Cop: not laughing at my joke question is reasonable suspicion. Laughing at it is reasonable suspicion too.

Originally published at: Cop: not laughing at my joke question is reasonable suspicion. Laughing at it is reasonable suspicion too. | Boing Boing


A joke has to be funny first.


P.S. it’s wild that you can’t just look up this case online without paying $30 to PACER

PACER has its problems, and charging merely for searches is one of them. But it’s inaccurate to say you need to pay PACER $30 just to look up a case. A case search is 10 cents and PACER waives all fees accrued in a quarter if they’re less than $30. Also, opinions and judgments are free to download.


for once it’s good the cop isn’t getting fired and starting a new career in stand up.


You can also use the RECAP archive at https ://
which gets you to here: https ://
which lets you view the opinion here https ://
all for free.


A friend of mine ended up having his car searched and was thrown in jail over night for stems and seeds, because cop did the usual “firearms, drugs, etc” and added “nuclear weapons”, and my friend said “not to my knowledge officer” (we joke it was in a very sarcastic voice, but it probably wasn’t that bad)… I think it ended up getting thrown out? :woman_shrugging:

In our local friend lore, we’ve turned it into him doing the lonely sarcastic guy from Kids in the Hall…



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My usual deadpan response to these (border crossing) questions is; “No. Was I supposed to? Is that a requirement to cross this border?”


P.S. it’s wild that you can’t just look up this case online without paying $30 to PACER, and PACER is so rudimentary and broken you can’t even link to it. What a rip-off!

This is why it’s great having a spouse who practices in Federal matters…if I ever want to see something from PACER, she just “borrows” the account and shoots me what I asked about…I’ve asked her to yoink the ruling here for me to read.


Let’s see… laughing at the joke is reasonable suspicion, and so is not laughing… therefore:

a) The joke is immaterial to the determination of reasonable suspicion,
b) The cop already decided to search the vehicle before even speaking with the occupant, which means he’s lying in his testimony from the very beginning, and
c) This cop does not comprehend what “reasonable suspicion” even means, and all of this should be thrown out & his badge pulled.



“I know you’re probably laughing (or not laughing) because you’re nervous that I’m going to shoot you to death, because I’m a cop, but I need to be sure. After all, the more I interact with you, the better chance there is I’ll be able to find some justification to shoot you.”


Officer Smart…
Oh my.


So Close Nbc 90Th Special GIF by NBC


You can also go here to find cases. You have to know what you’re looking for, but I was able to find this opinion there at this link.


And if anyone wants to know how I found that, I went to the website for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, and clicked on Documents in the menu bar, and then on Opinions.


I suspect that the profession with the highest rate of domestic violence is the least likely to know what qualifies as a genuine joke.


Not being a cop yourself raises reasonable suspicion.
Cops are above the law when dealing with themselves and the general public, i.e. they either help each other out of trouble, and they actively screw over the populace.


… and even demographics that are less likely to be summarily executed have to worry that they’ll be detained and questioned at some second location while their vehicle is towed to a third location from which it can’t be retrieved without paying hundreds of dollars at some later date even if nobody is ever charged or convicted of anything


Came here to say this. PACER is not great, the fees should be lower and they should be used for improvements and not as an operational slush fund for the courts. But RECAP is an awesome hack, and greatly improves things. Also, many state courts have systems that are more expensive + less open + materially worse.

Welcome to the BBS - especially for adding useful detail like that! :wink:

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