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Court of Appeals says police had the right to stop vehicle because it was uninsured

Michigan State Police

The Michigan Court of Appeals has overturned a lower court's decision to throw out evidence against Patrick Mazzie.

Mazzie was a passenger in a friend's uninsured vehicle when Monroe police stopped the car on June 22, 2017. Police used a law enforcement database known as LEIN to determine that the car was not insured as the reason for pulling the car over. The LEIN database gets that information from the Michigan Secretary of State every two weeks.

Police ultimately charged Mazzie with cocaine possession with intent to deliver, and maintaining a drug house, based on evidence found in the car and elsewhere.

But a trial court judge agreed to throw out the evidence partly because, on occasion, the LEIN information about a car's insurance status is outdated.

But police officers in the case testified it's correct about 90% of the time. The Court of Appeals says that gave them reasonable suspicion to pull the car over.

The Court of Appeals sent the case back to the trial court for further proceedings. 

Tracy Samilton covers energy and transportation, including the auto industry and the business response to climate change for Michigan Public. She began her career at Michigan Public as an intern, where she was promptly “bitten by the radio bug,” and never recovered.