- Associated Press - Thursday, June 4, 2015

ST. LOUIS (AP) - A mid-Missouri rancher and political activist is suing the state for the second time in a week, this time alleging that a law allowing troopers and other officers to pull over and inspect commercial vehicles without cause is unconstitutional.

Ron Calzone of Rolla filed the suit Wednesday in U.S. District Court in St. Louis, naming Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster, Missouri State Highway Patrol superintendent Bret Johnson and Gov. Jay Nixon. A spokeswoman for Koster said Thursday the lawsuit was being reviewed.

Calzone was pulled over in June 2013 while driving his dump truck to get feed for livestock on his ranch. He said he was doing nothing wrong and refused to consent to an inspection. He was initially charged with a misdemeanor that was later dropped.

The lawsuit asks that the inspection law be struck down and seeks a permanent injunction barring warrantless searches and seizures.

Calzone’s attorney, David Roland, said an incident report confirmed that the trooper did not observe any violation. Roland said the trooper told Calzone that state law authorizes the highway patrol to stop and inspect any commercial vehicle.

Calzone is director of Missouri First, a think tank that promotes limited government.

In a statement, he said his truck was empty and well within size limitation. “So this was the very definition of an unreasonable search and seizure, and I knew that if citizens fail to stand up for their constitutional rights, they will wake up one day to find they no longer have any rights,” he said.

Roland said the Missouri statute is one of just two in the U.S. that rejects the Fourth Amendment’s requirement of probable cause for a search and seizure.

“As much as it might like to, the state cannot legislate away citizens’ constitutional rights,” Roland said.

On May 29, Calzone sued the state over an omnibus law dealing with issues ranging from fire sprinklers to shingles, calling it an “egregious” example of a bill where otherwise struggling provisions are tacked on to a measure more likely to pass.



Click to Read More

Click to Hide