A college student was arrested by Utah police and forced to undergo a catheter insertion. The police suspected him of being a marijuana user.
No trace of any illegal drug was found.
He and some friends were smoking cigarettes in a car. Police approached the car and searched it. They had no search warrant. Did they have probable cause?
It may cost the department’s insurance company $11 million to find out they didn’t.
The police claimed they could smell marijuana. Their sense of smell was apparently more acute than their eyesight. They found none.
But, following in the tradition of Barney Fife, they didn’t let this stop them. They called in a pot-sniffing dog. Its sense of smell was less acute than the cops’.
One fop popped the trunk and found . . . a glass pipe. That was evidence enough for him and his peers. They took the student to the police station. Actually, they asked him to drive there.
Yet they thought he had been smoking marijuana. Is it a good idea to let potheads under the influence drive?
Then the fun began.
He was put in a holding cell.
He was forced to take a drug test.
He asked for an attorney. (Smart kid.)
They got a search warrant instead. Some judge issued it. This allowed them to take him to the hospital for a urine test. Anyway, that’s what the department’s attorney now claims. It’s called “blame the judge.”
Then they took him to jail.
He is now suing the department and the hospital for $11 million in federal court.
If he gets anywhere near $11 million, the department will find it wise to find other ways to protect the public.
The judge who issued the warrant may think twice next time. He may choose not to be snookered again, and left holding the catheter bag.