On Friday, U.S. District Judge Kathryn H. Vratil ordered that the Kansas Highway Patrol (KHP) is obliged to stop their “two-step” technique, as it is a violation of the Fourth Amendment.
The technique focused on the police conducting searches of vehicles in the state for marijuana. They would also regularly search vehicles that were traveling from out-of-state and particularly those from Missouri or Colorado. While in Kansas possession of Marijuana is illegal in those two states it is legal.
The Fourth Amendment protects Americans from any “unreasonable searches.”
The “two-step” technique however would mean that the police officers will usually finish with a regular traffic stop before then going back into their cruiser and attempting to find entry into the vehicle in order to search the vehicle for marijuana. This technique has allegedly been taught by Herman Jones the KHP Superintendent and it has a relatively high success rate of people being found with marijuana and the drivers being charged.
Spencer Fane LLP, and the American Civil Liberties Union of Kansas (ACLU) who represented the plaintiffs in this case, were proven right as the opinion noted that currently, the fight is against the technique as it essentially means that the more people they stop on the road the higher their chances of finding drugs are. The opinion further pointed out that the KHP had been going against motorists, particularly those who were traveling from Missouri and Colorado and were located on I-70.
One of the plaintiffs, Shawna Maloney, shared in her testimony that the KHP had intimidated her and exploited them, by searching their family RV during a check.