Court: Cops Can’t Stop Cars Because Of New Paint Job

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — A Florida appellate court says police cannot pull over a motorist just because the car has been repainted a different color.

A three-judge panel of the 1st District Court of Appeal in Tallahassee on Friday reversed a motorist’s crack cocaine and marijuana convictions and six-year prison term.

An Escambia County sheriff’s deputy stopped Kerick Van Teamer’s Chevy because it was green, not blue as shown on registration records. The deputy then smelled marijuana. That led to a search and discovery of the drugs.

The appellate judges concluded that mismatching colors is insufficient reason by itself to suspect a crime. They also noted there’s no way to change a car’s color on registration records.

The panel, though, certified the issue to the Florida Supreme Court because of a conflicting appellate decision.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.

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