Law court hears arguments on stop of ATV rider

Posted Jan. 13, 2009, at 2:28 p.m.
Last modified Feb. 13, 2011, at 10:43 a.m.

PORTLAND, Maine — Lawyers sparred in a lively debate over whether Maine game wardens should have the right to stop ATV drivers regardless of whether wrongdoing is suspected.

The supreme court case focuses on the operator of an all-terrain vehicle who was stopped in Mars Hill during the summer of 2007 and forced to take a field sobriety test. A judge threw out the test results, ruling that the law allowing wardens to stop ATV drivers without suspicion is unconstitutional.

The state appealed to the Supreme Judicial Court, setting up Tuesday’s arguments in Portland.

Aroostook County Assistant District Attorney Todd Collins says the Legislature targeted ATV riders because their machines are noisy and intrusive. But defense lawyer Alan Harding says it’s not a good use of resources to target ATV riders without reasonable grounds.

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