Ex-Cop Drug Runner

Hapless Ex-Cop Busted for Drug Running: Worth the Risk?

By Ken K. Gourdin

In Tooele County, the Utah Highway Patrol recently pulled over Edward Jasper Hansen, 67, of Decatur, Georgia, who is a former officer for Atlanta P.D., finding 100 pounds of marijuana in Mr. Hansen’s vehicle. Reportedly, Mr. Hansen felt that being the subject of a felony drug bust was worth the risk, given the potential, I presume, return to him. Another poster decried the fact that this officer was pulled over, he says, simply for traveling from one state to another. See Deseret News coverage here, last accessed June 19, 2017:

http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865683241/Warrant-Today-wasnt-my-day-said-cop-arrested-with-200-lbs-of-pot.html.

One of Mr. Jasper’s assignments as a police officer was drug interdiction. I find it curious that his 23-year absence from the profession apparently has changed his attitude toward illicit substances—or at least, toward marijuana. Or, perhaps he held some permissive attitudes toward illegal drugs even when he was engaged in interdicting them. Quoting the poster to whom I was responding, I answered as follows:

“If you are traveling through another state (and this guy says he is from GA) then there is no basis to get pulled over by a police officer.”

I’m as big a fan of the Constitution as anyone, but I’m afraid I don’t follow. Are you saying that merely traveling from one state to another, standing alone, is no reason to be pulled over? If that’s what you’re saying, then I agree. Perhaps the article could have been clearer about the reason the officer made the stop. Perhaps courts are too deferential to police officers in general; perhaps they’re also too willing to accept officers stated reasons (perhaps ad hoc or post hoc reasons) for conducting traffic stops; and perhaps they’re not willing enough, in light of the fact that traffic offenses are strict liability offenses (essentially, if an officer says you committed a traffic offense, courts treat that assertion as prima facie evidence that you committed said offense), to accept evidence which contradicts an officer’s statements.

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About kenngo1969

Just as others must breathe to live, I must write. I have been writing creatively almost ever since I learned to write, period! I have written fiction, book- and article-length nonfiction, award-winning poetry, news, sports, features, and op-eds. I hope, one day, to write some motivational nonfiction, a decent-selling novel, a stage play, and a screen play.
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