This is the second of at least three parts of a true ongoing story about a small-town policeman named Michael Gilmurray and his unlawful hounding and persecution of a local woman named Janice Masters. In part 1, we saw Officer Gilmurray violate a host of policies in the Ludington Police Department's (LPD) manual and violate a variety of statutes and Masters' basic civil rights while conducting a traffic stop in December of 2022.
In that stop we noticed that there was at least a basis for stopping Masters' car (a damaged headlight from a deer crash and the lack of a license plate on a recently purchased vehicle). In this stop, two months prior in October, Gilmurray stops a vehicle driven by Lindsey Klastow with Janice Masters in the passenger seat and Masters' boyfriend in the backseat. You may recognize Klastow's name from The Hand That Prosecutes the Innocent, where we find she is being prosecuted for a felony by picking up a phone dropped on the ground by her love interest, who was being unlawfully arrested at the time by Gilmurray and LPD Captain Haveman.
Both Klastow and Masters have suffered a lot of damage to their careers in the medical field from the actions of Gilmurray, assisted by and supervised by Captain Haveman. Neither of the women have any other blemish on their criminal record other than the two felonies that are alleged against them for picking up a cell phone and picking up game cards (to be explored in pt. 3).
We find here that Gilmurray notices Klastow's car leave Masters' residence in the Fourth Ward. The women notice the officer's car following them as they travel through the Fourth Ward for several blocks and a couple of turns. Gilmurray activates the light when they are heading east on First Street and initiates a stop; in due time we find that the reason for the traffic stop is objectively bogus and the ensuing search of the vehicle and the women's purses is equally baseless and far from kosher. Let's go over a couple of basics.
The police need a legal basis to pull over a car. That legal basis is one of two reasons:
The first reason is the easiest to achieve, an officer can pull a car over for being 1 mph over the speed limit or for not signaling a turn. Coincidentally, both are averred to have happened here, but absent either of the above reasons, an officer has no rationale to conduct a traffic stop, recognized as a seizure. If a stop has been initiated for speeding or failure to signal, there normally isn't any reason for a search of the car unless the officer can establish and articulate a valid reason for the search arising from observations made during the stop.
We will look at these principles and others as we analyze the totally unlawful traffic stop that took place ten days before last Halloween. Notice particularly in the video how Gilmurray concentrates not on the topic of the stop itself, but on the passenger of the vehicle, Janice Masters, her purse, and her coat pockets. A transcription of most of the contact is offered, with analysis (when warranted) over what was happening and how unlawful it was, looking at precedent and legal principles found in case law and attorney websites.
Klastow: Why did you pull me over? [cross talk]
Gilmurray: What's that?
Klastow: What was your reasoning for pulling me over?
Gilmurray: Do you have your license, registration, proof of insurance? Come out and I'll talk with you.
Klastow: I sure do.
ANALYSIS: Notice how Gilmurray deftly avoids answering the question of why he conducted the stop, changing the topic by asking for paperwork, while ordering her out of the car. Under, Pennsylvania v. Mimms, 434 U.S. 106 (1977), a U.S. Supreme Court case, a police officer is allowed to remove you from the car if he/she feels unsafe during a lawful traffic stop. The case makes it clear it must be a lawful stop and detainment, which hasn't yet been established in this case, and never will be in the 15 minutes it takes. It does make the unlawful search coming up a bit easier to perform.
Gilmurray: Where you guys heading off to?
Klastow: We were going to go to the casino, but...
Gilmurray: You going to the casino? OK, which one? (cross talk) Manistee? You react like that was a dumb question but there's a lot of casinos.
Klastow: I just don't understand why you pulled me over.
Gilmurray: Why don't you just hop out (edit, LEIN data on radio)
ANALYSIS: Once again Gilmurray avoids the direct question of why the stop was made and orders her out of the vehicle without telling her why.
Klastow: (searching thru purse) Dude, I just got my ID today... I don't know where it is... can't you just look it up?
Gilmurray: Lawfully you need it on you.
Klastow: I found it!
Gilmurray: Alright, grab it and hop on out for me.
Klastow: Why do I have to get out of the car? (asked also by Masters)
Gilmurray: Because I asked you to.
ANALYSIS: A federal district court has ruled: An officer may order every single person out of a car at will if he wants to so long as it is for safety reasons (also if there a reasonable suspicion of criminal activity). However, an officer may not simply order a driver out of the car for curiosity or for some other impermissible motive. Gilchrist v. State, 757 So.2d 583 (2000). As given, Gilmurray's order is unlawful.
