The Kansas Supreme Court will hear a petition for review of a Geary County drug case Dec. 17.
The case concerns the State of Kansas v. Erika Y. Arceo-Rojas. In this case, a traffic stop resulted in discovery of a large quantity of marijuana. Arceo-Rojas was charged with possession of marijuana with intent to distribute and with no drug tax stamp. She moved to suppress the evidence. The district court denied her motion and convicted her on both counts after a bench trial. She appealed, claiming the police who stopped her on Interstate 70 for driving too long in the left lane and an unsafe lane change, lacked a reasonable suspicion for both the initial traffic stop and the later extension of the stop while waiting for a drug-detection dog. A majority of the Court of Appeals panel affirmed, holding both the initial stop and the subsequent detention were lawful. The dissent disagreed on both matters. Issues on review are whether police officers first of all had justification to stop vehicle based on prolonged driving in the left lane and an unsafe lane change; and second, if they had reasonable suspicion Arceo-Rojas was committing a crime in order to extend the initial stop based on unusual travel plans, rental agreement, masking agents, and luggage.
The petition for review is scheduled to be heard at 11 a.m. Dec. 17 and can be viewed, alongside other cases on the Kansas Supreme Court’s docket, on the Court’s official YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC1pXIOdkwjkdiLnpXj4Wp8w/live where it will be live streamed.