A state trooper lacked legal justification to pull over a motorist who had a purple baseball-size object dangling from his rear-view mirror, a divided state Superior Court panel has ruled.
The majority decision, authored by Judge Paula Francisco Ott, will almost certainly sink the drugged-driving case against driver Darren Marino.
The dispute hinges largely on perceptions.
It was Trooper Joseph Snyder’s perception that the mirror dangler was obstructing Marino’s view out the windshield as Marino drove through Grove City in Mercer County on Sept. 5, 2017.
Snyder pulled Marino over, intending to cite him for a vision obstruction, court filings state. That morphed into a drugged-driving charge and a count of possession of a small amount of marijuana after the trooper said he smelled pot at Marino’s car and found a small bag of the drug in the glove compartment.