Masters: I know you asked her to.
Klastow: He's bossy, I don't know
Gilmurray: I'm not bossy (Klastow and Gilmurray move to the back of the car). Alright you have it all back here? The reason why I stopped you was that you didn't use your turn signal leaving Janices' house, OK, and you speeded down here...
Klastow: Oh, at the stop sign? (MG avoids question)
ANALYSIS: The women were aware that the officer was following them, they were not speeding and the officer's dashcam would reflect that had he pressed this issue. He didn't, nor did he press the other issue when he said that Klastow didn't signal when he left the driveway of Janice's house, for that is not a civil infraction. One is not legally obligated to signal a turn when coming from a private driveway only on a road/highway (MCL257.648). There would be no further discussion on the two bogus infractions, instead Gilmurray (pictured below) concentrated on the female passenger sitting patiently in the car.
Klastow: Um, we hang out...
Gilmurray: You hang out, OK, and you guys are going to the casino you said
Klastow: Yeah, before they close at midnight. [It's 10:26 PM]
Gilmurray: They close at midnight?
Klastow: But now I am not going to go?-- No?-- Because I'm not going to race down there.
Gilmurray: OK, so go ahead you're just stopped for five minutes so either way you weren't going to go.
Klastow: No, we were still going so even now we'll be there by eleven.
Gilmurray: OK, alright, so I've been real with you alright. I've helped you out with a lot of things. So I'm gonna ask you one question and I need you to be honest with me, OK, because at the end of this, I can help you or this can go south, OK? Is there anything in the car that I need to know about.
Klastow: No, there is nothing.
Gilmurray: Nothing, nothing at all.
Klastow: Nothing at all.
Gilmurray: Would you consent to a search?
Gilmurray: You would? OK, we'll get that going here in a second, alright?
Klastow: What are you searching for though?
Gilmurray: So it'll be weapons guns, drugs, anything...
ANALYSIS: In Rodriguez v US, the US Supreme Court ruled that a traffic stop ends when the objective of the stop had been concluded:
“A seizure for a traffic violation justifies a police investigation of that violation” – not more — and “authority for the seizure . . . ends when tasks tied to the traffic infraction are – or reasonably should have been—completed…” Traffic stops have to be reasonably short, and unless there is reasonable suspicion of some other crime, officers can’t use the stop as a subterfuge for extraneous investigation...
Gilmurray has said the stop was for speeding and failure to use a turn signal, both of which wouldn't hold up on a challenge if Gilmurray archived the dash cam footage. There is no basis to search the vehicle to investigate either supposed infraction. The '5 minute' stop will last over 15 minutes due to the unlawful search to come. Gilmurray has offered no articulated reason to suspect that drugs or weapons would be in the car.
Klastow: I do have a pocket knife in my purse.
Gilmurray: Well you ain't going to be charged with that. Protection, right?-- yeah-- OK, that's fine, but there's nothing else in the car that I need to know about? --no-- That's good, I'll talk with them in a minute. Who's that... is that Young in the back?
Klastow: I have no idea.
Gilmurray: You don't know who he is?
Klastow: I know his first name. DeAndre.
Gilmurray: I think it's DeAndre, I don't know for sure.
Klastow: He's friends with Janice, not me.
Gilmurray: OK, alright, and your honestly going to the casino-- yes-- [police backup shows up] so I just want to let you know is you don't think there's anything in the car that might be with Janice or...
Klastow: No, there's nothing, nothing.--OK?-- not even weed, well, I do have my dab pen.
Gilmurray: I'm not worried about weed. OK, I'll get them out here in a minute and talk with them one by one and if you just want to sit back here with my partner, then I'll just get you on your way in a short minute, OK?--yeah-- I appreciate your cooperation.
ANALYSIS: Consent to a vehicle search has been freely given by the car owner. As a general rule, if one person who possesses common authority to give consent to jointly controlled premises gives consent, but a second co-occupant is physically present and refuses to give permission to search, a consent search is not justified (Georgia v. Randolph, 547 U.S. 103 (2006)). Pay close attention to what follows, as neither Masters nor the other passenger (DeAndre) are ever asked for their consent to look through their personal belongings in the vehicle.
Gilmurray: [goes back to car, then goes to passenger side] OK, Janice want to hop on out for me.
Masters: Why? What did I do?
Gilmurray: You didn't do anything, I want to talk to you back here.
