Interdiction Case Win at the Iowa Court of Appeals

Today, the Iowa Court of Appeals released its opinion in State v. Campbell. Dean Stowers of our firm, Stowers & Sarcone, PLC, argued this case in the District Court and the Iowa Court of Appeals.

The Iowa State Patrol stopped Mr. Campbell on Interstate 80 in Adair County. The alleged reason for the stop –  speeding. However, the Patrol had ulterior motives. The Troopers engaged in a suspicionless, drug interdiction investigation during the traffic stop. Invasive questioning totally unrelated to the actual reason for the traffic stop (speeding) is the hallmark of a drug interdiction investigation. Questions center on travel plans, cost of travel, personal history and characteristics, etc. The police use these questions to generate allegedly inconsistent statements. Inconsistencies allegedly indicate criminal activity. At that point the police search the vehicle, run a drug dog, etc.

Recent decisions of the  United States Supreme Court  (Rodriguez) and the Iowa Supreme Court have helped curb this practice. Though, not all police agencies have accepted these new limits. Iowa’s seminal case is another Stowers & Sarcone, PLC victory – In The Matter of Property Seized from Pardee. Today’s case is the latest in a series of successful interdiction appeals which includes State v. Hanrahan.

In today’s case, the Iowa Court of Appeals relied on the decisions in Rodriguez and Pardee to hold that the Trooper’s unrelated interdiction investigation unconstitutionally prolonged the stop beyond what was necessary to complete the stop’s mission; writing a speed citation. Therefore, the Trooper’s actions violated the 4th Amendment and Article 1 Section 8 (Iowa Constitution) prohibition on unreasonable seizures.

In the District Court Campbell was convicted of possession of marijuana with the intent to distribute and sentenced to 10 years in prison. Today’s ruling vacates his sentence and reverses his conviction. We anticipate the case will be dismissed by the trial court in the near future due to a lack of admissible evidence.

Congratulations to Dean and the team at Stowers & Sarcone, PLC. If you or a loved one are stopped and subjected to an invasive, unconstitutional interdiction investigation, call us today! 515.224.7446

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