledge and training to recognize the smell, constitutes probable cause. The district court incorrectly found otherwise and improperly granted Carter’s motion to suppress.” State v. Carter, 2019 Iowa App. LEXIS 588 (June 5, 2019). [MORE] The case involved the stop of Melton Ray Carter, a Black man.
According to the 6/5/19 opinion of the Iowa Court of Appeals,
On August 30, 2017, Sioux City Police Officer Christopher Eral was sitting in his police vehicle and filling out paperwork with the window partially open. He observed a male, later identified as Carter, walking past his patrol car at a distance of thirty to forty feet. As Carter did so, Officer Eral detected an odor he recognized as marijuana.1 The officer did not smell the marijuana odor until Carter walked by, and there was nobody else in the area who could plausibly have been the source of the odor.
Officer Eral radioed that he was going to be out of his patrol vehicle with an individual, exited his patrol car, and then walked toward and called out to Carter. As Officer Eral and Carter approached each other, the officer detected the odor of marijuana coming directly from Carter’s person. Officer Eral asked Carter for consent to search, which Carter denied. Officer Eral advised Carter that he was going to search Carter due to the odor of marijuana coming from his person. Carter admitted to Officer Eral that he had marijuana on his person, which the officer located in Carter’s left pants pocket during the search. 2 Officer Eral arrested Carter for possession of the marijuana.
In a majority of states that have addressed the issue courts have held that an officer’s detection of the odor of marijuana, standing alone, constituted probable cause. The plain smell doctrine falls under the plain view and plain touch doctrine of the illusional 4th Amendment. The warrantless seizure of evidence in the plain view of an officer may be upheld if (1) the officer was lawfully present at the situs and (2) the item seized was immediately recognizable as evidence. (Terry) Horton v. California, 496 U.S. 128, 136-37 (1990).