Legal News

Extreme Politeness Is Insufficient Probable Cause for Search
Download PDF
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (No Ratings Yet)

In a case where a motorist was searched during a routine traffic stop, because of being too polite, and a .40 caliber Sig Sauer along with a little bag of marijuana seized, the Ohio Court of Appeals has suppressed the evidence.

The police submitted that they decided to search Joshua A. Fontaine because of his too polite behavior, which raised their suspicion – but the court held someone cannot be searched for just being too polite.


In the instant case, Ohio State Highway patrolman Jared Hasler was running a speed trap on a stretch of the road where the speed limit is 35 MPH. His radar gun clocked Fontaine speeding at 45 MPH and he was pulled over.

As soon as he was pulled over, Fontaine readily and cheerfully handed over his license, proof of insurance and registration, causing the officer to suspect that everything was not alright.

A drug dog was brought over to sniff Fontaine’s car and then he was ordered out of his car and the searched for weapons.

Get JD Journal in Your Mail

Subscribe to our FREE daily news alerts and get the latest updates on the most happening events in the legal, business, and celebrity world. You also get your daily dose of humor and entertainment!!

The patrolman testified, “While speaking to Mr. Fontaine I felt that his body language and his behavior was a little bit unusual … He was extremely – like almost overly polite, and he was breathing heavily at times while I was talking to him.”

The three-judge panel considered only the issue of Fontaine’s Fourth Amendment rights being violated during his initial search, and found that once the warning for speeding was complete, the patrolman couldn’t justify the search for drugs without further evidence of criminal activity.

Writing for the appeals court, Judge Mary J. Boyle observed, “We agree with the trial court that ‘overly polite’ and ‘heavy breathing’ are not sufficient indicators that give rise to a reasonable suspicion of criminal activity.”

The court held the search violated Fontaine’s Fourth Amendment rights and allowed the seized evidence to be suppressed.



Litigation Associate

USA-NY-New York City

Position Overview DGW Kramer LLP is seeking an associate with a minimum of 2 years of general com...

Apply now

Corporate Counsel, Securities

USA-CA-San Diego

Position Summary The Corporate Counsel, Securities plays an important role in the organization by...

Apply now

FT Legal Assistant Wanted For Personal Injury Law Firm


FT Legal Assistant / Clerk Wanted For Personal Injury / Victim\'s Rights Law Firm Law Office...

Apply now

Associate Litigation Attorney


The Law Offices of Samer Habbas is a high-volume, fast-paced firm seeking a motivated and driven att...

Apply now




Search Now

Real Estate Attorney


Parsippany office of a BCG Attorney Search Top Ranked Law Firm seeks real estate attorney with 5 yea...

Apply Now

Corporate Advisory Associate Attorney


Chicago office of a BCG Attorney Search Top Ranked Law Firm seeks corporate advisory associate attor...

Apply Now

Trademark and Copyright Portfolio Associate Attorney

USA-CA-San Francisco

San Francisco office of a BCG Attorney Search Top Ranked Law Firm seeks a trademark and copyright po...

Apply Now


To Top