The Iowa Court of Appeals has reversed a district court ruling, meaning a Sioux City man’s marijuana conviction is tossed out, too. Back in the middle of 2006, William Morton was the passenger in a car that was pulled over for speeding in Sioux City.
Morton was asked to get out of the car and he was thoroughly patted down by a Sioux City cop, who asked him to take off his cap and his shoes. The cop found two packages of pot inside Morton’s shoes. The policeman — and the prosecutor in this case — argued the patdown was essential because the cop feared Morton was carrying a weapon because he was riding in a car with someone involved in the local drug trade.
The Court of Appeals has concluded that asking Morton to kick off his shoes "exceeded" a proper search for weapons and veered into an improper search for evidence. Prosecutors argued Morton consented to the search when he kicked off his shoes at the cop’s request. The court said that cannot be interpreted as consent to a search and the evidence — the pot — found in Morton’s shoes cannot be used as evidence against him.