December 3, 2013
The second highest in Ohio decided on Wednesday that police have no business searching a motorist during a routine traffic stop for being too polite. The Court of Appeals suppressed the evidence that allowed police to seize a .40 caliber Sig Sauer and a small bag of marijuana from Joshua A. Fontaine at 2:27 am on December 12, 2012.
On that day, Ohio State Highway patrolman Jared Haslar was running a speed trap on Pearl Road in Strongsville, where the speed limit is 35 MPH. Patrolman Haslar claims his radar gun clocked Fontaine at 45 MPH, so he pulled him over. In the course of the stop, Fontaine cheerfully handed over his license, proof of insurance, and registration. This caused the officer to suspect criminal activity.
“While speaking to Mr. Fontaine I felt that his body language and his behavior was a little bit unusual,” Patrolman Haslar testified. “He was extremely — like almost overly polite, and he was breathing heavily at times while I was talking to him.”
Patrolman Derek Feierabend was called in to bring a drug dog to sniff Fontaine’s car while Patrolman Haslar wrote out a warning for speeding. Fontaine was ordered out of his car and searched for weapons.