Police Error Spikes Drug Case
Valusek is suspended from the township police force and facing simple assault charges. State police charged Valusek and two other men for an alleged fight several months ago at a Lake Harmony bar. Preliminary hearings are set for next month.
Valusek charged Norris with possession with intent to deliver drugs and related charges after a traffic stop.
But Webb said Valusek’s contention that he stopped the station wagon in which Norris was a passenger because two youngsters in the rear of the station wagon weren’t restrained in safety belts or seats “was a pretext f air jordan or the sole purpose of searching the vehicle for drugs.”
Attorney Brian J. Collins of the Worth Law Office represents Norris. Assistant District Attorney David W. Addy prosecuted the case.
Norris is black. Carbon County judges in the past two years have suppressed evidence in several similar cases, many involving blacks or Hispanics. Valusek has been involved in some of the earlier cases.
On May 6, Valusek stopped the station wagon, driven by a woman unidentified in court documents, as it entered the toll plaza at the Pocono interchange of the Turnpike. Valusek was standing at the tollbooth, watching traffic.
“Allegedly because the children were not in any restraints, Patrolman Valusek requested that the driver of the vehicle pull over to the side of the toll plaza,” Webb wrote in his opinion. Valusek “approached the vehicle and engaged the driver in a conversation during which he asked for her license and vehicle registration. He did not, however, inquire about the ages of the children.”
State law requires that youngsters under age 4 must be placed in a safety restraint system while riding in a vehicle.
As the dr air jordan iver searched her purse for license and registration, Valusek noticed that she adjusted a jacket that had slipped partially down from the front seat, between her and Norris, then saw a brow air jordan n object under the jacket.
Valusek told the driver to lift the jacket and reveal the object and “felt that the driver looked nervous.” The bag appeared to be full.
“Patrolman Valusek, without probable cause to believe any law was being violated, ordered the driver to hand the bag over to him,” Webb said. Then, the judge said, Valusek felt the bag and could tell that it did not contain a weapon.
Valusek sniffed the bag, detected the odor of marijuana, opened the bag and found the drugs.
He did not cite the driver for the alleged safety restraint violation, nor did he issue a written or verbal warning. At a hearing, the judge said, Valusek “could not testify as to the sex or race of the children in the back seat of the station wagon and was vague as to the ages of the children allegedly standing in the back seat.”
The inability to be specific about the children, Webb said, “belies his (Valusek’s) alleged concern for this possible violation.” Therefore, the judge said, Valusek lacked re air jordan asonable suspicion to stop the station wagon.