Marijuana trafficking charges dropped against Pennsylvania man
|By Ralph Bartholdt, Lewiston Tribune, Idaho|
|McClatchy-Tribune Information Services|
Hally asked the court to dismiss the case because of the circumstances that led to the seizure of the vehicle, and its subsequent search after being sniffed by a drug dog.
Pitonyak was stopped in October on
When Pitonyak, who said the car was willed to him by a relative in
The 23-year-old allegedly feigned an attempt to get cell service to prove insurance, but instead slipped away from police. He walked 10 miles through the forest to
Prosecutors argued there was legal precedence to allow the search and send the case to trial. But
The trooper initially stopped to aid and assist a motorist who appeared to have a disabled vehicle, Gaskill wrote in his decision.
"The stop was impermissibly extended when (the trooper) decided to cite Pitonyak for failing to have insurance, especially considering it took 20 minutes to issue the citation," Gaskill wrote. The stop was extended further as the trooper waited for the drug dog to arrive.
In addition, the trooper acted on a "mere hunch," that Pitonyak might be transporting illegal drugs, the judge wrote.
"For us, it was a complicated case that had a lot of twists and turns," Richardson said. "It doesn't change what we do."
Bartholdt can be contacted at [email protected] or (208) 848-2275.
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