NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Citing a history of New Orleans police officers frisking people illegally, a state appeals court panel has thrown out a drug conviction that sent a man to prison for life.

The 4th Circuit Court of Appeal panel ruled a pair of police officers had no valid reason for patting down Jody Butler on a Central City street in 2010.

The Times-Picayune reports police arrested Butler, now 40, about noon on July 27, 2010, after stopping him on a bicycle at Seventh and Danneel streets, a notoriously hot corner for drug dealing.

Authorities had said officers Jemar Goines and Norbert Henry saw Butler leaning into an SUV, which they said sped off when the driver saw police. Butler road away on his bicycle and the officers chased and arrested him.