Passenger Jailed for Speeding Ticket

A passenger in a vehicle passing through Seward was taken to jail last month, after Troopers found he had an unpaid traffic ticket.


Troopers stopped a Ford truck around 6:30pm on January 26 for a traffic violation. During the stop, Troopers started talking to the passenger, 22-year-old Jacob Sutphin of Seward. They found Sutphin had a $50 warrant outstanding after he didn’t address a previous traffic violation. As a result, he was arrested and taken to jail.


Local lawyer Eric Derleth said the situation is entirely legal, but passengers often don’t understand their rights…


Derleth: “They can certainly ask for anything. To past a generalized request for information, they have to have a constitutionally permissible reason to do it. So if you say, ‘I’ve got nothing to say to you, go away,’ well then they’ve got a choice to make.”


Derleth said for an officer to conduct a search or physically detain an Alaskan citizen without a warrant, they have to justify their reason for doing so. He clarified that a driver is required to show proof of identification and insurance, but…


Derleth: “Now in the situation with passengers, they will often, I’ve had it happen to me. I got stopped for speeding. KPD stopped me for speeding. I was clearly speeding. I thought I was in the 55, I wasn’t yet, I told them that. 1:30 in the morning, and he said, ‘I want these other people’s I.D. and I said, ‘You’re not getting them.’ One happened to be my best friend and his wife, who’s an attorney, and I said, ‘You’re not getting them.’ He said, ‘Where you guys going?’ I said, ‘It’s none of your business. Where we were, where we’re going, it’s none of your business. I was speeding, I’ll take my ticket, and we’ll be on our way.'”

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