West Palm Beach Teen Wins Appeal in Weed Bust Because Search Happened Before School


The person pictured above is not the teen discussed in this article, though we assume he would be pleased with the verdict.

A West Palm Beach teenager’s conviction for possessing a half gram of weed was reversed because the cop who arrested him says he stopped the kid for truancy — but the kid wasn’t actually skipping school at the time, making the initial stop unlawful and the evidence obtained inadmissible.
According to a ruling by the appeals court issued on November 5, the kid, a 15-year-old referred to only as “J.R.” in court documents because he’s a minor, had his rights violated when the unnamed police officer stopped and searched him. The cop claims he saw J.R. leave a designated school bus stop before the bus arrived and believed the kid was skipping class, so he decided to see what the youngster was up to.

“I initiated the stop based upon what I believe was truancy, and I took the cigars from him, and I patted him down for my protection,” the cop said in court. “And I saw — I felt in his pocket what I believed to be a knife, an open — a closed buck knife. And when I pulled it from his pocket, I saw that it was a knife, and I had also grabbed with my fingers what I would say is a nickel bag of marijuana or a small half gram bag of marijuana in a ziplock.”
The thing is, the cop shouldn’t have done any of that since nobody was truant. The Broward-Palm Beach New Times has the full story.