IARN — A ruling on an obstructed license plate will stand after a split vote in the Iowa Supreme Court on the issue.

Prince Payne was stopped by an Altoona police officer who said the ball in the trailer hitch of his pickup was blocking the view of the third letter on the license plate.

Payne was convicted of driving while barred, but appealed, saying the stop was illegal because the hitch ball did not violate the requirement that license plates be clearly visible. The district court ruled against Payne, but the Court of Appels ruled in his favor.

Three Supreme Court justices favored the appeals court decision, and three favored the district court, with one justice not taking part. The high court split means the district court decision of a legal stop stands.

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