Masters: Oh, God.
Gilmurray: I don't know why you are so nervous with me.
ANALYSIS: As previously noted, an officer may not simply order a driver out of the car for curiosity or for some other impermissible motive. Gilchrist v. State, 757 So.2d 583 (2000). As given, Gilmurray's order is unlawful. Had Gilmurray told Masters he was given consent to search the car, she could have removed her overcoat, purse, and pocketbook, but she leaves it behind to obey the order from a policeman who has taken a keen interest in her life for some reason.
Masters: I get nervous with cops, I don't... I went to jail for something I didn't do already.
Gilmurray: You didn't do? What did you go to jail for?
Masters: You know what I went to jail for.
Gilmurray: I thought you meant something recent.
Masters: Well that is recent to me, I've never been to jail before. [Gilmurray deposited her in jail on July 12 for a felony he and Prosecutor Hand appears to have manufactured (to be seen in pt. 3), only three months prior to this stop-- recent]
Gilmurray: Come over here. That was a while ago, I thought you got that all taken care of.-- no-- No? OK, can you come back here for a minute. OK, so what she did was consent for a search of your car so that's why I am pulling you off, so you stay here. So is there anything in the car I need to know about?-- no-- there's nothing in the car I need to know about?
Masters: Not that I'm aware of... It's not my car.
Gilmurray: OK, so I know, so if I bring a dog out here, it's not going to hit on anything?
Masters: Unless she has something in there, it's not my car.
Gilmurray: OK I'm just asking your opinion (cross talk)
Masters: Not that I'm aware of.
Gilmurray: Not that you are aware of. So what I'm going to have you do is I'm just going to bring you over here... you know the guy in the back? -- I do-- I think his name is...
ANALYSIS: It should be emphasized that if an officer doesn't witness any apparent traffic violation or have any other objective basis for pulling a car over in the first place, any evidence that turns up from a car search will probably be inadmissible in court. Even when there's a lawful basis for a traffic stop, an officer who issues you a citation can't search you or your car without a basis to suspect that you are armed and dangerous or involved in criminal activity (other than the minor traffic violation). Neither Klastow or Masters has any prior drug or weapons arrests, nothing has been offered by the officer to suspect any would be found in the car.
Masters: Tracy [her lawyer] told me to call her if this happens
Gilmurray: This happens?
Masters: Yeah, she said to call her.
Gilmurray: OK, you can call her after this incident, so there's not going to be any phone calls made right now
Masters: She said call me if you question me and...
Gilmurray: I'm not questioning you at all, I'm not questioning you one bit, OK? I'm going to pull, who is it... is his last name Young?-- no-- I've talked with him a couple of times, it's DeAndre right? What's his last name?
ANALYSIS: Gilmurray had already asked her multiple questions that could potentially incriminate her had she answered in the affirmative, and yet never gave her any Miranda warnings. Just to show his disdain for Miranda rights, he orders her not to contact her attorney after she tries to assert that right and tells her he is not asking questions one bit, then asks a few more. The reason he doesn't want a lawyer involved is obvious, it's an invalid traffic stop and he's in the process of conducting an unlawful search.
Gilmurray: Winston, OK, that's what it was. [JM is on her cell phone] Alright, if you want to make that call, actually, if you want to make it over here, but do it with my partner beside you. Does that sound fair?-- yup-- alright [walks to car leaving JM behind] Hey boss man I'm going to have you step out of the car for a moment, OK? You got a little ash right there.
Winston: What'd I do?
Gilmurray: Nothing, you didn't do anything, [Winston walks out of car unmolested and past Gilmurray] so alright [begins search on driver's side, notifies dispatch of vehicle search, notices car seat in back, to LK] Who's with your little one?-- Devin-- [continues search finds three purses in front] He asks them if there is anything in them, anything in them at all] -- No (yelled from both)-- [he continues search through purses, jackets, mostly off camera, for over three minutes, having never asked consent to do so] He will finish up after a few minutes, talk a little with Klastow about Masters, who he seems to be strangely focused on.
ANALYSIS: The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals (Federal) held in United States v Cantu that an officer’s warrantless search of a passenger's handbags, during a traffic stop, violated the Fourth Amendment rights. Although the driver consented to search of the vehicle, they had neither the actual nor the apparent authority to consent to a search of their passenger’s property. The officer had no authority to search inside the passenger’s closed bags without her consent, which he neither sought nor obtained, and he knew the bags he was searching belonged to her.
