July 17, 2008

WA: Cheech & Chong now constitutionally protected in Washington State

From the Olympian:

Court: Can't arrest all in car based on drug smell

The scent of marijuana wafting from a car isn't enough reason for police to arrest everyone inside, but officers can still follow their noses to search a vehicle, Washington's Supreme Court ruled Thursday. The unanimous decision overturns a nearly 30-year-old legal precedent in Washington and again recognizes the state constitution's robust privacy protections, which in some cases are stronger than federal privacy rights.

Officers still may search a car based solely on the smell of drugs, the court said, and justices indicated that a drug smell might be stronger evidence supporting arrest if there were only one person in a vehicle. But when it comes to multiple people in a car, the scent of pot alone isn't a cloud of probable cause that subjects everyone in the car to arrest, because police must have stronger evidence that an individual may have broken the law...

For a limited time, the opinion in State v. Grande is here.

Update 7/19/08: like, the Wall Street Journal ripped me off, maaaan! (via Simple Justice)