Colorado News Roundup: Drivers from legalized-pot states have protection, police can’t play Pokémon Go without consequences (08.24.16)
Here’s what’s going on around Colorado today:
OUT-OF-STATE LICENSE PLATES DON’T JUSTIFY SEARCH, WRITES COURT
WICHITA, Kan. — Law enforcement officials in Kansas cannot stop and search motorists just for having out-of-state license plates from states that have legalized marijuana, a federal appeals court ruled Tuesday.
The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals reinstated a lawsuit filed by a Colorado motorist, Peter Vasquez, against two Kansas Highway Patrol officers who pulled him over and searched his vehicle as he was driving alone at night through Kansas on his way to Maryland.
The KHP officers, Richard Jimerson and Dax Lewis, stopped him when they could not read the temporary tag taped to the inside of the car’s tinted rear window. The officers contended they were justified in searching the vehicle because Vasquez was a citizen of Colorado driving on I-70, a “known drug corridor,” in a recently-purchased, older-model car. They said he also seemed nervous.
A divided panel found the officers violated Vasquez’s Fourth Amendment rights in searching his car without his consent. Nothing illegal was found.
Twenty-five states permit marijuana use for medicinal purposes, with Colorado, Alaska, Oregon, Washington and Washington, D.C. permitting some recreational use under state law, the court noted.
The officers’ reasoning would justify the search and seizure of citizens of half of the states in the country, the court said, adding it is “wholly improper” to assume someone is more likely to commit a crime because of his state of residence.
“Accordingly, it is time to abandon the pretense that state citizenship is a permissible basis upon which to justify the detention and search of out-of-state motorists, and time to stop the practice of detention of motorists for nothing more than an out-of-state license plate,” the ruling states.
A lower court had ruled the officers were entitled to qualified immunity when it threw out the case, but the appeals court disagreed and sent it back for further proceedings.
COLORADO POLICE OFFICERS LOSE JOBS FOR PLAYING POKÉMON GO
COMMERCE CITY, Colo. — Two police training officers in suburban Denver have lost their jobs after taking recruits Pokémon hunting when they should have been training.
The Denver Post reports that a pair of Commerce City officers were removed from field training duties last week after their superiors discovered they were playing the popular game “Pokémon Go.”
City spokeswoman Julia Emko says it takes reports of misconduct seriously, and, as soon as the officers were found to be shirking their training, the issue was addressed.
The news comes a week after the U.S. Justice Department said it would conduct a review of the department at the chief’s request following a series of misconduct cases. One officer staged his own shooting and another was accused of touching three women during traffic stops.
VAIL CELEBRATES 50 YEARS AS INCORPORATED TOWN
VAIL, Colo. — The town of Vail is celebrating 50 years of incorporation.
The Vail Daily reports that four years after the ski resort was established, the few property owners in the area voted to incorporate as a municipality in 1966.
To mark the occasion the town celebrated with a birthday cake in Donovan Park on Tuesday and a number of other events. Vail’s 13 mayors were honored with the unveiling of a new centerpiece listing their names and terms and nearly 90 past and present town employees were honored for working 20 or more years.
COLORADO GOVERNOR DRAFTS PROPOSED GOAL TO CUT GREENHOUSE GAS
DENVER — The Colorado governor’s office is drafting goals for reducing greenhouse gas pollution from power plants, a few months after a confrontation with Republican lawmakers over the issue.
A proposed executive order directs state agencies to work on ways to cut carbon dioxide emissions from power generation by 35 percent by 2030 compared with 2012 levels.
A spokeswoman for Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper said Tuesday the proposal is under discussion with stakeholders. She didn’t identify them.
The proposal doesn’t say whether or how the state would try to enforce the goals if power companies balk.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan sets similar goals for the state, but that plan is on hold because of lawsuits.
GOP lawmakers want Hickenlooper to wait for a verdict in those lawsuits before pushing ahead.
— The Associated Press
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KEYSTONE — Summit County reported 196 new cases of the novel coronavirus over the week, according to the county’s coronavirus webpage.