Masters' purse, pocketbook, and jacket were illegally searched, violating her civil rights as she never granted consent. In People v. Mead (2019), the Michigan Supreme Court concluded in a "straightforward application of well-settled Fourth Amendment jurisprudence", that a passenger had a legitimate expectation of privacy in their backpack and held that the warrantless search of the defendant’s backpack was unreasonable because the driver lacked apparent common authority to consent to the search.
Most if not all of the violations of LPD written policies noted in the traffic stop in pt. 1 apply here also, but those violations are somewhat compounded here since the traffic stop was not legitimate in this case, so the question is why is Officer Gilmurray specifically targeting upright citizens, voluntarily violating LPD policies without blushing, and violating established case law that protects all of our civil rights from the power and authority of state agents who should be acting within the law?
Something is askew here. 2 police cars for a routine traffic stop? Of course this stop was a setup and was planned. Since when are passengers asked to exit the vehicle during a mundane traffic stop. Usually passengers are required to remain in their vehicle. All the personal questions being asked of the ladies is very strange. The only thing that would cause this type of behavior by the police is if they may have received a complaint that the ladies had contraband in their car but that was never mentioned by the officers. The ladies attorney should FOIA the police to see if any complaints had been lodged against them. If not then this was pure harassment. The conversation at the end of the video is such a load of crap from the officers. The fact that the officer mentioned her passenger and her son says volumes. It's very obvious what took place here.
Another outstanding article and legal analysis X. It's so obvious how Ludington's police dept. is abusing the Constitution.
Just a matter of time before this jackwagon steps on the wrong toes.
This article started out as a repeated illegal "stop and search" by an officer seemingly looking like he's stalking Janice M. On fb the drama has turned into an airing of dirty domestic laundry with 78 comments complete with videos. Who is the Collin whom JM is having a hissy about screaming at the top of her lungs to "get out of" her house? Definitely a story, but does it give Gilmurray a right to a traffic stop and a permitted search? JM permitted the search. I agree the others did not agree to a search. JM search was on condition of calling her lawyer. If I were JM I think I'd getoutof town (if allowed) and get away from Ludington. She's at a breaking point with Collin in the video, it seems.
Collin is the teenage son of Janice Masters and I was hoping to introduce him properly (and with an assumed name for his own protection) at the beginning of part 3, but Bill Johnson, Janice's ex-husband, did that prematurely on Facebook. The video (which I have to believe by context was taken shortly after Collin came back home after telling Prosecutor Beth Hand and Officer Gilmurray that his mom had bribed him to testify falsely for a case where her boyfriend was facing charges) was shown out of context to make her look bad. When a mom is charged with a felony falsely by her son and is likely to lose her job/career because of it, one might expect her to be a bit upset. That video, oddly enough, actually helps her case.
Consider, if Collin went before the two officials mentioned and stated that Ms. Masters tried to bribe him on multiple occasions to lie on a sworn affidavit or in his testimony, why didn't he covertly record any of those times she allegedly did that act of bribery, like he did for the video offered?
Idk, X. It's getting a bit deep in the domestic lies or not for me to know. What is the motive for Collin to tell prosecutor that his mom bribed him? Still a mom shouldn't choose a boyfriend over a teenage son, imo. I'd tend to believe the son. I don't get the reversel ogic or motive. Maybe I'll be persuaded in part three.
Regardless of the fluff, the subject is Gilmurray's actions. Legal or not? Officers get burned out on fighting certain stupidity. Why were these people going to the casino instead of buying a new headlight and a license plate? Or breaking the law by driving a defective vehicle without a license plate hoping for a win to be able to afford a headlight? Bad idea if you ask me.
... just saying ... two days with a broken headlight is two days too long in a city that has too many cops with nothing to do a lot of the time, especially with a power hungry, stalking cop trying to make a name.
Don't be spoiling too much of part three.
As for the video, I think most mothers and fathers have had similar exasperating days with their teenagers at times, but rarely do their kids record it and share it with the rest of the world. As I've noted, this video's existence and display on social media makes one wonder why he never seems to have recorded all those times he claimed his mother bribed him to lie in court-- then posted them to the prosecutor or given them to Officer Gilmurray. Or why Prosecutor Hand or Gilmurray never had him record a video of that type after the son confided with them, saying he was bribed. Surely they would know that his credibility would be challenged in court due to his own past.
Sorry for all your troubles. As I stated earlier, I hope you sue the uniform and fake tan off Gilmuray for any legal injustice.