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A rookie police officer pulled a biker over for speeding and had the following exchange:

• Officer: May I see your driver's license?

• Biker: I don't have one. I had it suspended when I got my 5th DUI.

• Officer: May I see the owner's card for this vehicle?

• Biker: It's not my bike. I stole it.

• Officer: The motorcycle is stolen?

• Biker: That's right. But come to think of it, I think I saw the owner's card in the tool bag when I was putting my gun in there.

Officer: There's a gun in the tool bag?

• Biker: Yes sir. That's where I put it after I shot and killed the dude who owns this bike and stuffed his dope in the saddle bags.

• Officer: There's drugs in the saddle bags too?!?!?

• Biker: Yes, sir. Hearing this, the rookie immediately called his captain. The biker was quickly surrounded by police, and the captain approached the biker to handle the tense situation:

• Captain: Sir, can I see your license?

• Biker: Sure. Here it is. It was valid.

• Captain: Who's motorcycle is this?

• Biker: It's mine, officer. Here's the registration.

• Captain: Could you slowly open your tool bag so I can see if there's a gun in it?

• Biker: Yes, sir, but there's no gun in it. Sure enough, there was nothing in the tool bag.

• Captain: Would you mind opening your saddle bags? I was told you said there's drugs in them.

• Biker: No problem. The saddle bags were opened; no drugs.

• Captain: I don't understand it. The officer who stopped you said you told him you didn't have a license, stole this motorcycle, had a gun in the tool bag, and that there were drugs in the saddle bags.

• Biker: Yeah, I'll bet he told you I was speeding, too.

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Biker: Yeah, I'll bet he told you I was speeding, too.


Haha! As a paralegal, I happen to be DEEP into a case where a 50-year-old African-American lady with two teenage passengers was pulled over for speeding. They were traveling from San Diego to Colorado, thru Utah, to spend Thanksgiving with relatives. The cop became suspicious that they were transporting drugs. What led to his suspicion? She had a license plate frame that said "Jesus" on it! OMG! Also, she had an air freshener in the car! Anyway, he detains them and calls in a drug sniffing dog. A dog can sniff around the outside of a car, and that's not considered a "search" (which requires probable cause). As the passengers got out, the highway patrol cop held onto their doors so they couldn't close them, thinking that would help the dog sniff. When the dog was deployed, he jumped right into the open door within about 3 seconds - before giving an alert or indication that he had smelled drugs. That's essentially the case right there. Illegal search. 4th Amendment violation. The dog rummaged around inside for about 10 minutes, and they claimed he alerted to drugs, the cops searched the heck out of the car and all the luggage, took apart inside compartments with a screwdriver, no drugs! Two hours later they were let go.


This happened in 2008. After taking depositions and other 'discovery', all sides filed motions for summary judgment. All were denied. The dog handler's attorney appealed the denial to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals. After about a year, the 10th Circuit affirmed the denial. Was that attorney done yet? No. He appealed the 10th Circuit's decision and petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the case. Within a month or two they denied the petition, so we're finally going to a jury trial in about four weeks.


The defense attorney has been getting paid hourly all this time (for work he's done on the case). Not so for my boss - he only gets paid if we win. And the case is really worth peanuts to the lady driver - no physical injury or anything, no medical bills. Historically, that's typical for civil rights violations - low damages, so there's no incentive for attorneys to take such cases. But long ago the U.S. legislature didn't want civil rights violations - violations of guaranteed Constitutional rights - to go unchallenged just because no attorney would take those cases. So they added a U.S. Code section saying if you win such a case, the loser has to pay attorney fees to the winning attorney. Believe me, my boss has kept track of the hours he's put into this case. If the jury awards the lady anything at all, the cops (well, their insurance pool) will be paying my boss well into the six figures. Personally, I think it ought to come out of that defense attorney's pocket!

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