If you are pulled over by law enforcement and then either charged with a DUI or possession of drugs, you still have rights in accordance with Washington state laws. Two Snohomish sheriff deputies allegedly violated these rights and were subsequently fired from their jobs on November 4, 2019.
Investigation Began in June 2019
The investigation into the sheriff deputies began in June 2019, when a Snohomish lieutenant learned that the deputies had possibly conducted a warrantless search of a car during a 2017 traffic stop and arrest. According to internal memos, Sheriff Deputy Matt Boice noticed a pipe during the traffic stop and he put the driver under arrest for possession of drug paraphernalia. Sheriff Deputy Evan Twedt arrived on the scene, and the deputies found a baggie with .22 caliber ammunition in the car door and methamphetamine in the driver's pocket.
The Snohomish County investigation found that the two deputies claimed they were conducting an inventory search of the vehicle, which is done to document the items in a vehicle before it is towed to an impound lot. An inventory search is done to protect law enforcement and the towing company from a suspect later claiming that items were stolen from their vehicle while it was towed or impounded. During an inventory search, law enforcement cannot open any locked items in a car.
But in this case, the investigation claims the deputies conducted a criminal investigation of the vehicle without getting the proper warrant from a judge to do so. Even though the driver declined to let them search his vehicle, Deputies Boice and Twedt did so anyway and found a shotgun in the locked trunk.
Later, the deputies applied for a search warrant of the impounded vehicle, but they failed to tell the judge they knew about the shotgun in the trunk.
The man who fired Boice and Twedt is former Sheriff Ty Trenary. In his memo regarding the investigation, Trenary wrote, “Your failure to mention anything here that would even potentially provide a judge or a superior officer some clue that you had already done the search is both telling and damning,” Trenary wrote. Trenary lost his re-election to remain Snohomish Sheriff on November 5, 2019, a day after firing the two.
The man who ran against Trenary and won is Sgt. Adam Fortney. Both Boice and Twedt were vocal supporters of Fortney and had worked with him on night patrols. Fortney claims their firings were “politically motivated” and has said the deputies' firings will be investigated.
The Law Offices of Steve Karimi
If you have been arrested after a traffic stop and suspect that the police conducted an illegal search of your vehicle, you need attorney Steve Karimi to defend your rights. He will investigate the procedures that took place and determine exactly what happened. Call his office today at 206-621-8777 or fill out a contact form to get started on a free consultation.