CA5: Burden on def to show smell of MJ in car was from lawful use

If one is claiming that prior use of marijuana in the car is lawful, thus defeating probable cause, the burden is on him or her. United States v. Goldsmith, 2024 U.S. App. LEXIS 4405 (5th Cir. Feb. 26, 2024).* [Except that’s going nowhere because the question is probable cause not proof beyond a reasonable doubt. Therefore, this ruling is both misleading and irrelevant.]

“Here, the initial stop was justified after the Vehicle in which West was riding was observed changing lanes without properly signaling. Thus, at this point, the tolerable duration of the stop was limited to the ordinary inquiries of a routine traffic stop. But Officer Struckus testified that when the driver rolled down her window during the initial inquiry he believed he smelled marijuana but could not be sure because the passengers were smoking cigarettes. This belief was confirmed on body cam footage when Officer Struckus was back in his patrol car running Ms. Rawls’s driver’s license, and he stated to another officer that he thought he smelled marijuana. Further, once Officer Struckus got Ms. Rawls out of the car to complete the initial traffic stop, i.e., inform her of her upcoming license suspension, he claimed to have smelled a strong odor of marijuana.” The stop was properly extended. United States v. West, 2024 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 31343 (D.S.C. Feb. 23, 2024).*

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