AP NEWS

Supreme Court: Trooper wrong to seize car in traffic stop

January 5, 2019

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — The Vermont Supreme Court has ruled that a state trooper was wrong to seize a man’s vehicle after he said he smelled a faint scent of burnt marijuana.

The Vermont American Civil Liberties Union sued the state over the seizure.

Then-21-year-old Greg Zullo of Rutland, who is black, was pulled over in Wallingford in March of 2014. The trooper said snow was covering his registration sticker.

The trooper said he smelled burnt marijuana and asked to search the car. Zullo refused but allowed the trooper to search him.

The car was towed and a grinder and pipe with some marijuana residue were found, which is not a criminal offense.

The court ruled Friday that a faint burnt marijuana odor doesn’t create a fair probability that pot would be found.