- Associated Press - Saturday, June 25, 2016

LEWISTON, Idaho (AP) - A northern Idaho defense attorney says using a drug dog at a traffic stop is overreaching and illegal.

Attorney Joanna McFarland argued Thursday that her client should have been released after Lewiston police officers cleared him of driving under the influence last summer, the Lewiston Tribune (http://bit.ly/28WrxhT) reported. Courts records state that 43-year-old Michael Parkins was driving erratically.

McFarland says that police instead detained Parkins while waiting for a drug dog to pursue another investigation despite having no reasonable suspicion that her client had any controlled substances on him.

“A drug dog sniff rises to a different level,” McFarland said. “If he was speeding, there’s no justification for a drug dog.”

According to police, a drug dog alerted officers to possible drugs inside the car around midnight on June 13, 2015. Police say they found $1,000 in cash as well as two ounces of methamphetamine in a nylon bag stuffed down Parkins’ pants - a bulge which officers say Parkins attributed to gonorrhea.

Second District Judge Jay P. Gaskill is currently taking the motion under consideration. The state has not filed a counter motion to McFarland’s argument.

“That traffic infraction they stopped him for was complete,” McFarland said. “There was absolutely no additional independent observation to justify using a drug dog to start an additional investigation.”

Parkins remains in Nez Perce County jail pending trial, currently scheduled for July 18.

If convicted, trafficking in methamphetamine carries a mandatory minimum sentence of two years in prison and a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison.

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Information from: Lewiston Tribune, http://www.lmtribune.com

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