The Kansas Court of Appeals has reversed a Barton County judge’s decision that suppressed drug evidence located in an automobile by a drug dog, Barton County Attorney Amy Mellor announced.
In making its announcement on Sept. 8, the Court of Appeals panel reversed the order suppressing evidence “because the district court’s ruling is contrary to rulings of the United States Supreme Court, which has held that an officer doesn’t need to have reasonable suspicion of illegal activities to have a drug dog sniff around a car during a lawful traffic stop.”
Jennifer Dawn Wilson was charged with possession of methamphetamine and hydrocodone based on a Sept. 27, 2015, traffic stop for a defective taillight in Barton County.
“The defendant in the case had suggested that the otherwise lawful traffic stop had been prolonged beyond the time that was reasonably required to write out a citation,” Mellor stated in a news release. “The local judge found that the stop took a reasonable amount of time, but suppressed the evidence when he determined that the police officers didn’t have probable cause to believe that use of a drug detection dog was necessary.
“The Barton County Attorney’s Office appealed that ruling, and the trial court’s order was reversed,” Mellor continued. “In announcing its decision, the Court of Appeals panel found that United States Supreme Court cases have held that there is no Fourth Amendment violation when a drug dog is used during a lawful car stop.”
The case will be returned to Barton County for further action. The case was investigated by the Great Bend Police Department and was prosecuted by Mellor. Doug Matthews of the Barton County Attorney’s Office filed and argued the case on appeal.
Pawnee County case
During the month of September, the Kansans Court of Appeals also affirmed the ruling of a Pawnee County case, State v. Isley.
“These were crimes that occurred in late October and early November 2011, against a fellow patient at the Sexual Predator Treatment Program,” Pawnee County Attorney Douglas McNett said. “I presented this case to a jury in March of 2014. At trial the defense tried to focus on the fact the defendant did not verbally threaten the victim, nor did the victim ever physically fight against the unwanted sexual acts.
“My office is pleased the Kansas Court of Appeal upheld the jury’s finding that the victim acquiesced out of fear. The victim showed tremendous courage in later reporting the crimes to staff.”