Michigan’s top court looks at Saranac speeding dispute

Ionia County
Gavel close up. Conceptual image of law and justice._45511

SARANAC, Mich. (AP) — The state’s highest court is taking a look at a speed limit dispute in a small town in western Michigan.

The Supreme Court said it will hear arguments in the months ahead in the case of Anthony Owen, who was accused of drunken driving in Saranac in Ionia County.

A sheriff’s deputy said the stop was justified because Owen was speeding in a 25 mph zone. But Owen’s lawyer argued that the speed limit actually was 55 mph by default because there was no sign on Parsonage Road.

The Michigan appeals court in 2019 ruled in favor of Owen and threw out evidence of drunken driving, saying a “reasonably competent” officer should have known that Owen couldn’t be stopped for speeding.

But the Supreme Court last week said it’s wondering if the officer simply “made an objectively reasonable mistake of law.”

The court wants lawyers to look at a 2014 U.S. Supreme Court case involving cocaine and a traffic stop in North Carolina. The justices said the stop was lawful because the officer’s mistake about that state’s brake lights law was rational.

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