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Judge Slams NYPD Over ‘Smelling Marijuana Odor’ to Construct ‘Legal’ Stops and Searches

The Legal Aid Society worked with The New York Times to highlight the NYPD’s long running practice of ‘smelling marijuana odor’ to construct ‘legal’ stops and searches. The Times reported on a recent decision in the Bronx where a Judge called on other jurists from New York State to scrutinize officers’ recounts where this scenario is raised in court.

“The time has come to reject the canard of marijuana emanating from nearly every vehicle subject to a traffic stop. So ubiquitous has police testimony about odors from cars become that it should be subject to a heightened level of scrutiny if it is to supply the grounds for a search,” said New York State Supreme Court Judge April Newbauer.

“This decision recognizes an all-too-common practice of dishonesty that police officers employ to circumvent the law to manufacture a ‘legal search,’” said Gaynor Cunningham, Staff Attorney with the Bronx Trial Office at The Legal Aid Society.