Crime & Courts

Spring Grove officer subpoenaed to test suspected marijuana residue after traffic stop

Nancy Pahlman, 59
Nancy Pahlman, 59

Police body-cam footage tells two different stories to attorneys expected to go toe-to-toe next week in the case of a woman who said police mistook a pile of pistachio shells for loose marijuana in her car.

Despite 59-year-old Nancy Pahlman’s staunch claims that it was the pistachios that led police to order her out of her car during a traffic stop in December, it wasn’t marijuana she ultimately was charged with possessing. Rather, it was the prescription bottle of tramadol in her coat pocket.

Spring Grove police didn’t take a sample of the suspected marijuana before they let Pahlman off with a traffic warning, court records show.

Pahlman, however, collected a sample of the residue, which she intends to bring to McHenry County court, where a subpoenaed officer could be ordered to test in front of a judge.

McHenry County Assistant State’s Attorney Robert Ladd filed a motion Tuesday seeking to block defense attorney Philip Prossnitz’s attempts to subpoena the Spring Grove police officer who arrested Pahlman weeks after the traffic stop.

Judge James Cowlin will hear arguments on the matter Thursday.

Ladd wrote in his motion to quash the subpoena that Pahlman’s alleged shell samples aren’t considered evidence in the case, and said there is “no legitimate reason” for the officer to produce a disposable marijuana field test.

Prossnitz, however, long has claimed police never were certain what the “leafy green substance” in Pahlman’s car was.

“She said she was unlawfully ordered out of her car as the result of an officer’s objectively unreasonable belief there was marijuana residue on the center console of her car,” Prossnitz wrote in a separate motion to suppress any evidence collected after the officer told Pahlman to exit the vehicle.

It was then that Pahlman admitted to police she had in her coat pocket a prescription bottle of tramadol, although it wasn’t made out to her.

The prescription was for her sister-in-law, who Pahlman said she used to drive to cancer treatments and had since died. Pahlman claims to have forgotten the pill bottle was in her winter coat.

The arresting officer can be heard on police body camera footage saying he wasn’t sure whether the residue was marijuana, Prossnitz wrote in his motion.

Ladd has denied the officer had doubts about the presence of marijuana.

A hearing on Prossnitz’s motion to suppress the evidence is scheduled for Friday.

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