Crime & Courts

Woman who claimed police mistook pistachios for marijuana found not guilty of pill possession

Nancy Pahlman
Nancy Pahlman

A judge on Monday found a 61-year-old woman not guilty of illegally possessing her sister-in-law’s pain pills during a traffic stop, when she claims police mistook pistachio shells in her front seat for marijuana.

McHenry County Judge Robert Wilbrandt found Nancy Pahlman not guilty of a felony drug possession charge during a bench trial Monday. Pahlman will have to attend traffic safety school, however, in connection with a speeding ticket she received the day Spring Grove police searched her vehicle.

The charge stemmed from a traffic stop in December 2017, when police reported seeing a “green leafy substance” in Pahlman’s vehicle, court records show.

Although Pahlman wasn’t charged with marijuana possession, officers’ suspicions led them to search inside the car.

“I haven’t eaten a pistachio since,” Pahlman said Monday.

When police asked Pahlman to exit her vehicle during the stop, she told officers about the bottle of Tramadol in her coat pocket, her attorney, Philip Prossnitz, said. The pills belonged to a family member, whom Pahlman previously drove to cancer treatment and had since died, Prossnitz has said.

Pahlman was on her way to dispose of the pills at a police station, she testified.

Prossnitz tried to subpoena a Spring Grove police officer to test in open court a sample of the alleged marijuana residue, which Pahlman collected.

Judge James Cowlin denied the request in July and called the argument a “red herring.

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