LAS VEGAS — A federal appeals court says police in Nevada violated a Hawaii man’s constitutional rights, and the government can’t keep $167,000 in cash found in his motorhome on Interstate 80 in 2013.
A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco ruled Monday that a pair of traffic stops by a Nevada Highway Patrol trooper and an Elko County sheriff’s deputy with a drug-sniffing dog amounted to an effort to get around Straughn Gorman’s right to be free from unreasonable searches.
Gorman’s lawyer, Vincent Savarese (sav-ahr-EES’), noted the appeals court characterized the one-after-another stops as “impermissible gamesmanship” by officers buying time to get a drug-sniffing dog to search the vehicle.
The dog found cash, not drugs.
Gorman was not charged with a crime, but federal prosecutors sought to keep the money.